Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, was on the state’s broadcasting corporation recently, where he fielded questions from panelists and residents of the state on the activities of his government in its first 100 days. Below are excerpts from the interview session as monitored by Wole Sam-Whyte.
Let me repeat what I said during the electioneering campaign. It is true that I said the youth is central to our government. Oyo State has a comparative advantage over and above its counterparts when it comes to the landmass that God gave to us. We are blessed with many things, including solid minerals. People have been thinking that we should have achieved many things within a short period of time. For someone like me who studied Engineering, I know there are processes towards achieving certain things. In the Engineering field, at times, we complete the process of building a structure on the paper before the actual process begins. Truth is, it might take time to lay foundation that can bring about employment for the teeming youths in the state, though we have started. We recently launched FarmCrowdy farming initiative with a private company and about 50,000 farmers will benefit from this programme.
One last thing I want to say is, if we fail to do the right thing for the youth, it means that this government has failed already. So, I want this to be in the minds of our youths. They must know that they are our main focus.
In the last WASSCE result, Oyo State was in 26th position out of the 36 states of the federation. Also, we have some students in JSS3 and SSS3 who cannot read. What do you want to do differently from what had been done in the past to improve the education sector in the state?
On my way to this studio, I came with a book without even knowing a question like this would come up. I came to show it to the people of Oyo State. The book is a compendium of past questions and answers for students preparing for WAEC and NECO, starting from 2012 through 2018. When I was in secondary school here at Bishop Philip Academy, Ibadan, not [International School, Ibadan] ISI, but a public school, we looked for those who had sat for WAEC around the neighbourhood and requested for their past questions to study. We used that to prepare ourselves ahead of the examination. But we published this book with the aim of giving them to our students preparing for exams for free. We didn’t have a book like this in Oyo State before now and it is the initiative of this government. The books will be distributed freely to those in private schools too.
Similarly, we have put in place free tutorial classes for students that would write the WASSCE exam and we are making it mandatory for them. We are doing this because we know that the evaluation process cuts across students in both private and public schools. The teachers too will be given these books for free to teach the students, particularly Mathematics and English.
We will employ teachers and deploy them to schools entirely different from where they teach such that the students will have different teachers taking them from time to time.
The idea is, from Mondays to Thursdays, teachers will teach from 2.00p.m. to 4.00p.m. and on Saturdays, students will receive lecture from 9 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. With this, we believe that the result of our students who will write the next May/June exam will be better than what we have had in the past.
Therefore, I encourage parents to cooperate with the government to make this happen. They should make time for their children to participate in this exercise and not give them things to hawk when they are supposed to be receiving lectures. If these children become great in life, they can afford to give to their parents whatever they need. So, parents should allow their children go for these extra-mural lessons that the government is organising for them for free.
There are many projects scattered around the state, which are either uncompleted or abandoned by previous administrations, what should the people of the state look forward to in this administration?
I actually passed along Iwere-Ile Road and noticed that close to the election time, the past administration laid asphalt to a particular point and stopped. I am very sure that where the asphalt covered is not up to one kilometre before the election ended. There are many projects that have been abandoned since 2010 but I have promised the people that good governance supersedes the gimmicks of politics. Because of this, I told the contractors who were paid by the immediate past government but abandoned the projects that they should go back to the site and do the work they collected money to execute. If they do well, we will allow them to finish the work irrespective of the party that gave the project out. As long as it is Oyo State’s money, they can go ahead. This administration always wants to see value for any money spent on whatever project.
When I went to inspect the silo project in Awe, I understood that the state government had paid over N1billion for the project but zero value is what is on the ground for the state. The contractor handling the project said the case was in court because he had not been paid completely but I asked him to withdraw the case from court so that we could sit down one-on-one to discuss and settle the matter once and for all. During our discussion, he said if he could get another N350 million, the job would be completed and I immediately approved the money to be given to the contractor. I learnt that he has gone back to site and he has been given an ultimatum of four months to complete the project.