Oyo gov race: As Seyi Makinde takes message of hope, shared prosperity to LGs

The last two weeks have seen the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Seyi Makinde, traversing over 15 local governments in Ibadan, Ibarapa and Oke Ogun zones of the state, making commitments to the teeming people of the state ahead of the much-anticipated March 2, 2019 governorship election.

For Makinde, to whom the governorship race in the state is neither new nor campaigning round the state strange, the dedication with which he has been going about the campaign has not only attracted voters in the state, it has also appeared to shore up support for his party few weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for February 16.

As the face of the PDP, a party now considered among the electorates in Oyo State as rebranded and reenergised to lead the state to new heights following an eight years hiatus from power in the state, Makinde, an engineer of international reckoning and head of a multi-national company, has not only brought life and flair to the governorship campaign, he has continued to set the standard for peaceful campaigns and elections in all the local governments visited by the PDP campaign train.

From Ibadan North Local Government in Ibadan to Ibarapa Central, Ibarapa North and Iseyin Local Government in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, the PDP campaigns continued to enjoy massive turnout from residents, most of whom expressly told Sunday Tribune that Makinde’s candidature “is like an idea whose time has come,” stating how he had continued to touch the lives of Oyo State residents in different ways such as granting bursary awards to selected students across all tertiary institutions in the country, assisting small scale business owners and underprivileged with financial assistance as well as being the most vocal and constructive opposition figure to the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

In what has become a common feature of the campaign across the local governments visited by the PDP candidate, Makinde continued to make commitments to the people, literally signing a pact on service delivery and making life better for the people of the state through different programmes and policy actions contained in his manifesto document entitled the “Oyo State Roadmap for Accelerated Development, 2019 to 2023.”

He had used the opportunity provided by the local government campaigns to explain some of the programmes his administration would execute, if voted into office, in various sectors such as youth development, health care, education, economy, infrastructure, road, tourism, agriculture, among others, which he said would be executed in line with the manifesto of the PDP.

Speaking at the Ibadan North Local Government rally of the party held at Bodija Market, Ibadan, Makinde made the commitment to give the popular Bodija market a facelift, promising to install street lights and tar all roads within the market. But beyond the physical transformation, which the PDP candidate promised Bodija would enjoy if he is elected, he showcased the human side of his manifesto, dilating on his programme for shared prosperity and collective wealth for the people of the state, noting that he would help occupants of the market to grow their businesses and have greater ease of doing business through the institution of a loan scheme for traders. This, he said, was part of his programmes to improve the economy of the state.

Makinde, who many residents of the state argued, is the most prepared candidate for the Oke Oyinbo Government House going by the number of years he had been seeking to govern the state and his wealth of experience, as speeches he made at one campaign point after the other showed, has perfected the art of making people-specific and locality-specific commitments. When he addressed voters in the metropolitan Ibadan, he made promises that were tailored towards meeting their needs, while visits to the hinterlands of Oyo State such as the 10 local government areas of Oke Ogun showed the PDP candidate speaking directly to the needs of the rural dwellers.

At Iseyin, Makinde had directly addressed the issue of lack of a tertiary institution in the large city when he visited the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul Ganiy, Adekunle Salau to pay homage to him before the rally, promising to see to the establishment of an institution of higher learning in Iseyin, Oke Ogun area if elected as the governor of the state, a promise which not only gladdened the hearts of residents of the city but also endeared Makinde to them.

On the PDP campaign entourage to Iseyin were the running mate to Makinde, Mr Rauf Olaniyan; a former Minister for Sports, Professor Taoheed Adedoja; Oyo State PDP chairman, Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha; Alhaja Bosede Adedibu and other stalwarts.

The party’s campaign visit to Saki West Local Government, Saki East Local Government, Irepo Local Government and Oorelope Local Government, among others, had given Makinde the opportunity to speak to a key component of his manifesto: agriculture. Agriculture, which is top on the PDP standard-bearer’s list of programmes for the improvement of the Oyo State economy and the betterment of the lives of its people, Makinde stated, would receive massive attention from his government, if elected by the people of the state.

Speaking at the party’s rally held opposite Saki Town Hall, Makinde assured the people of Saki and, indeed, Oke Ogun area, of his plan to resuscitate the defunct Oyo North Agricultural Development Programme (ONADEP) to further boost agricultural development in the state.

