By Seyifunmi Odunuga
The Governor of Oyo State, Engr ‘Seyi Makinde, on Saturday declared that his government has been keeping its promises to the good people of the state.
Makinde maintained that though there are still a few challenges, but the administration has made real progress in developing the state, adding that he would like his government to be remembered for how well it has improved the lives of the people.
Makinde, who explained how his administration has been able to cut down the running cost of government by 50 per cent and also reduced government overhead cost by 12.3 per cent, ploughing the gains into capital projects with economic benefits in the future, said Oyo State is now in safe hands.
The governor stated these on Saturday in a broadcast commemorating his second year in office and also during the quarterly radio programme, “Meet the Governor” aired on the network service of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS).
In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor gave several areas where the administration has changed the narrative for good in the last two years, stating that over 300 projects in the education sector have been completed, while about 54,000 out-of-school children had been returned to classrooms in the state.
While speaking during the live interview, the governor pointed out how the administration has been able to raise the bar in the education sector with free, qualitative education policy and the transparent recruitment of 5,000 teachers.
In the health sector, Governor Makinde stated that several projects inherited by the administration, which were either abandoned or not equipped, have been given facelifts and necessary attention, stating that the ongoing mass renovation of 299 Primary Health Care Centres in each ward of the state is also a major achievement of the government in the last two years.
‘Seyi Makinde, who declared that he would like his government to be known for engineering a modern Oyo State, listed the many road projects either continued by the government after they had been abandoned or started by the government.
Gov. Makinde stated that the 65-kilometre Moniya-Iseyin Road, the 21-kilometre Ajia-Airport Road with spur to Amuloko, the Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road and several other projects which his government has continued or reconstructed from all together, are targeted at opening up the state and expanding its economy.
Makinde also commissioned the Challenge-Felele-Idi Odo Junction Improvement works and car park, saying that the projects will ease the flow of traffic at the axis and also serve as a catalyst for traffic solutions at Challenge, Felele junctions.
Makinde also maintained that his government has been doing everything it promised to do.
Noting that the junction improvement project is just one of the several ways that his administration has been keeping its promise to the people of the state, Makinde said: “I can report to you that we have been doing what we promised we would do.
“We have been making doing business in Oyo State easier for our local and foreign investors. As a result, we have been able to reverse the former trend of companies shutting down and moving out of Oyo State. We now have more businesses making Oyo State the destination of choice for setting up their operations.”
Speaking earlier, during the state broadcast, Makinde said the achievements in the education sector include “the construction of 26 model schools, construction of classroom blocks, renovation of buildings in over 70 secondary schools across the state and installation of boreholes.
“We have provided a more conducive learning environment for the students and teachers by distributing desks and chairs and improved the curriculum content with the distribution of science equipments in all public secondary schools in Oyo State.
“In education, we have maintained our free access to secondary education for all, reducing out-of-school children by an additional 10 per cent. As of the last count, our administration has returned over 54,000 out-of-school children into the classrooms. We have accomplished this by tackling the root causes of their being out of school.
“I must mention the work we have done in the Start Them Early Programme (STEP), which we are currently funding in six schools in Oyo State, that is: Bishop Phillips Academy, Ibadan; Methodist High School, Ibadan; Christ High School, Oleyo; Adegun Asake Grammar School, Igangan; Iresaadu High School, Iresaadu and UMCA Secondary Grammar School, Igbeti.
“With this programme, we are creating agribusiness enthusiasts and entrepreneurs in our secondary schools. The results we have seen so far are a testament to the fact that all our children really need is access to quality education to enable them to thrive. We plan to expand this programme to six more secondary schools in the coming year.”
In the health sector, Makinde said the administration has been implementing programmes that will ensure total care for all residents of the state from infancy to old age, saying: “In healthcare, we continue to prioritise the needs of the vulnerable among us. We are proud to say that our policies and programmes ensure that the good people of Oyo State are cared for from cradle to old age.
“We have sponsored an Executive Bill that protects our senior citizens in Oyo State, and have followed this up with establishing the Geriatric Centre at the former Jericho Specialist Hospital building at Jericho, Ibadan.
“We are improving and equipping our Secondary Healthcare facilities. Adeoyo Maternity Hospital is gradually returning to its former glory with the procurement of state-of-the-art equipment including High Dependency Units, Xray machines and CT scan equipment. We have completed the High Dependency wing of the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital. It is now fully equipped and functional.”
