By Dare Glintstone
Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde or Governor Seyi Makinde [GSM] is the new face of integrity, at least in the last one decade of our nascent democracy. An unassuming personality that gave the immediate past governor of Oyo state, His Excellency “Constituted Authority” Abiola Ajimobi a crash course in leadership by example. Loved by many within and outside his state, the all-round Makinde is an epitome of humility. He listens with curiosity, speaks with honesty, acts with integrity. No wonder he polled 515, 621 votes defeating his closest rival, Mr Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 357,982 votes at the last election for governorship
His electioneering activities were strategically targeted at the masses, he promised his people to be a different breed with the heart to serve if given the opportunity to lead. An engineer and expert on Fluid and Gas Metering, he ventured into business and made a fortune legally with traceable tax records to the system. Few days after his declaration as the winner of the gubernatorial election in Oyo State, he presented a cheque of N25,000,000.00 to the University of Ibadan, UI, as his contribution towards the repair of structures damaged by rain. He later dissolved the board of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, assuring that the state government was prepared to offset the salary and allowances payable to all the board members having taken cognizance of the fact that their tenure had not expired.
Suddenly, naysayers started criticising him for stating the true situation of things in Oyo State and why he may not pay the new minimum wage. “When I came in, we were looking for ways to keep the government running because technically, the government of Oyo State is bankrupt. If I take it as a private entity, I won’t lend a dime to the government of Oyo State. I will ask them to start winding up proceedings. So, we have been looking for ways to keep the government running”, he said.
Next was his commitment to waive his immunity rights to appear before the anti-corruption agencies if he is found wanting in any way; He forwarded Oyo State Anti-Corruption Bill, 2019 to the State House of Assembly for legislative action, declaring that his decision to set up an anti-graft body is in fulfillment of his campaign promise.
A governor in Nigeria? I am still struggling to come to terms with this reality of such an elected chief security officer of a State. Nigerians were not done with the comparative study of this gentleman and his counterparts or even his predecessors, when he did yet another praiseworthy act, this time, he released his net-worth to the CBT and to the public, disclosing all that he possesses in assets and cash. He declared the details of the assets as contained in the CCB 1 with the name Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, at the high court of Oyo state, on May 28, with a net worth of over N48 billion. The assets declaration form, marked OYSE/2019/001, contained details of cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), household items, share and bonds owed by the governor, his wife, Omini Makinde as well as his companies.
This is unprecedented in the history of our democracy, in a country where bullion vans are escorted by highly armed men to an ex-governor’s residence and all he said was, “What is your issue with bullion vans in my house? I have not done any government business in the last five years. So I didn’t steal government money. I decide where to keep it (money) and how to keep it.”
Conclusively, it is apt to say that Governor Makinde has shown the way to go — in governance and leadership; and we hope his colleagues will follow suit. In his acceptance speech after he was declared governor-elect, he assured and I quote: “Well, there is no need crying over spilled milk and it is for us to move forward together, and for me to fulfill my campaign promises to you in the clear understanding that we will take realistic decisions together…I will not disappoint you.”
Dare Glintstone, a trend sociologist and communication strategist. Tweets via @djglintstone