GOVERNOR SEYI MAKINDE; A DIFFERENT NIGERIAN LEADER
At a time when Nigerians are critical about leadership, a new generation leader emerged. Elected as Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde has exhibited leadership qualities that has been lacking in Nigeria and endeared him to the hearts of Nigerians. He rode into power against all odds by ousting the ruling party and the incumbent’s anointed candidate. The people chose him despite his relative inexperience, a confirmation that the people needed a breath of fresh air. Governor Seyi Makinde, a technocrat, upon assumption of office was clear about his vision and mission. He selected a team capable of supporting him in the task. Unlike other leaders, Governor Seyi Makinde knew that the task ahead of him is arduous and that he was elected to fix the State, so there was no time to blame anyone for the state-of-affairs, rather to hit the ground running.
The proverbial phrase “love is blind” is akin to some Nigerians’ love for their favourite politician. It is such that they don’t see any wrong in the actions of their favourite politician, even when the fault is glaring, they will make a defense for them. Despite the love from his admirers Engr. Seyi Makinde’s achievements, the darling Governor has been on the hot seat and has not been spared by anyone when he acted rather insensitively. At a time when the world is battling to contain Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandermic, Governor Seyi Makinde hosted a political rally on 18th March 2020 and got the stick for his action as he was widely criticized. Smartly, Engr. Seyi Makinde faced up to his critics and his misdemeanour to score a point by taking responsibility and apologizing to Nigerians for his actions. This is the least to do in such circumstance, but in Nigeria, where leadership is lordship, this is rare.
One can count his many strides in his short time as Governor, which gives assurance that there is hope. Governor Seyi Makinde before he became governor, supported many young indigents of his State with scholarship grants through his foundation. On assumption of office as Governor of Oyo State, Seyi
Makinde clearly shared his blueprint in a four points agenda – Agriculture, Security, Health, and Education. His decision to make education free at both primary and secondary levels was brilliant and timely too, re-enacting the free education program orchestrated by the late Obafemi Awolowo. Governor
Makinde also approved a sum of 400m naira for the distribution of free notebooks to all public schools in the state. Education now takes about 10% of the state’s budget. The abolishment of entrance exam fees into secondary school is also commendable.
His collaboration with Agritech Company, and Farmcrowdy was instrumental in boosting the agricultural revenue for both the state and subsistence practice. All these have attracted foreign Agribusiness investors and has further widened the scope of agriculture in the state. On security, he recently supported the Security
Agencies with surveillance vehicles worth over 800m naira and the decision to stop the leadership tussle of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers was a brave one.
Governor Seyi Makinde has been effective in integrating youths in its setup. He has shown the skills that has made him successful professional. He has in place a succession plan by strategically engaging young professionals in the affairs of governance. The speaker of the state is a 32 years old man whilst there is a 27 years old commissioner in the state, amongst others. Oyo State in no distant future will be a true example that the Nigerian youths are ready to take over leadership.
Is Governor Seyi Makinde heads and shoulders above all political leaders in Nigeria? It’s still early days but what has Governor Seyi done differently that has endeared him to Nigerians at a time where the people have almost lost hope in strategic and effective leadership from the leaders they voted in.