Home News 11 Hurdles Before Makinde (SEE LIST)

11 Hurdles Before Makinde (SEE LIST)

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On May 29, out-going Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi will hand over to a new helmsman, Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Southwest Bureau Chief of The Nation, BISI OLADELE, examines the challenges that will confront him.

Saturday, March 9 was a watershed in the history of Oyo State. An opposition candidate, Oluseyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was elected governor.  Though his electoral victory came as a shock to many outside the state, the anti-Ajimobi sentiment, which spread like wildfire, somehow crystallised into a sort of movement across the state only few weeks before the elections. For those who live in the state, therefore, his election was not unexpected.

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Makinde’s victory will bring back the PDP to power in Oyo State after eight years of operating as an opposition party. Its last governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, was defeated in the 2011 election as an incumbent. Since then, he has tried in vain to bounce back.

When Makinde is sworn in as the eighth  civilian governor on May 29 he will inherit a number of legacies from the outgoing administration of Abiola Ajimobi. He also faces huge expectations from residents, particularly in areas which the opposition and the public perceive Ajimobi as having done poorly.

Makinde will inherit some ongoing projects, including road and silo construction. Some city roads are currently being dualised in addition to those already completed by the outgoing administration.

He will also inherit laudable projects such as the Education Trust Fund (ETF), Security Trust Fund (STF), School Governing Boards (SGB) for all the public secondary schools, world-class Agodi Garden and the First Technical University, Ibadan, among others.

The new governor will also inherit highly improved governance system, peace and security in cities and towns whose economic activities have been strengthened  by Ajimobi’s urban renewal policy.

Though many voters preferred the PDP in the elections, they will not accept poor maintenance of the infrastructure already put in place.  They will expect an upgrade of many more infrastructure, in continuation of the Ajimobi governance culture. The urban renewal policy has brought back good night life, and attracted national and global retail brands, thereby creating jobs and boosting economic activities, boosted the supermarket, bakery, fashion, real estate and other  businesses. Residents will expect the sustenance of this policy to keep the businesses alive and booming.

They will expect the sustenance of the peace and security initiatives, including the joint security outfit codenamed  Operation Burst and the STF which is attracting funds for security activities.

One of the major criticisms against the Ajimobi administration is its inability to pay salaries and pensions regularly during the economic recession well as inability to clear all pension arrears. The case of the state-owned tertiary institutions also fall into this category. The huge expectation of voters is that Makinde will address it. But, the challenge lies in the state’s ability to accomplish them in the face of scarce resources. For instance, 100 per cent of federal allocation was dedicated to payment of salaries and pensions by the outgoing government. Aside from the fact that there is shortfall, subventions to tertiary institutions are not captured by the federal allocation. Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and special revenues such as Excess Crude Oil income have been largely relied upon for running of government and sundry expenditure. Yet, there is the need to rebuild infrastructure, fund education, healthcare and develop agriculture. Makinde faces the huge challenge of plugging these shortfalls to meet voters expectations.

The Olubadan Chieftaincy Review conundrum is a challenge which Makinde will be expected to resolve. For those who think Ajimobi was wrong to have undertaken the review, they will expect Makinde to reverse it. For those who support it or think tampering with the review with cause more trouble, they will expect the new governor to look away. Either way, Makinde is sure to court controversy.

The Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) issue is another challenge before Makinde. In an era when football is completely privatised for efficiency and profit-making, lovers of 3SC expect the government-owned football club to come tops in competitions. They have emotional attachment, which grew from the club’s glorious history. Makinde is expected to handle the issue in ways that will please the stakeholders. The same goes for Crown Football Club, Ogbomoso.

Perhaps, one of the greatest challenges before Makinde is how to manage the coalition that produced his victory. The coalition include Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Sharafadeen Alli’s Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Senator Olufemi Lanlehin’s African Democratic Congress (ADC). Both Alli and Lanlehin are not likely to drop their governorship ambition for 2023 and beyond. That may be a headache for Makinde. Besides, leaders of the two parties parade people that have richer public service experience. In today’s Oyo State politics, once politicians are elected or gain political appointments, they believe they must continue to occupy one political position or the other while those who are yet to be patronised keep pressuring their leaders to have their own turn. Makinde faces this challenge of pleasing everyone in the coalition while also pleasing the voters.

Having succeeded in returning the PDP to power, and with age on his side, Makinde will surely work towards having a second term. This will necessitate a lot of schemings as a political leader.

It is hoped that the governor-elect will draw enough wisdom and political sagacity to navigate through the heaps of expectations and challenges to write his name in gold.

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