Home News INTERVIEW: Why Makinde Towers Above His Predecessors — APC Chieftain, Olaosebikan

INTERVIEW: Why Makinde Towers Above His Predecessors — APC Chieftain, Olaosebikan


Kehinde Olaosebikan is a seasoned journalist, public relations expert, and politician.

In this interview with TheCable’s YEKEEN AKINWALE, Olaosebikan said Nigerians would gladly vote for President Bola Tinubu for a second term in 2027. He added that the president would reverse the present hardship in the country and win the hearts of most Nigerians.

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TheCable: Tinubu recently marked one year in office. What’s your assessment of his government so far?

Olaosebikan: The government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a strong and well-focused one. Being a very strong leader, the president has brought strength, valour and a great deal of pragmatism to governance, especially against the lackluster, inertia-filled government of his predecessor. Without any equivocation, I would say President Bola Tinubu is running the precise type of government we require at this point in time.

TheCable: Do you think he has taken the right step by removing the fuel subsidy on the day he was inaugurated as president?

Olaosebikan: That happened one year ago, and harping on it now would not fetch us anything. What I would say is that whether he removed it on the first day or any other day, the reality is that the subsidy must go and removing it would certainly have some unpalatable consequences.

Like most Nigerians, I am feeling the pain of the aftermath of the removal, but I am sanguine that Nigeria and Nigerians will be better for it. It is just a normal experience in growth.

TheCable: Sequel to the removal of the subsidy, the federal government rolled out some palliative measures, including the increment in the state allocations, yet Nigerians are still languishing in hardship. What do you think can be done to address the issue of hunger?

Olaosebikan: The truth is that it is difficult to see the impact of palliatives in big societies and countries like ours. For a nation of over 250 million people, gauging the impact of palliatives is a tough issue. Palliatives are introduced to bring immediate relief to those worst hit by the adverse effects of the removal. But are they really feeling the impact? The answer is no. The president did well by increasing the allocations to states and directing allocations of essential items to the states. However, what the states are doing to the increased allocations is another thing entirely. The responsibility of the government is to create common wealth that will be enjoyed seamlessly by all.

TheCable: Do you think this government is doing that?

Olaosebikan: Yes, the government has come out with measures that would lead to the generation of a commonwealth for all.

The first major one is the student loan scheme recently launched by the government. The loan scheme, which is aimed at providing financial assistance to qualified Nigerians for tuition, other fees, upkeep during their studies, and vocational skills acquisition, would ease the burden on their parents and guardians. For me, any serious effort or programme aimed at fighting poverty and want must first reduce the burden on the common man. It is the most visible and reasonable way to combat poverty.

The policy must make education, health, power, and employment accessible to the hoi pollois. The yoke of the masses must be made light by the government. The new students’ loan scheme initiative of the Tinubu government is laudable. We all must support the government to make it work.

Also, the concerted efforts being made by the government to improve the supply of electricity across the country are commendable, as steady electricity would generate more employment and enhance development in both urban and rural areas. The government has also come up with implementable programmes on health, housing, and small-scale business development.

TheCable: Do you think President Tinubu has adopted the governance style he used while he was Lagos governor?

Olaosebikan: Take whatever negatives you are seeing now as the odds against Tinubu’s chances in 2027. His reforms will yield fruit.

Olaosebikan: He is using the style even in a greater and more perceptible way, and it is working. Let me give you some instances. Let us start here in Abuja, the federal capital territory (FCT). Have you noticed the massive transformation and huge development being recorded in Abuja in the last ten months?

That shows clearly that a leader with a great mission and vision is in charge, unlike what happened in the last eight years when Abuja’s growth was completely retarded. You will see that Abuja is changing now, almost daily. People are easily missing their way in Abuja because of the massive development taking place. You will see well-planned development with a human face all over the city. That is excellence in development.

Look at what President Tinubu is turning the mining sector into for the betterment and greatness of Nigeria. At present, Nigeria is steadily growing and implementing robust mining policies and programmes that would earn the nation revenue in trillions of naira and foreign exchange, give massive employment to both skilled and unskilled Nigerians, and make the nation attain pride of place among the comity of nations. You could see the state governors trooping into the ministry of mines with great enthusiasm and assurance. That is upright progress in diversifying sources of revenue for our great country.

Another area is the management of travel documents for Nigerians. Before the new president assumed office, there were over 200,000 applications for Nigerian passports in the immigration offices all over Nigeria that had been there for years and months. But within a month or so, the present government, under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, cleared all the backlogs and made the issuance of Nigerian passports seamless in Nigeria and in all our embassies all over the world. That is providing functional systems and putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians at home and abroad.

The Nigeria Customs Service has also been recording unprecedented successes in revenue generation, trade facilitation, and an improved reputation for Nigeria. In just the first quarter of this year, the service generated an unprecedented revenue of N1.3 trillion marking a 122.35 per cent increase over the revenue generated within the same period last year. This guarantees resources for capital and social development.

My brother, this is the situation in virtually all the ministries and agencies of the government now because the man at the top is capable, competent, focused, and providing inspirational leadership for the country. As he did in Lagos, President Tinubu has appointed the right people to the appropriate positions.

I, however, agree with you that Nigerians are suffering, but with my understanding of the ongoing reforms and the profound leadership of President Tinubu, the suffering would be short-lived. Very soon, and I mean very soon, Nigeria’s situation will change for the better. It is already manifesting.

TheCable: With the current situation of the country, do you see Nigerians voting Tinubu in 2027 for a second term?

Olaosebikan: Tomorrow belongs to God. I pray that Allah spares him for us beyond 2027. He is the best for the country in 2027. Let me make this prediction. You remember I made one on his birthday in 2022 that he would celebrate his 71st birthday as the president-elect of Nigeria.

Tinubu has the uncanny ability to win against all odds. Take whatever negatives you are seeing now as the odds against his chances in 2027, which I know clearly that he would surmount luminously. By the first/second quarter of next year, when the reforms being put in place now begin to yield fruit, Nigerians will see glaringly the need for President Bola Tinubu to continue. Nigerians would yearn for him to continue in 2027. Mark my words.

TheCable: As a senior citizen of Oyo state, a politician, and a respected journalist, what is your assessment of Seyi Makinde’s government in the last five years?

Olaosebikan: Though I may disagree with some aspects of his government, I will commend him for running a peaceful and non-chaotic government. He has proven to be methodical and calculating and these are very crucial to successful governance. As a politician and person with great belief in grassroots development, I am impressed with his handling of real grassroots development. Anybody can say anything about Governor Seyi Makinde, the soft-spoken governor has written his name in gold when you talk of infrastructural development in Oyo state and indeed the entire south west.

Like I said about the president, the audacity and bravery with which Seyi Makinde is handling the circular road and legacy projects of former governors have made him tower over all his predecessors. He will be leaving behind a project that would make a lot of sense in the development of Oyo and the south west. It will outlive generations and be well applauded by all.

For this to work perfectly, Makinde should review and strengthen the town planning system in Oyo state. The new towns coming after the circular road must not be like the poorly planned Muslim, Olorunsoogo, Amuloko, Oremeji, Odo-ona and co.

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