With the unprecedented level of insecurity, corruption, poverty, hardship, misery and despair in the land, one can safely extrapolate from this spiritual statement of truth that the reins of government of Nigeria are in the hands of the “unrighteous”.
For many Nigerians, governance at both the federal and state levels had lost its meaning as it no longer serves the purpose of its existence – protection and advancement of the welfare and interests of the citizens in all their ramifications. Worse still. Amid broken electoral promises the heartless, and ungodly elected public office holders carry on with indifference and arrogance, throwing the people into gloom, hopelessness and helplessness.
But one leader that has come to be popularly acclaimed as an exception, a completely different breed and lone light beaming its radiance over a patch in this sordid dark, filthy alley of a republic is Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. He is viewed by people within and outside the state, both friends and foes as the only oasis in a desert in want of others like it to give succour and life abundant to dwellers and travellers alike.
And the verdict has no doubt been earned. Since he came into the office barely a year ago, His Excellency has shown by word and action that he has a clear vision of what the mission of government is and understands that power must be wielded by the ruler for the greatest good of the greatest number of the people!
Perhaps, in a very long time, the state has not seen a leader with so much demonstrable passion for and commitment to the wellbeing of the people.
Governor Makinde has consistently brought tremendous joy and rejoicing to Oyo State people through a series of his people-driven policies and interventions, especially abolition of fees in schools under a comprehensive free education programme also geared towards restoring standards.
He is the first governor in the entire South to agree to pay N30,000 minimum wage, despite initially baulking over fears that the state’s lean and precarious finances might not be able to sustain it.
For Makinde, being in the state house is an opportunity to extend and escalate his philanthropic and activities in assisting and empowering the poor and underserved, which he has been doing with his personal resources before coming into government on a grander scale with public resources. While official policies and activities of government at the national level, as well as some of his counterparts, have either driven or left the average Nigerians in abject poverty, Makinde has been hailed for lifting indigent residents of the state out of it, through various innovative educational, social and economic empowerment schemes for the young, the old, women and me, thus giving hope to the hopeless.
At the onset of the security siege characterized by banditry, kidnapping, raping and terrorist attacks on South West last year, the Oyo State helmsman was the first of the six governors in the region to restore confidence to the panic-stricken populace by immediately mobilizing efforts to secure the people of the state against violent crimes with the acquisition of crime-fighting gadgetry and patrol vehicles for security agencies. He has also backed the establishment of the Western States Security Network code-named “Operation Amotekun” to the hilt.
And just when you think you have seen the best, the governor springs up another surprise. At a time employment space is shrinking, Governor Makinde is creating opportunities for jobless graduates and school leavers to say bye-bye to poverty and years of shame of being on the employment queue. Only last week the state government announced it’s employing 7,000 teachers and 2,500 non-teaching staff to strengthen the teaching service.
The is being replicated in the health sector too.
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The sheer quantum and quality of what the young governor has achieved within the short period he took charge of Oyo State’s affairs, has led the people of the state to wonder where he got the money to do all this, more so as the past governments gave the impression that the state was not buoyant enough to undertake life-transforming projects as Makinde is doing.
But discerning observers have aptly situated the difference in Makinde’s prioritizing the need to urgently, persistently and maximally use the instrumentality of government to touch the lives of the people who gave him the mandate. For GSM, the government is indeed a public trust! According to them, therefore, what we see playing out in all of the passion he has demonstrated and single-minded devotion to the wellbeing of the people of Oyo state is a rare sense of godliness.
Remarkably, Makinde does all this with an incredibly high sense of simplicity, humility, commitment, conscientiousness and naturalness – as if it is the just, inevitable and most natural thing to do!
Not with him any hype or propaganda. His deeds and accomplishments simply find ways of speaking for themselves and testifying to the goodness of his heart, a heart that reflects through service the goodness, benevolence and love of the Almighty God to humanity, a righteous heart.
A sign of Governor Makinde’s godliness is that he has remained unperturbed and focused on doing his best for the people, despite the antics of the opposition to distract him.
In spite of the rousing applause to his undisputed competence, dynamic style of governance and sterling performance, Governor Makinde is humility personified. Nothing underscores this more than his admission of fallibility and preparedness to make amend in the interest of the people who elected him, where he might have erred. “I am ready to reverse myself on any policy that negates the interest and welfare of the people,” he once said. Surely, these are the words of the righteous who take promptings from God on what to do with the authority he has been invested with!
No wonder the marked difference in the art of governance and its positive effect on the living conditions of the people and the physical environment of the pace-setting state. Yet little wonder, the people want more of Seyi Makinde.