Nigeria’s independence day anniversary comes once every year. But it is not every year that we get to celebrate a diamond jubilee, Nigeria at 60. Today is indeed a special day and while I know that many people would want to spend the day reminding us of all the times we failed the test of nationhood, I choose to spend more time thinking about the future. Because if a person’s past is not filled with happy memories, he has the choice, to create happier moments in the future.
People have often said democracy is not a perfect form of government. Yes, democracy is not perfect. We choose democracy, not because it is a faultless system, but because it is the fairest form of government practiced by humankind. With democracy, the majority can be assured that their voice will be taken into account and their wishes will be carried out. With democracy, every four years the people have a choice to keep the incumbent or try someone new. They have a chance to try, and try again.
Here in Oyo State, the people are finally enjoying true democracy. In March 2019, you came out in your numbers and voted your choice. We are in office today because we received your mandate. We are working because we are assured that you, the good people of Oyo State are behind us, supporting our plans that are gradually bringing about an accelerated development in our dear Oyo State.
For the first time is so many years in Oyo State, the people have a say in the decisions that the government makes. We have put in place systems by which you can reach us and speak to us. We are running an open door policy. Even the executive budget system is subjected to the rigor of public opinion.
As a result, we are seeing developments in every sector of the economy. In the education sector, we are continuing to build and rehabilitate schools. Currently, applicants for the teacher recruitment exercise for Post Primary Schools are undergoing oral interviews. Soon, the problem of inadequate teachers in state-owned secondary schools will be reduced. We have received reports that the process has been transparent and fair.
We are putting the state on the path to economic recovery post COVID-19 by getting more investors into the state. Once moribund public facilities are getting a new lease of life. I am happy to report to you that the Pacesetter Quary and Asphalt Plant, Ijaye, which we handed to private concessionaires in May, 2020 has already gone into production and we are using the asphalt they produce in road constructions in Oyo State. In the next few months, the Pacesetter Fruit Processing Company, Oko, will become functional again. We have also handed over the Agbowo shopping complex, Ibadan, to concessionaires.
I am also happy to report that we are reducing our infrastructure deficit faster and using various funding approaches to get the job done. Our various road projects are proceeding on schedule. The Moniya Iseyin road is fifty-seven percent complete, the 21km Airport- Ajia-New Ife road with a spur to Amuloko which was just commenced in August, 2020 is already four percent complete. The Apete-Awotan-Akufo road and Under G-Stadium-LAUTECH-2nd Gate road are under way. We recently re-awarded Saki Township road and awarded the Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Ashipa road in Oyo Town. The Akobo-Ojurin road which was mismanaged by the last contractor is on the verge of being re-awarded.
One of the disadvantages, if we are to call it that, of a democratic system is the that bureaucracy often slows down decision making. Whereas, a dictator can issue decrees and ask for things to be done at the snap of a finger. True democracy has systems, checks and balances, to ensure that no one person has too much powers. So, when you think a decision is being delayed, remember that this is how democracy works. Remember that this is how systems are built and maintained.
So, as we celebrate Nigeria at 60, let us continue to give democracy a chance. May we never think of allowing the affliction of military rule to rise again. May we never forget that even the worst democratic government is better than the best dictatorship.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
God bless Oyo State.
~Governor Seyi Makinde, October 1, 2020