Thursday, May 23, 2019
Pikesville, Maryland, USA

t is clear that nothing in life is static. Change is the only thing that is constant in all dynamic societies. Oyo State, having assumed the reputation of a pacesetter among the other States of Nigeria cannot afford to dance backwards. It must strive to surge forward as backward movement can never result in progress and development. It is expected that with the new gear change in governance the new PDP government headed by Governor-elect Seyi Makinde (GSM) will need to step in and press on the throttle of progress and accelerate the pace of progress and development. Today in Nigeria there seems to be some kind of subtle competition among states with the newer and younger Governors struggling to move their States forward by outdoing their predecessors in offices. It is thus certain that the younger digital generation is consciously trying to take over from the analogue generation of elders. What a welcome development!

I cannot but recall my last article on Nigeria titled "What is Wrong with Nigeria?" wherein I brought to focus a glossary of unnecessary pursuit of mundane issues which our nation has had to grapple with at the expense of the real issues which could benefit the nation. Nigeria, which is currently faced with the serious problems of insecurity, deplorable economy, corruption, declining educational standards, poor health and much more, yet has the time to pursue a Nigerians nationality. What a waste of energy and time? We have just demonstrated to the rest of the world that our nation is lacking in focus. I pray that this will not be the lot of the new GSM administration in Oyo State. In the words of my alma mater (Fiditi Grammar School) adspice virtutem, Oyo State shall be Forward Ever and backward never, by His grace and mercy. Focus, should be the name of the game rather than chasing the wind and running after trivialities in governance.

As at the time of writing this article, only two Oyo State politicians have been duly employed. All other politicians for the next dispensation of GSM are still 'begging to apply'. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave the employment letters to GSM and his deputy as their letter of Election triumph was handed to them. The implication of this fact is that every other political posts and positions in Oyo State is still vacant and up for grabs as the struggle by prospective office holders continues to intensify until final pronouncements are made, filling the available positions. Again, in line with my previous writeups on GSM, he has to fit square pegs in square holes for the good of Oyo State, rather than responding merely to political expediencies. GSM must not just respond to the complex political expediencies at the expense of compromising the pacesetter legacy he is inheriting from his predecessors. Nigeria and indeed Oyo State is blessed with abundant human resources from all parts of the State to be able to select the best among others to help him to keep and sustain the pacesetter momentum.

Governance should no longer be in accordance with the Chop I Chop Nigerian tradition, if he (GSM) wants to move Oyo State forward. The realities of proper governance is here now and the period of political rhetoric is over. The question which the Oyo State people are now asking is 'what innovations and legacy will GSM leave behind for Oyo State?" One hopes and prays that as an Engineer surrounded by Engineers both in and out of his bedroom - as wife, Deputy, Advisers and Contractors, the best is yet to come for Oyo State Engineering-wise. This being so, he cannot afford to be bogged down with the trivialities of governance at the expense of leaving a good account of himself for legacy and for posterity. Four- years is not such a long time and a possible eight years will be heavily dependent on his first four-years performance. People who want to work for him and his administration should be prepared for hard work and for excellence in performance for the betterment of Oyo State.

The attitude of our politicians needs to change, the attitude of citizens must change, our market men and market women, Okada riders, Micra Drivers and Marwa Drivers, and people in other sectors must change their attitudes for good, if we must move Oyo State forward. The clue to me, is to make laws and enforce them for proper sanitization of the State. At the moment, there is a lot of lawlessness (indiscipline) in all the sectors of the State. Lawlessness and good governance do not go together in the pursuit of progress and development. There is a lot of work ahead of GSM. The State of Oyo needs to be transformed and be 'Born Again'. The need for attitudinal change cannot be overemphasized in all sectors of the economy and at all levels. Children in schools, skilled and unskilled workers, civil servants at all levels, politicians, artisans, homes and the civil society all need some serious reorientation to transform Oyo State from what it is to what is good and desirable. Our environments must be kept clean and hygienic. Our cities must be clean while decency and orderliness must be our watch words.

In our readiness to keep and retain the status of truly setting the pace for others to follow, Oyo State and its people need to obey some basic rules of good living and good governance. The people of Oyo State must cultivate the attitudinal change earlier stated which will result in being disciplined in our homes, in workplaces and in the public and social settings. We need to delete from our systems all forms of laziness, corruption and indiscipline. Perhaps this is the time to bring to our attention once again, the erstwhile War Against Indiscipline (WAI) campaign as we strive to move our state forward. Oyo State may need to revisit the different phases of that war against indiscipline as our template for sanitizing our State. Oyo State can be the cynosure of all eyes as a progressive pacesetter State in Nigeria. We need to push our reset buttons and wear a new look, if we want our state to continue setting the pace. We must delete all the anti-progressive attitudes from our system for proper development and growth. The leadership must pave the way and lead by examples for the followership to follow. This should be the way out for us in Oyo State, the acclaimed pacesetter in Nigeria.

For the whole of Nigeria, Oyo State had always been the first among 'others' rather than saying among 'equals'! A cursory look at the History of developments in Nigeria and indeed Africa, will convince the sceptics that Oyo State had always been reputed for her innovative accomplishments. The first Television Station, Sky Scrapper (Cocoa House), Modern Stadium (Liberty Stadium), etc. were first of their types, not only in Nigeria but in AFRICA as a whole. All these represent the indelible attributes of our Pacesetter Oyo State. Anyone who is in doubt should please check out these facts from the History books. All of these facts underscore the importance of and the need for any new Governor in Oyo State to take a hard look at the handiworks of the 'Pacesetter personified' in the person of the late sage, Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo, of blessed memory. May his soul continue to rest in perfect peace. All eyes are on the youngest Governor ever in Oyo State, His Excellency GSM. May his reign bring peace and progress to Oyo State, Amen.