Most people do not realise that the Ides of March has a non-threatening history. Kalends, Nones and Ides were ancient markers used to reference dates in relation to lunar phases. Ides simply referred to the first new moon of a given month, which usually fell between the 13th and 15th. In fact, the Ides of March once signified the new year, which meant celebrations and rejoicing. However, the soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare play has not only branded the phrase, it also marked the phrase as a dark gloomy warning of eminent danger.
In relation to Oyo State politics and the GSM factor, it is important that GSM is wary of all the hangers on around him. Some are appointed close allies and others are friends. GSM needs to investigate and carry out enhanced due diligence on some of these allies who follow him around. Some of these people are so far from reality that they believe they are GSM supporters, but their personal greed, arrogance and outright wickedness has become a major issue for the GSM brand. These people have directly and indirectly enriched themselves over the last three and a half years. The actions are a direct contradiction to the position which GSM himself tries to project to the masses. Governor Seyi Makinde presents himself as a man of the people, a man accountable to the people, a man that loves the people and a man ready to fight corruption. It is however so sad that there are a couple of major cases of corruption and financial mismanagement going on right under his nose. No one is sure if his is unaware, aware but likely scenarios or what then is the reason for the creating OYACA which is an agency established by the virtue of the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Agency cy Law, 2019. The activities of OYACA would plug revenue leaks in the government purse and stop the act of mismanagement of office by public office holders and government workers. Till date, there has never been a record of prosecution of any high profile case in the state.
From what we see, GSM appears to be ‘unaware’, at least from his words and sometimes even his body language. His Excellency talks about the improvement of education in the claims that things are better than they were before he came into office state. Same in Health, Education and Security. However, the facts on ground do not appear to agree with his statements.
A good example is the Medical Outreach by Omituntun Initiative in the Diaspora (OID) and Seyi Makinde Volunteer in partnership with the Oyo State Ministry of Health held last December, 2022 in Adamasigba Stadium, with many state officials, hangers on and allies attending for the photo opportunity. In a State where Billions of Naira has been spent to supposedly rehabilitate the primary health centre (about 350 of them) across the state, you will think the government will partner with the sponsors of the Medical Outreach to publicise the rehabilitated primary health centres.
Really the sensible thing to do would have been to use several primary health centres as venues of the outreach, thereby show casing the work of the government. They used the stadium, brought in several government officials and allies and then supposedly donated medical supplies to the state ministry of health. The question that should be asked is that if these government had improved the health facilities and health awareness, such outreach would not be necessary. Such programmes should be run by the opposition not the ruling party. We are all familiar with the usual practice of politicians seeking attention to carry out such programmes in other to get noticed in their efforts to be considered for a position in the future. In the area of health there was more audio work done than in real life. However, GSM can provide facts and figures, pictures by going to campaign in front of several of the rehabilitated and functioning primary health centres.
In the area of education, at the primary level there are no obvious changes, GSM’s cancellation of the NGN3000.00 paid by the students is the major change at secondary level. Regarding education, there seems to be a whole lot of noise at the tertiary level. This however can be associated with the acquisition of the sole ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso. Rehabilitation of old buildings is currently ongoing at several Polytechnics across the State. Oyo State they claim is becoming the centre of higher education. Even though they started poorly due to the initial choice of a commissioner in the ministry which was a colossal disaster. This is a man that is not known to have run any major organisation before becoming commissioner, and as such his tranfer or should we say demotion to the Ministry of Establishment became imminent. He was later moved to Ministry of Works (A Professor of Statistics) ? The people of the State particularly Ibadan can attest to his incompetence going by the state of the roads in the ancient city.
Although, there are several major road projects going on in the State reliable source claim the Governor is directly handle these ‘deals’. And we are going to really do business going forward, we are better start by meaning them with right appointments in rightful positions.
In the area of security, there has been a couple of high-profile robberies, kidnappings, murders, and thugs going on rampage in the State under this government. Reliable sources also point to the obvious fact that a certain individual who can be considered as a major security risk is a close ally of the government and a regular visitor to the Governor’s house. The Amotekun security outfit championed by the Governor are poorly trained and there has been a few allegations of members being involved in crime. This will remain a problem until the government understand the importance of enhanced vetting of all recruits. This government has performed below expectation in this area, but as usual they blame their failings of the limited support from the federal government.
Agriculture is probably the one area this government need little effort to succeed. Oyo state has the land mass that is naturally very good for crop cultivation and animal grazing. Oyo State also has a large number of practicing farmers, in the rural areas of the state the main occupation is farming (crop and animal). Oyo State has several Farm Settlements (9 in number), and several colleges of agriculture . The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is also located with the state. With all the positives listed above, one will think this government with all its documented plans to improve agriculture will make an easy work of the agricultural development. Again, the choice of personnel can be attributed to the slow pace and in some instances lack of development. The government appears to rely on IITA for their agricultural development, forgetting that IITA has a very deep pocket, as IITA funds are in US dollars and the money is for research.
Then there was the OYO Agribusiness summit which was meant to bring in investors, over a year after the government and its agency OYSADA are yet to publish and provide physical evidence of the investment that has come into the state. Then there is Fashola Farm Settlement, nobody knows what is going on there. Details gathered from reliable sources confirm that the multi-billion Naira project was awarded without going through the standard due process to a company based in Abuja, and another Abuja based company was employed to market the facilities on the farm settlement. As at today according to reliable sources, no one knows how much of public funds has gone into this project, as the project is being controlled, managed, and run by 2 main players. Our source claimed that there are luxury buildings on the Fashola Settlement valued at approximately 70 to 100 million each. The investigation carried out shows that no indigenous business (i.e. Oyo State indigene) benefited directly from this project. Also, a simple drive bye showed the poor quality of the frontal fence of the settlement, the chain link fence looked weak and cheap, there were goats viewed gaining access into the compound. If the front can be this poorly done what will happen at the back which is out of public view of the facility ? It is important that the government provide the beneficiaries of these projects, and for transparency the final beneficiaries must also be identified.
The story making the rounds is that the DG OYSADA Dr. Adebowale Akande has allegedly turned this project to a personal pot of gold, giving jobs to his friends for major ‘cuts’, even his alleged girlfriend has her own share. Then there is the Nasarawa training for the youths carried out through the Youth Emp owerment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), what happen to the allegedly 3300 young people who risked their lives to travel by road to Nasarawa with the promise of getting trained in mechanised agricultural practice and then coming back to home to become AgriEntrepreneurs with the support of the government and the youths that were transported to Saki during the lunching of the OYSADA secretariat mid2021.
The Governor must urgently address these issues. He promised to put square pegs in square holes, by appointing professionals from related fields into appropriate Ministries. However, in this government, there is a statistics professor heading the Ministry of works and transport, a lawyer heading the Ministry of Education and a man with little understanding of basic farming handling the state agricultural development. A Governor with so much goodwill and potential may be brought down by his own appointees and allies who have gained so much from the government, but their greed is stopping them from investing in his re-election.
Dear Governor beware the ‘Ides of March’.