• Friday, July 19, 2024
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I would prefer to be known as a governor who built institutions – Makinde

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It is a celebration of project execution in Oyo State; from road infrastructure to agribusiness, to human capital development, to provision of conducive environment for businesses to thrive, provision of power, and to improvement in technology to drive industrialisation.

These are the heartbeats of Governor Seyi Makinde, which he said, he has already made remarkable marks in.

Read also: We’ll begin construction of 1,000km rural farm roads soon -Makinde

Some of the legacy projects so far constructed include the Moniya/Iseyin 65 km road, which though is in its fourth year, is devoid of potholes; the massive Ring Road aimed to save travellers’ travel time, the Independent Power Project (IPP), that will save the state government money and further drive industrialisation, the revival of the Fasola Farm Settlement that was started by the administration of Obafemi Awolowo.

Oyo/Iseyin road, which leads directly to the Fasola Farm and the Iseyin/Ogbomoso Road (about 140 kms) have since been constructed. These have opened up the state and linked major towns.

Makinde, recently hosted the crème de la crème of the Nigerian journalists made up of the executives of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), managing directors, columnists and title editors of various newspapers and television stations in Nigeria.

It was an opportunity to showcase his achievements in office in his five years of governance in Oyo State.

He was first elected in 2019 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and got re-elected in 2023, breaking the jinx of second term election in the state.

The governor took his guests on a two-part tour of project sites. While conducting them on his legacy projects, he pointedly said that despite the infrastructure he has put in place, he would like to be remembered for institution building and quality human capital development in the state.

“To tell you the truth, I actually do not want to be known as a governor who built roads or provided infrastructure. That is normal government work. I would prefer to be known as a governor who built institutions. This is why we are setting up an agency that is like Mass Mobilisation for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) in Oyo State. Professor Jerry Gana has been invited to come and launch it for us. We’ve been engaging, and we have tapped into that institutional memory. Oyo State has a history of pioneering institutions. This state started the Road Safety Corps with Professor Wole Soyinka. The Federal Government went and copied it and they made a mess of it. But this state must continue to do what it does best: build people and institutions.”

During the tour, the first place visited was an Independent Power Project (IPP), around the Oyo State Government Secretariat. The governor explained that the power project was initiated by the late Obafemi Awolowo when he was the Premier of the Western Region. That was in the 60s.

Governor Makinde said that he was just reviving the good job and the vision of the late sage. According to him, the power project aims to supply up to 15megawatts of electricity to the secretariat and other government offices as well as industrial units.

He also explained that the hybrid project would depend on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), and an alternative solar energy supply. It would take 18 months to complete.

According to him, the project would cost the government nothing, as it was a public-private partnership project, and that there are more than enough off-takers already.

The compressed natural gas, he said, would come from the Escravos line and Lagos, with alternative arrangements currently being made.

The second point of call was the Omololu Olunloyo Park a stone throw to the airport in Ibadan, designed to be a major tourist attraction that would boost economic growth.

The Park showcases the rich culture of the people with various artistic displays on the walls (murals). Right at the middle of the park is a metallic sculpture of some Ibadan heroes: drummers, Basorun Ogunmola, Latoosa, Efunsetan Aniwura, Basorun Oluyole – each representing significant and signifying moments in the history of the Ibadan people.

Makinde has something with agriculture, and has deliberately decided to give it A1 attention.

The guests were chaperoned to an expansive farm called Fasola Agribusiness Hub where Debo Akande, executive adviser to the Governor on Agribusiness, took time to explain what goes on there.

He said that no single kobo of the state government was in the project but that the government only made available the enabling environment and infrastructure.

The governor, explaining the government’s involvement in the project, said: “The hub is built on 1,250 hectares of land, and every aspect of the land is being occupied. We are at the industrial site now, and we have 10 industries that are built here. Of those 10 industries, eight of them are completely occupied, meaning that there are companies already doing business here. We have greenhouses here as you can see over there and each of the buildings there is on two hectares of land. All the facilities here are built by the Oyo State Government with the exception of the green houses. Of the eight factories, two of them are going to be processing Cashew, another two will be processing vegetables and so on.”

Inside the Farm Settlement, there are all kinds of activities going on. The media executives were told that it was also established by Awolowo in the 1950s covering over 1,000 hectares of land. It was also gathered that there are about 10 agri-investor companies, planting all kinds of agricultural produce.

The guests were conducted through the tomato nursery, where Governor Makinde enthused that with time, people would be having complete tomatoes processed “to have their jollof rice here.”

Down the complex is also a ranch, where there are fat cows, feeding on lush green grass. This reminded the newsmen the controversial RUGA that featured in the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

Whereas, the majority of Nigerians had canvassed for ranches to enable herders stay at designated places to tend to their cows, the roving herders and their backers had insisted that the roving method was more beneficial.

The hefty cows that were seen at Fasola Farms could not have been so nourished were they moving from place to place. That would not affect the quality of milk they produce; it would also affect the quality of meat they produce.

Explaining other activities that go on in the Farm, Makinde said: “Over 100 hectares of maize has just been planted now. We are planting 300 hectares of maize, and it is not us as a state government. It is one of the private companies that is planting it. There is an area we call Gate 1, there is over 100 hectares of cassava that has been planted there, and it is all part of this farm. The cassava that has been planted there is a bit unique.”

Capturing his experience during the tour, in his Monday column in one of the dailies, Reuben Abati, a media executive with the Arise Television, said: “Our next stop was the 110 km Ibadan Circular Road which consists of carriageways, eight lanes, seven bridges, five interchanges and 29 box culverts. The project was actually started by Alhaji Lam Adesina when he was Governor of the state, between 2005 and 2008, Governor Rashidi Ladoja further re-designed the road. Other Governors – Adebayo Alao-Akala and Abiola Ajimobi also tinkered with the road. The plan is to encircle Ibadan city around four sections – South East (32.2km), North East (20km) North West (33 km), and South West (24 km), and thus link the road to the Ibadan Ife Expressway, the Moniya Train Station, the Oluyole Free Trade Zone, and connect motorists to Ile Ife without passing through the notorious Iwo Road, reduce travel time thereby and make it easier to and from Lagos, by easing age-long traffic jam.

“By March 2024, Governor Makinde had completed the 32.2 km stretch of the road. He took us to one of the interchanges, below which was the Ibadan-Ife Road – a typical Federal Government Road. ‘I didn’t start this road’, he said. ‘I met the design, but as an engineer, I am determined to deliver it. My administration may not be able to take it all the way down to the entire stretch of 110 kilometres, but we will do at least about 75 kms of it and whoever succeeds me, can complete the remaining 35 to 40 kms.’”