Will Governor Seyi Makinde’s populist programmes and pronouncements stand the test of time in Oyo State of today?

In Oyo State, there is a new dawn. The emergence of Governor Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State in the last governorship election  has raised hope, not just in the South-West but across Nigeria. Makinde’s age, personality and disposition has raised the bar in governance. His activities so far has also passed a vote of confidence on Nigeria’s youth. This, he followed up with appointments that have also favoured and positioned the youth for greater things.

Outside appointments, the governor’s outlook and resolve to succeed are also breaking new grounds. But are these programmes and policies sustainable? This is the crux of the matter and many indigenes and residents of Oyo State are already beginning to feel that in a short while, Makinde may exhaust himself.  

Makinde, no doubt is rekindling hope with his actions. Shortly after coming to office, he approved N500,000  thousand naira each for every Oyo State indigene at the campuses of Nigeria’s law school. He stated through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa that his decision to assist law students from Oyo State was primarily to promote and encourage learning. Again, the governor, in another show of solidarity with workers and retirees, approved the release of 2012 and 2013  pensioners gratuity. This, he said was to bring succor to retirees, workers and their dependents. So, he made available, the sum of one hundred and fifty million naira for the payment of 2012 outstanding and part of 2013 gratuity allowances of retirees across board in Oyo State Civil Service.

To boost business activities and ameliorate the suffering of workers and business men and women in the state, Makinde also promised his people that his administration will not increase tax on business enterprises. There are efforts also by the government to tap into the boundless agricultural potentials of the state. At the moment, the sector contributes 38 per cent of the Gross State Product, GSP and directly and indirectly employs over 70 per cent of the of the state’s workforce.

For maximum benefits, Oyo State is leveraging on its agricultural assets, productivity, back to school scheme, collaboration and stimulation of growth for the good of the state. Under this administration also, welfare remains key. Only recently, the government promised to refund N28 million to parents who paid illegal fees during the tenure of his predecessor, Abiola Ajumobi. The government has already started free distribution of textbooks to students across the state as a way of encouraging parents and enrolment. This is in addition to free distribution of a compendium of past examination questions.

To address the chaos and traffic problems on the roads, the state government has constituted a Mobile Court to start the trial of traffic offenders. According to the Executive Chairman of Oyo State Traffic Management Agency, Dr. Akin Fagbemi, this is the time to return sanity to the roads. “We are ready to work with the mobile court to bring to the barest minimum, the culture of road indiscipline by some road users who will not respect the rights of others on the road by parking indiscriminately and driving against traffic, among other sundry illegalities on the roads”. The government has also inaugurated environmental tribunal as a way of ensuring proper enforcement of the state’s environmental laws.

Everywhere, Makinde is being hailed for his uncommon leadership and courage. In just 100 days, the 51 year old governor has achieved so much. In addition to these aforementioned achievements, he has also launched the Oyo State Farmcrowdy Agribusiness, 100 units of Kia Rio 1.4 Executive Automotive Transmission vehicle for security agencies, e-registration of everyone living in Oyo State, criminalization of open grazing and proscription of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW in the state.

But the question of sustainability remains a major issue even in the face of the above mentioned accomplishments. How sustainable is the Oyo State populist programme under Makinde?  What is the potential of Oyo State, an agrarian state? What is the strength and economy of the state, and can it withstand the shocks that are already noticeable with the government actions and inactions? Again, what is the tax potentials of Oyo State when compared to Lagos State, its neighbor?

In no distant time, the full story and reality of the revolution in Oyo State will appear and put to rest, all the speculations and calculations.

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