Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State declared on Saturday that his government’s plan to take the state from poverty to prosperity is on course.
The governor, who was speaking during a special two and a half hours live programme aired by the network service of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), “The Governor Explains,” said that efforts and programmes of the government to develop the state are on course and progressing steadily.
Makinde, who spoke on his stewardship three months to his second anniversary, said that in line with his administration’s commitment to focus on education, security, health and economic expansion through agribusiness, all the projects being carried out by his administration have been target-driven and are capable of impacting positively on the state.
The governor equally stated that his administration remains determined to go after criminal elements responsible for the recent security challenges in Ibarapaland, especially the killing of residents including Dr. Fatai Aborode.
He stated that his insistence on thorough investigation of the killing of the late politician has begun to yield results, as the Police were already interrogating some individuals related to the incident.
He warned residents of the state not to pigeon-hole or profile any ethnic nationality as enemies, for, according to him, the enemies of the state are criminals and bandits of all tribes.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, also quoted the governor as indicating that his administration is taking deliberate measures to reduce the trust deficit between government and the people.
Governor Makinde, who reiterated his commitment to being honest with the people of the state, said that his administration was going out of its way to rebuild the trust between the people and the government.
He said: “I may not be right all the time; it is only God that knows all things. But I have always said that I will always be honest with the people of Oyo State. If we do anything that you are not satisfied with, please tell us, because you all put the government in place. We will make amends.
“People can go through all my promises now and during the electioneering period; we have not made empty promises and we do not play politics with development.”
According to the governor, several projects embarked upon by the administration across the four major sectors of focus including security, education, health and economic expansion, have been progressing at encouraging pace explaining that some of them will be completed in time ahead of the second anniversary of the government.
Some of the landmark projects being completed or freshly embarked upon by administration in the last two years include but are not limited to the ongoing construction of the 65-kilometres Moniya-Iseyin road; 21-kilometre Ajia-Airport road with spur to Amuloko; Sabo-Gedu-Oroki road, Oyo; LAUTECH-Under-G road, Ogbomoso; Jankata-Benbo-Apata road; Idi-Ape-Bashorun-Akobo road; remodelling of Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan; construction of four Bus Terminals and procurement of 106 Mass Transit Buses, among others.
Others are the upgrade and equipment of Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo; Saki Specialist Hospital, Saki, ongoing remodelling and equipment of Primary Health Care Centres across the 351 Wards of the state and ongoing educational infrastructure projects across the state.
While speaking further, Governor Makinde said: “The major areas, which we said we will focus on as an administration, are health, education, expansion of economy and security. When you look at most of the infrastructure projects we are carrying out, they are targeting our economy.
“First is the Moniya-Iseyin road, which is the gateway to the Oke-Ogun zone. The road is almost done now, which means it will be easy to convey farm inputs there and integrating them into the wider economy of the state is getting easier.
“Also, we looked at tourism as an avenue to expand the economy. For us, we have to look inwards in making this place look attractive to the local tourists. Ibadan is a model city and it is possible for us to make this place attractive for those passing through Ibadan to other states.
“If we can do that, it will attract the local tourists and our economy will expand and that is why we are spending that much money to embark on the bus terminal projects.”
He added that the waste management architecture of the state, which will ensure that the state remains clean and healthy, will crystallise as soon as the government commissions the Landfill project at Awotan, which is scheduled to take place in one week.
Governor Makinde, who expressed regret that the vision of the administration in the area of agriculture had been hampered by a few factors, including the COVID-19, said that despite the setbacks, the government is in the process of breaking the grounds for the Akufo and Eruwa Farm Estate projects.
He stated that works on the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) Headquarters, Saki, had also progressed at great pace, adding: “We also signed an MoU with IITA on the Start Them Early Programme (STEP) for agriculture to encourage young people’s interest in agribusiness. The school at Fasola has been commissioned and we have taken schools from all the geopolitical zones in Oyo State and that also is going on. Two of them are nearing completion.
“Once they have done that, the rest will follow. We also went to Awe and we have the Farmer’s Academy operational right there now. We met an abandoned silo project, which is still at Awe. They needed input from China but that was when COVID-19 started last year and they shut down for most of the year but now, they are getting back on track.”
Governor Makinde further explained that his promise during his inauguration that the state would export maize to Botswana did not materialise due to some technicalities involved in the project, stating, however, that the administration has shifted its focus to cassava production, where, according to him, the state has comparative advantage.
“What we said about the Botswana project is that we will have maize here and we can sell to them. Also, we can do backward integration where we look at our maize and use that to produce ethanol. However, as I said regarding the Botswana maize project issue the last time I came here, the maize we are producing here, we found out from the IITA that there are issues with the level of aflatoxin in it and its acceptability in the international community.
“Also, we needed to look at the alternative that must exist and that was why we moved towards cassava as something that is central. But some people will always like to say that we said something and we did not do it.
“After we came in, we looked at the areas where we have comparative advantages and we found out that a lot of people are already into cassava production and Oyo State is almost like the highest producer in the country right now. So, that is an area where we have seen a lot of results.”
The governor also took the opportunity of the broadcast to admonish residents of the state on the security challenges, saying security is everyone’s responsibility, even as he urged residents not to allow themselves to be used against the government, which they installed.
He said: “There are people that think what can make them govern the state is to create chaos every now and then but I have news for them; for you to want to govern Oyo State, there must first of all be a state for you to govern. If you destroy our state, what are you coming to govern?
“So, we will do everything possible to let the people know that this is our state. The government will come and go but the state will remain and we have to be mindful of that and do everything possible not to destroy the state for ourselves and the next generation,” he concluded.