THE 2019 governorship election in Oyo State has come and gone. The outcome of the election has left many politically conscious citizens of the state in amazement. Against the widely circulated panic that votes would not count in the March 9 governorship election in Oyo State, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Seyi Makinde, polled 515,621 votes to defeat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Adebayo Adelabu, who scored 357,982 votes.
Across all strata of the state, there are growing hopes, expectations, challenges, and other matters arising as Makinde takes the mantle of leadership of the pace-setter state come May 29, this year. As much has been given to Engineer Makinde at the polls, much is expected, even, beyond his myriads of promises at electioneering period. When the next government of Oyo State under the leadership of Makinde eventually commences, “all eyes will be on him.” The citizens and dwellers of the state will, no doubt, expect magical and quick revival of the state’s economy across all sectors.
In line with this, one would decipher that the governor-elect’s tenacity in his political journey would have prepared him for the task ahead, especially, in making him responsive and responsible to the yearnings and expectations of the haves and the have-nots. Winners never quit. He enlarged his coast by aspiring to be the Oyo State governor under the PDP. In 2014 when the PDP governorship primary was concluded, he was denied the governorship nomination ticket. He, therefore, grabbed the ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) upon which he contested and lost. On September 29, 2018, he won the primary election that was conducted at Liberty Stadium, Oke Ado, Ibadan with a resounding landslide victory by polling 2,772 votes to defeat his distant rival, Senator Ayoade Adeseun, who scored 21 votes, even though, he left the venue of the primary in protest alleging that the list of the delegates has been tampered with. Of course, Sen. Adeseun challenged the outcome of the primary in court and the case was dismissed on the 19th of March by an Oyo State High Court presided over by Justice Ganiyu Sumonu. It is opined that the different stages of the governor-elect’s journey would have better equipped him for the task of transforming the state, or at least to make a difference in his leadership.
With the philanthropic gestures of Makinde, people’s hopes were rekindled. From his personal accounts, Makinde has been putting smiles on the down-trodden, the poor, the vulnerable, the indigent, the less-privileged, and, in some cases, the haves. He has cheerfully given assistance to religious groups, schools, and individuals. He has given scholarships and bursary awards to students. All of this he did through the Seyi Makinde Organisation, not as a political office holder. Bearing these in mind, the Oyo State electorate spared no efforts to vote massively for Seyi Makinde on March 9. It is expected that the next government of Oyo State should consolidate on the developmental agenda he has begun, even, before being in government office. It is incumbent on the governor-elect to look for a way of incorporating all of these in his government’s agenda. If the next government’s agenda is in converse to these gestures, then, the electorate would quickly submit that all the gestures of the governor-elect from the past were only meant to induce and cajole the voters. He should always remember that four years is still at hand when electorate decide again.
Also of great importance in the myriads of hopes of Oyo State citizens in the next government is the issue of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso which has been affected by under-funding caused by joint ownership of Oyo and Osun governments. The point raised here is that upon assumption of office, Makinde should expedite actions geared towards returning the institution to its rightful heights. This is ditto to all the higher institutions in the state. There are growing hopes that the much talked about insufficient staff in the institutions should be looked into critically. Civil servants in the state expect payment of salaries and effective release and implementation of their promotions. It is also the hope of the people that Makinde should, upon assumption of office in May 29, carefully devise strategies aimed at paying all the arrears of retirees in the state.
Expectations are daily increasing on massive employment opportunities. In primary and secondary schools, there is shortage of teachers. Employment of teachers in the state is carried out at the interval of four years. Any employment done on four years’ interval cannot take care of the massive unemployment that has pervaded our society. Teachers are greatly needed with a view to taking education to the peak.
Agriculture will, in addition, boost the economy of Oyo State. The teeming youths of the state should be adequately encouraged to focus on agriculture with a view to building a robust economy. It is, be that as it may, worrisome that the youths who are desirous of delving into agriculture lack the needed fund to actualise their dreams. In this regards, Agricultural Credit Organisation (ACO) should be stupendously funded so that the government’s financial gestures will reach the willing able youths that want to go into agriculture.
Again, equal representation of the five zones of the state in the political appointments means a lot in the success of the next administration. It must be very strategic to consider the slots that will likely go to all the zones that make up Oyo State. This ranges from the posts of commissioners, special advisers, senior special assistants, special assistants, leaders of the boards, secretaries, and members of the boards of agencies and commissions, among others. 2023 is around the corner and the blessings of each zone will be counted preparatory to the next general election in the country and, specifically, the state.
This piece is, therefore, a clarion call on the governor-elect to work within his electioneering campaign promises as entrenched in the manifesto he presented in the pre-election period. These hopes and challenges notwithstanding, citizens of the state are admonished to exercise patience with the government, remembering that Rome, itself, was not built in a day. If the state will prosper, all its citizens must make God the first and the last. Prayers of varying religious groups will help establish the next government on God’s principles.
Sunday Adepoju writes in from Ogbomoso, Oyo State.