For a Governor that is aware of days of reckoning like campaign tours, one would have expected he would have put on the ground various gestures to oil his seamless outing. So, it wasn’t even as if the Governor isn’t particularly aware of the needs of the people…
Most politicians are guilty of promising people what they can’t or won’t do. They just want to tell people what they want to hear to get to power. Once in the position of authority, they pretend to be deaf and dumb to people’s cries and hues while enjoying the pecks of offices until they wake up from the right side of their beds to ask neglected and abandoned people for more. Funny enough, it is when the next election comes around that those politicians start to promise what they have promised to the same set of people at the same place. Ridiculously shameful.
For the past couple of weeks, Governor Seyi Makinde has been touring different local governments in the state for his re-election campaign. At Ogbomoso North and South local governments, Governor Makinde excitedly told throngs of townsfolks why he deserved a second term. As the Governor, it is not unlikely for him to enjoy such patronage and admiration from the people. But reports even suggest the Governor tactically co-opted students of LAUTECH into the unfolding political drama just to send a chill up the spines of his adversaries that the students’ populace is solidly and strongly behind him. For single-handedly making Oyo the sole owner of LAUTECH, Governor Makinde nonetheless deserved applause and commendation. He has changed the course of history and will forever be in the book of history as the Governor who negotiated the ownership of the ivory tower as if his life depends on it.
At the Ogbomoso rally of Oyo PDP, the atmosphere was one of conviviality and camaraderie. By keeping his word and fulfilling some of his promises, it became easier for the Governor to walk people through his three and half years of stewardship as the chief executive officer of the state. By diplomatically winning the age-old battle of LAUTECH ownership for the state, Governor Makinde has demonstrated his commitment to good governance and has shown how government can be used to make a far-reaching, positive impact on behalf of the people. But the sole ownership of the institution is just one slice of the pies of the challenges that require the government’s attention, tact, and diplomacy.
For instance, the breaking of the university into satellite campuses has not sat down well with some sections of the city. Additionally, the proposed name of the school is also causing furor both within and outside the university. As lofty as the sole owner is, those two plans by the government have cast a huge doubt on the intention behind the efforts. That Iseyin will now own the faculty of agriculture of the university bothers a lot of people and that the Governor’s village, Ajia in Egbeda local government is also having a slice of the LAUTECH pie is another.
In any way, the Governor could have enjoyed a more robust and triumphant entry into one of Oyo’s significant cities had the sanctity of the LAUTECH name and the legacy of keeping it as a technology-based institution been respected and kept for posterity. But the battle for the soul of Ogbomoso votes goes beyond the metropolis of the city. Council areas such as Orire, Ogo-oluwa, and Ajaawa also play crucial and consequential parts in swinging votes to the direction of a party and their candidates. But frankly, it was at Orire local government that the campaign vehicle of the Governor started to grind to a halt. For the record, Orire local government has roughly 600 settlements, making it one of the biggest local government councils in the country. Orire is one of the reasons politicians jostle Ogbomoso’s bulky votes as a must-win.
But Orire is an agrarian community that lacks basic infrastructure. And in his January 13, 2023 campaign tour, Governor Seyi Makinde promised to transform Orire and Ogbomoso and its environs into an industrial hub. Oddly, what has the Governor been doing in the last three and a half years? Of course, the Governor said he has been busy connecting the state to each by way of road infrastructure. But is it that the state is disjointed and unconnected before? Or is the construction of the Ogbomoso-Fatope-Iseyin road the single biggest investment of the state government in connecting the seemingly unconnected areas before? After all, there are areas within that Ogbomoso zone that have little to no presence of the government. At Ogo-Oluwa, the Governor promised to revive the Oko Fruit Processing Factory. For many Nigerian politicians, it is always about the talk and nothing more.
For a Governor that is aware of days of reckoning like campaign tours, one would have expected he would have put on the ground various gestures to oil his seamless outing. So, it wasn’t even as if the Governor isn’t particularly aware of the needs of the people; just that the Engineer turned Politician is busy running marathons in California or dining with his brother Governors whether at Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Umuahia, and Makurdi with reckless abandoned. He knew precisely what to do to transform people’s lives but decided to look elsewhere.
At Ibarapa zone, the Governor said he knows that the people of the zone have challenges with the electricity supply but that he can’t do anything about it until his mandate is renewed. The Ibarapa zone is one of the most neglected in the state. Politicians take advantage of the people without conscience. They promise them heaven on earth only to make life hellish. Unfortunately, people in that zone have simply become pawns in the politician’s game of chess. Politicians dribble them without fear of retribution. But the people also need to start punishing politicians with double-standard. They can only liberate themselves by voting who have demonstrated commitment to their welfare and well-being.
But the campaign train of the Governor didn’t stop at the Ibarapa despite the bloody reception. At Irepo’s local government, the people were excited that he appointed one of their own as the Deputy Governor. They promised to return the good gesture in the coming election. Apart from that, nothing else for the Governor to show for it. The Light Up Oyo project that gulped #28 billion is not even in Kisi. Although, the project has failed miserably in most parts of the state due to the narrow-mindedness of those that carried it out. Interesting to note that Irepo local government was the only council area in Oke-Ogun that massively voted against Governor Makinde in 2019.
In Oorelope local government, Igboho, Makinde’s reception was uninspiring and lacked luster. For illegally impeaching their son, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan as the Deputy Governor, it remains to be seen how far the people will punish the party and the Governor at the poll. At Igboho, just like the rest of the state, it’s all politics and not projects. And as Lou Holtz once remarked, “Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise”.