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Governor Seyi Makinde’s Remarks at the 11th Chief Emeka Anyaoku Lecture Series on Good Governance in Nigeria

Governor Seyi Makinde delivering remarks at the 11th Chief Emeka Anyaoku Lecture Series on Good Governance in Nigeria on October 20, 2022

Being the remarks by His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State at the 11th Chief Emeka Anyaoku Lecture Series on Good Governance in Nigeria held at the IACD Library and Resources Centre, Jericho, Ibadan, on Thursday, October 20, 2022

Let me start by thanking the organisers for bringing the 11th edition of this brilliant event to Ibadan and giving us the opportunity to host the Chief Emeka Anyaoku Lecture Series.  

I am always excited about any event that brings together thought leaders. The learning opportunities they provide have profound impact on leadership and governance. And that is why the theme of this edition of the lecture series – ‘Imperative of Good Governance in Nigeria’ – is timely, particularly, as we approach another election cycle in our dear country.

Some people say good governance is a relative term, that it is difficult to define. But, permit me to get a little religious in my remarks as I try to debunk this claim.

The theme of this lecture already suggests the existence of two concepts that are like two parallel lines that don’t meet: good and bad. When God created the earth, the Bible tells us that he saw everything and it was good. So, if man is made in God’s image, that means we can also look at something created and say whether it is good or bad. The ability to make that judgement call is innate.

So, what stops us from analysing what we expect when we say good governance? In Oyo State for example, good governance means Fidelity, Accountability, Integrity, Transparency and Honesty (FAITH). Permit me to give two examples of how these come into play in governance.

Our administration is transparent about our finances in the state. Each budget cycle, we hold townhall meetings in the seven geopolitical zones of Oyo State. At these meetings, we ask our people what they would want us to prioritise in the state’s budget letting them know the resources available. We get their input, so that when we present the budget to the State House of Assembly, it represents the will of the people.

Good governance in Oyo State means accountability. We created various feedback channels for our people including media chats where I have the opportunity to hear directly from the people and answer their questions. We also use these opportunities to present a scorecard to the people on decisions we have made and how they have turned out.

And I said at the beginning of my remarks, just as we can tell what good governance is, we can also examine the facts and determine bad governance. For example, we look at how Nigeria is structured and we can tell that until the federating units are able to make their own economic decisions without interference from the centre, we will continue to experience bad governance.

We can tell what should be happening in our country, how things ought to be as opposed to what is happening now and say, this is bad governance no matter what the politicians themselves say.

Recently, someone asked me if after my first term in office, I was just going to walk away from governance. And my response was that, I came into politics and governance to make a difference and I believe that in the last three years I have been able to make the point that a turnaround from bad governance to good governance is possible in four years or less.

If we could increase Oyo State’s IGR by over 90% in three years, complete the reconstruction of the longest stretch of road ever done by any sitting governor in Oyo State, if not the entire southwest, in eighteen months and turn around the fortunes of our people through targeted policies in less than four years, then what is the excuse for still having bad governance after anyone has spent eight years in office?

I believe that the guest speaker will do justice to this theme. And I look forward to listening to him speak. But before I end my remarks, let me especially thank Chief Emeka Anyaoku for this opportunity. You remain one of the few Nigerians that we, the younger generation, look up to as an example of what a statesman should be.

They say great men start things that live long after they are gone. It is my prayer that this lecture series continues to provide the opportunity for persons who will shape our nation’s future to listen and learn and think more about governance than they do about politics.

I know this lecture series goes from state to state, but as the Pacesetter State, we can break the protocol and say that you come back to us again soon. By the grace of God, we will be here to host you again.

Thank you and God bless you.

Seyi Makinde

October 20, 2022