BY JIDE AJANI
“Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide on what they think of you” – Harvard Business Review (July-August, 2013)
For Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde, his pedigree spoke volumes about his message.
But for the arrival of this engineer on the governorship stage, Oyo State was already going to the dogs.
Blind sentiment, cronyism, nepotism, greed and a culture of indolence in high places, had all been packaged as a staple for the hapless people of Oyo State, such that salaries were being paid in ridiculous percentages, pension payments and gratuities were wickedly kept on hold and corruption had taken-up a life of its own.
But because the people of Oyo State made up their minds on what they thought of the person of Makinde, they accepted his message of hope and gave him the mandate to be their governor. His pedigree! His message! His intentions!
Makinde, upon assumption of office on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, made his good intentions known by abolishing, with immediate effect and automatic alacrity, the burdensome N3000 education levy imposed on students in Oyo State.
Other measures have since been put in place to demonstrate that his pursuit of power was to deliver the greatest sum of good to the largest number of residents of Oyo State. He’s done other good.
Take, for instance, workers’ salaries and pension payments! Within its first six months in office, his administration had paid more than what his predecessor paid in eight years as pensions – the Makinde administration met a N55.9 billion debt in gratuities (There has been a steady and consistent payment of N535 Million to retired State and Local Government workers on a monthly basis).
Today, total pension payments are already over N13b in just two years. Salaries have not ceased being paid on or before the 25th of every month since June, 2019 – perhaps, the only one of such in Nigeria.
But, whereas some may not really appreciate what prompt pension and salary payments engender for a society, the import is not lost on the beneficiaries who now live like human beings and can plan their lives, unlike the brutish, harsh and uncertain lives they were subjected to in the past.
Most importantly for Governor Makinde are the intangibles that would birth a better society. His four pillars for accelerated development (2019-2023), health, education, an expanded economy and security – are strung in a symbiotic nature, because it is only when you have a healthy body and qualitative education that opportunities can be explored for the expansion of an economy; and this can only take place in a secure environment.
In the area of infrastructure, energy, healthcare, education, youth development, trade and commerce, Makinde has demonstrated that a good name is worth much more than aggrandisement. He is walking the talk.
Makinde’s conscience! My conscience! Your conscience! Our Conscience! Let it prick individuals as they assess the governor’s performance in the last two years.
Because perfection is not for mortals, there are gaps that the governor openly acknowledges and strives to fill.
And the people appreciate this.
Yet, in a poisoned environment where the opposition shamelessly parades an illusory sense of self-importance, Governor Makinde says he would not be distracted in so far as the end justifies the means.
When Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) asked that “if the end justifies the means, what justifies the end”, he did not know that a ‘Seyi Makinde would emerge in Oyo State in 2019 to announce to the world that the end, which is the output, is justified by the eventual outcome of a growing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base; improved education and health infrastructure that engenders better academic performance and builds a healthy society; preservation of lives and livelihood during the Covid-19 pandemic such that almost every protocol introduced by Makinde became the standard reference at the national level; introduction of a value-driven culture of governance that continues to deliver diligence and rigour in the performance and discharge of responsibilities by appointees; continued improvement of infrastructure across sectors; provision of tools such as cars, protective vests and communications equipment for the Police and other security agencies in the state as well as AMOTEKUN; and a governance model steeped in a display of human face and milk of human kindness. The list goes on.
Governor Makinde continues to justify the end because the outcome to be engendered when the massive parks and inter-changes at Challenge, Ojoo and Iwo Road are commissioned to allow for organised flow of traffic and commerce around the edifices, the remodeled Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, expected to drive sporting activities both local and international, and the street lighting project that would improve night-time business activities, security and social life, would be massive.
So, when next you say the end justifies the means and you’re asked what justifies the end, tell them Governor Makinde of Oyo State is justifying the end because the people of Oyo State are living a better life, while he continues to fill gaps for even greater outcomes.
AJANI is the Special Adviser, Media, to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State
BY JIDE AJANI