He maintained that this would complement his resolve to industrialise Oke Ogun through the rich natural and agricultural resources in the region.

Makinde, who had earlier touched Sepeteri, Ago-Amodu, Oje-Owode, Ogbooro and Agbonle, had urged the people to vote for the PDP, saying: “We have promised Oke Ogun people of agricultural and industrial revolution. On this I want to state here that if you vote for Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State and other candidates of PDP in Oyo State, Oyo North Agricultural Development Programme (ONADEP) will be returned to set the ball rolling for agricultural revolution in Oke Ogun.”

Similarly, the PDP candidate had used the occasion to explain his commitment to the building, renewal and improvement of infrastructure in Saki and other towns in Oke Ogun, pointing specifically to how he would urgently complete the Saki township road.

On workers’ salary, the PDP candidate had also used the visit to Saki to send a message to staffers of Oyo State-owned tertiary institutions, noting that under his leadership as governor of the state, it would, indeed, be fresh water and a breath of fresh air for them, as he promised to not only urgently clear the salary arrears owed lecturers and staff of Oke Ogun Polytechnic and others but also put a permanent end to strike actions and poor handling of the institutions.

Several party leaders on the trip, including Olaniyan; Mustapha; former Senate Minority Whip, Senator Ayoola Agboola; Chief Jacob Adetoro and the Director-General of the PDP governorship campaign, Chief Bayo Lawal, who spoke at different stops had corroborated Makinde’s words, promising that with the PDP, “the future of the people of the state would be assured.”

The party’s campaign train had moved from one location to the other, touching other towns and local governments such as Out in Itesiwaju LG; Okeho in Kajola LG; Ilero; Iganna and others.

But one of the most symbolic visits had come with Makinde and the PDP campaign’s visit to Igboho in Oorelope Local Government, which incidentally is the local government of his running mate, Olaniyan and also a town where Makinde has become renowned as a promise-keeper and man of his words.

The PDP governorship candidate’s aspiration had begun to resonate more with the people of the historical town following how he had in the last two months made a promise to the town and quickly fulfilled that promise rather than delay same till he is elected. According to residents of the town, including the chairman of the town’s umbrella socio-cultural group, Ifelodun Omo Igboho, Mr. Azeez Aderoju, Igboho would always be grateful to Makinde, who made a promise to gift the community a generating set to power the ultramodern town hall constructed through the town’s self-help initiative and delivered a 15 KVA Mikano generator less than three weeks after making the promise.

A former chairman of Ifelodun, Mr Adeladan, had also commended Makinde for acting in a way unexpected of an average politician by fulfilling a promise he made to the town before its people even voted for him, saying an average politician would have tied the fulfillment of the promise to his election.

For those who listened to the promises being made by Makinde across the local governments in Ibadan, Ibarapa and Oke Ogun, the PDP candidate’s gesture in Igboho “is enough to convince the Oyo State voters that our governorship candidate, Mr Seyi Makinde, does not make frivolous promises and when he does, he can be trusted to stand by them,” the House of Representatives candidate for Irepo/Olorunsogo/Oorelope, Honourable Michael Okunlade, told Sunday Tribune.

Other prominent features of the PDP campaign were Makinde’s high reverence for the traditional institution in the state, as the candidate has made a practice of paying homage to the royal fathers before embarking on any activity in their domain, with all the royal fathers visited giving royal blessings and words of advice to Makinde ahead of the poll.

From Iseyin to Okeho, from Saki to Kisi, the royal fathers continued to stress the need for peace before, during and after the polls, a message that was symmetrical with Makinde’s urge to PDP members at all campaign points, as he continued to stress that the PDP is “a non-violent, peace-loving party and would continue to be so.”

This message of peace from Makinde, did not, however, stop him from constantly warning PDP members to shine their eyes and be vigilant in order to frustrate the alleged rigging plans of the ruling APC.

The party’s campaign train is expected to move from Oke Ogun to other parts of the state in the coming weeks, but the messages of hope, economic transformation, education sector reform and shared wealth/collective wellbeing for Oyo State people being put across by Makinde are expected to remain the same and to ring louder as the poll approaches.


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