Oyo is a state in the South-West of Nigeria, with the alias Pacesetter State. OYO is also a street lingua that is commonplace in the South-West of Nigeria. It serves as a warning to individuals or groups on actions and consequences, letting them know that when the chickens come home to roost and there is fallout from their actions or inactions, they would be standing alone to face the music.
While the first OYO was derived from the all-important and historic kingdom established by Alaafin Oranmiyan, the last born of Oduduwa, Yoruba’s famed progenitor, the other OYO means On Your Own.
OYO, the one for the Pacesetter State, has become well-known all over the world for its rich history of pacesetting achievements in governance, education and other key areas, as experienced during the days of the Western Region Government and for its economic ascendancy and exemplary governance initiatives in recent times under the focused leadership of Governor ‘Seyi Makinde.
Interestingly, OYO, the state, has also become renowned for often being jabbed with the street lingua OYO, especially whenever its governor takes the decision to stand alone and stand out on issues where other states of the federation, and often times, the Federal Government itself, have imbibed the herd mentality.
Governor Makinde has often been criticised for heading on a path away from the national caravan. He has become used to being told OYO by critics. But in the end and that too on every occasion, GSM’s decisions turned out to be the superior decisions and in the best interest of the teeming people of the state.
This scenario played out many times during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Governor Makinde decisions which were different from the ones taken by the Federal Government and other states with regards to measures put in place to navigate the pandemic.
All through his first four years, Governor Makinde was not a stranger to OYO, as every now and then, his critics told him off for choosing to stand apart on national issues. In fact, some even went as far as insinuating that the governor was fighting the Federal Government because he is a member of the opposition party. But the governor, renowned for his courage and will power once he is convinced that his decision would bring the best results for Oyo State, did not allow himself to be bothered by the naysayers’ antics. He marched on and as a reward for his courage and determination not to fear standing alone once it is standing for what is right, the governor was re-elected by the teeming people of Oyo State.
Fast-forward to Omituntun 2.0, Governor Makinde, who had decided at the twilight of the first administration that the next agenda for Oyo State is sustainable development, chose to start off on the strong foot of courage; determination and commitment to what he believed would bring the greater good for Oyo State. The people’s governor had also simply upped the game by embracing the concept of synergism.
In several fields including politics, business, pharmacy and many more, synergism is seen as the interaction, cooperation and collaboration of more than one party/element to produce a combined and greater effect than what the effect of only one element would achieve. This has been in play in Oyo State, where Makinde, the same governor once derided and told OYO for taking informed decisions not to move with the blind crowd, has formed a strong synergy with the Federal Government with a view to bringing greater good to his state.
The deft moves started before the election but they were perfected immediately President Bola Tinubu was sworn-in as president, with Governor Makinde positioning Oyo State to benefit immensely as a federating unit. Though some critics had seen that positioning in a negative light, criticising the governor for always being in Abuja, GSM had remained undeterred and has gone ahead to solidify the relationship with the Centre in a way that proves that synergism can bring better results.
It was for that synergy that Makinde, a PDP governor, was on the entourage of the president to the United Nations General Assembly, where he did a yeoman’s job in marketing Oyo State. It would also be recalled that the governor was with President Tinubu at the New York Stock Exchange.
It is also noteworthy how Governor Makinde has successfully opened viable channels for the development of the state, especially its aviation and solid mineral sectors, with his recent visits to the Minister of Aviation, Barr Festus Keyamo (SAN) and the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake. With these visits, the Oyo State governor opened a vista of opportunities in the two sectors dear to his heart and critical to his economic expansion agenda in the state; discussing at length how best Oyo State could key in and benefit from the vision of the president on the two important sectors.
On his own, Governor Makinde has done much in the aviation sector, where he has successfully driven the effort to upgrade Ibadan Airport to an international facility and has succeeded greatly. But experts in the aviation industry and watchers of events in the sector would testify that there are many areas the state will benefit from a cordial relationship with the Federal Government.
Equally, in the solid mineral development sector, an area that the Oyo State government has identified as a fertile ground and a huge launch pad for the expansion of its economy, so much rests on the shoulders of the Federal Government. Aware of this fact, the calculative GSM chose to bond with the Federal Ministry and by moving in that direction, he set the ball in motion to succeed and triumph in his determination to reposition Oyo State’s economy through solid mineral development. Following on the part of the synergy forged by the governor, the Director General of the Oyo State Solid Minerals Development Agency, Okunrinjeje Abiodun Oni, also recently brokered a partnership with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) with a view to having its men work with the state government on the security angle to mining development in the state, as espoused by a recent Executive Order signed by the governor. Without a doubt, the people of Oyo State are poised to benefit more from the wealth inside the grounds in mining communities from Komu to Abuja Leather and Ajet to Bonni in Irepo Local Government.
In these synergistic moves, Governor Makinde is telling a story to Oyo State residents; the story of a consummate administrator and forward-looking leader, who understands the signs of the times. He seems to be saying that as their governor, he knows the time to stand OYO and the time to stand together and that in all situations; it is about the greater good of the state.
Alao is the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde