On May 29, 2023, Nigeria witnessed yet another dawn; a new dawn heralding new administrations across about 28 states and the Federal Government. New and returning governors were sworn-in at the states while Asiwaju Bola Tinubu took over the helms of affairs at the federal level.
Typical of the May 29 inauguration day in Nigeria, the new administrators made far-reaching declarations and gave words expected to rekindle hope and engender belief in themselves and their states. This was also the case in Oyo State, where Governor ‘Seyi Makinde took the oath of office for a fresh term of four years, having served his people passionately between 2019 and 2023.
Not unexpectedly, the governor, dubbed the Engineer of Modern Oyo State as a result of his impactful and visionary physical projects and human development programmes in the last four years, also had words of reassurance for his people on his vision for a greater Oyo State under Omituntun 2.0.
Renowned for his frankness and candour, Governor Makinde had, at the same historic Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, where he made a commitment to bring about an accelerated development of Oyo State on May 29, 2019, reassured residents of the state of his readiness to continue to develop the state in a sustainable way.
In his speech heralding Omituntun 2.0, which is all about sustainable development, Governor Makinde made it clear that he would focus on completing projects started in his first administration, while also putting in place projects and policies that will make life more meaningful for residents of the state and also further expand its economy.
But as the saying goes that action speaks louder than words, the governor had the golden opportunity to prove the reassurances he so boldly proclaimed during his swearing-in, when he declared the dissolution of the Park Management System (PMS), a novel initiative he introduced years earlier to address the violence, brigandange and power tussle which had become the albatross of the transport system in Oyo State over the decades.
Shortly after taking the second term oath in which he made a fresh commitment to secure the lives and properties of Oyo State residents as he done in the last four years, the governor matched his words with action by pulling the rug off the feet of a PMS leadership that had become the opposite of the good intention his administration had when he set it up.
No sooner had the governor, through his Chief of Staff, Otunba Segun Ogunwuyi, announced the dissolution of the PMS than residents began to panic, knowing the penchant of some elements in the transport sector for violence. But the governor had immediately also proven himself as a worthy sheriff who would brook no nonsense under Omituntun 2.0 by directing the security agencies to do the needful in securing the state and also curbing whatever shenanigans the dissolved PMS leadership could throw up.
Barely four days after that dissolution, Governor Makinde brought about another novel initiative in the transport sector by uniting transport unions that hitherto didn’t see eyeball to eyeball. Like the scriptural quotation in Isaiah 65:25 that the wolf and the lamb will feed together, Governor Makinde, like a magician, has successfully fused all interests in the transport sector in the state into the new PMS. Under the reformed Park Management System, major players in the transport unions have come together and made resolutions to work together in harmony. This is an initiative that one is sure will soon be copied by other states, like Lagos State did with the PMS idea initiated by Governor Makinde.
Today, under the leadership of its new chairman, Alhaji Oluwatomiwa Omolewa alias Tommy, the Oyo State PMS has not only become reformed, the governor has successfully addressed a major source of concern for residents of the state, who have over the years, seen the transport unions as monstrous but indispensable part of the society. In line with GSM’s avowed commitment to peace and security, the new PMS leadership has also signed into a violence-free system in which the state and all actors in the transport sector will be gainers.
If the governor’s maverick handling of the Park Management System and the effective containment of the situation that could have followed the dissolution of the old PMS leadership are to go by, then the days and months to come will be action-packed, eventful for the state, and they will bring far greater results than the last four years of the governor. Indeed, the governor has made this abundantly clear.
From the Liberty Stadium to the Thanksgiving Service at the St Peter’s Cathedral, Aremo, Ibadan, the governor’s message was apt and resounding; some things would have to be done differently in order to get different and better results. The governor has declared a war on thuggery, violence, indiscriminate dumping of refuse, street-trading and if this war will bring about the Oyo State of everyone’s dream, this sheriff will stop at nothing to fight it to the finish.
Alao writes from Igboho, Oorelope Local Government, Oyo State.