“We are keeping our promise of ensuring that each of our 351 wards in Oyo State has a functioning Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) before the end of our subsisting mandate. So far, we have awarded the contract for the upgrade and rehabilitation of 299 PHCs in the state and work is ongoing. We will work with the newly elected local government officials to ensure that this promise is kept.
“Let me also mention the Free Health Missions. In the last year, we met the medical and surgical needs of about 250,000 residents of Oyo State through this mission. We are resolved to now make it a quarterly activity across all the zones in Oyo State,” Makinde added.
Speaking on the government’s efforts in the security sector, where he reckoned that there were a few challenges, the governor said: “In the security sector, we met the growing challenges but we have continued to collaborate with the federal security agencies, and we are making adequate provisions for them in terms of providing support infrastructure.
“In the last year, we provided operational vehicles, walkie talkies, steel helmets, bulletproof jackets, combat boots and other security equipment.
“A major win for our people in the security sector is operationalising the Western Security Network code-named Amotekun in Oyo State. We recruited 1,500 members of the corps and are continually training them to ensure that their operations follow international standards and best practices.
“We also put in place policies that made you, the good people of Oyo State, see yourselves as major stakeholders in the security of our state. We launched the State Security Task Force and involved non-state actors in our intelligence-gathering process. As we always say, if you see something, say something, and then the authorities will surely do something.
“We have taken steps to secure the entry points into Oyo State. We recently set up a Joint Security Post at Mamu village, the border community between Ibadan and Ijebu Ode. This post is connected to our expanded Security Control Room and City Watch facilities at the Oyo State Security Trust Fund Headquarters, Onireke, Jericho, Ibadan. We have also identified schools in vulnerable areas and connected them to this security architecture. This is part of our crime prevention protocol
While making projections for the coming year, Gov. Makinde restated that several projects initiated by his administration would be completed next year.
“In the coming year, we look forward to more targeted and inclusive growth. Several projects that we started in the last year will be completed in the next year.
“For example, the four bus terminals at Iwo Road, New Ife Road, Ojoo, and Challenge. The Agribusiness Industrial Hubs at Fasola, Akufo and Eruwa will be prioritised. We will construct the Oyo-Iseyin Road, the Saki-Ogbooro-Ighoho Road and the Isaba-Ogundoyin Road in Ibarapa. We aim to complete over 200 kms of roads under the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP).
“Our critics have said that we are taking on too much at a time. We respond that we will do whatever it takes to engineer a modern Oyo State.
“It is now two years since we took over the administration of Oyo State. During this time, we have maintained our focus on peoples centred policies that will move the people of Oyo State from Poverty to Prosperity.
“As I promised during my inaugural address, our policies and projects will be geared towards good governance. We promised to do more than confront poverty. We pledged to usher in an era of progress and prosperity.
“We have cut the running cost of government by 50 per cent and also reduced government overhead cost by 12.3 per cent. This saving in overhead cost has been ploughed back into capital projects which will yield significant economic benefits in the future.
“Our tax system has become more efficient. We kept true to our promise of not increasing taxes. Instead, we simplified the tax payment system and broadened the tax base to capture the informal sector. I am happy to report that the ‘One Stop Shop’ concept put in place by our administration has been able to ease the stress of doing business and eradicate double taxation.
“We also cut down on our external debt by 24 million dollars. We have been deliberate about borrowing and ensuring that we do not accumulate any debts without concrete repayment plans.
“Despite this, we invested massively in infrastructure. We have delivered on the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road reducing travel time between the capital and Oke-Ogun, the food basket of Oyo State, by more than 50%. We have completed the Junction Improvement at Orita-Challenge.
“We have started several road projects which will lead to more economic prosperity for the people of Oyo State. The 21km Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road with a spur to Amuloko is at 58 per cent completion.
“We have concessioned the moribund Agbowo Shopping Complex and it is now being remodelled and converted into premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel. The Pacesetter Quarry and Asphalt Plant, Ijaiye, which was a concession in May 2020, has since commenced operations and is supplying asphalt for road construction in the state.
“Indeed, for the past two years, we have continued to work with our Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State, 2019-2023. We have made significant gains on all four pillars of this roadmap. As a result, the standard of living for the people of Oyo State is improving,” the governor said.