Opinion: Seyi Makinde and the Yoruba Nation, by Kola Amzat

Since the creation of Oyo State in 1976, the federating unit has never lacked result-oriented, purposeful, resourceful leaders with discerning minds at the helm of her affairs.

The Military Administrators who super-intended on the affairs of the state between 1976 and 1979 before democratic governance berthed, individually distinguished themselves in the office.

Particularly, reference is hereby made of the regime of Brigadier David Jemibewon who recorded landmark achievements in all facets, and even, Colonel Oladayo Popoola whose administration also stood out amongst the then state military leaders across the country, for his impactful contributions in the state.

1979-1983 witnessed the tenure of one of the charismatic political leaders this nation has ever produced. The illustrious Chief Bola Ige fondly called Cisero of Esa Oke was an embodiment of what a contemporary leader should be. He was witty, self-confident, decisive, and courageous, with amazing oratory power. Oh, Bola Ige era was very eventful.

There were other governors like Omololu Olunloyo and Kolapo Ishola who also had their days at Agodi governor’s office before Lam Adesina surfaced. But, the very accomplished Journalist berthed in Agodi governor’s office with zeal and integrity. His, was a government that thrived on probity and accountability.

Governors Rasheed Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala tenures, even though plagued by daunting political challenges and exigencies were also not disappointing, as they also played their respective parts in the growth and developments of the state.

The pacesetter state however welcomed the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi who reigned between 2011 -2019. His era was events-dominated, purposeful and with no dull moments. The ebullient deceased governor registered his foot-sprints at the sands of political spheres both at the state and federal levels.

Then, entered the hitherto anonymous Governor Seyi Makinde in 2019 with absolutely no political pedigree to flaunt. But, the incumbent governor has eloquently proved that having no political dynasty to back one up during elections does not really matter, as one can creates and establishes his own like ex-presidents Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton, both of U.S.A, as well as Emmanuel Macron of France have done.   

Makinde berthed into Agodi governor’s office with no political antecedents and without any key god father, but his incredible and mind blowing performance in all sectors so far, has eloquently proved that one can make success of the exalted office without these key elements. 

With uncommon confidence, zeal, purposefulness and ‘I can do spirit’, he has positively impacted on the state infrastructures, education, security architecture, economy, agricultures, traditional institution and even, other socio-cultural related spheres.

The governor has constructed modern road networks that linked all the zones in the state together. He has provided street lights in all the major roads and locations within Ibadan metropolis, and plan is afoot to replicate this initiative in Ogbomoso, Oyo, Ibarapa and other major communities in Oke –Ogun areas of the state.

His rapt attention to educational developments has been top-notch. It’s instructive to note that there have been remarkable improvement in the performance of students of the state in WAEC, NECO and JAMB since the governor assumption of office.

We only implore the governor to give serious consideration for scholarship for some distinguished students in the Tertiary Institutions, and even, giving serious thought to sponsor them to notable Universities in the foreign lands.     

It’s particularly gladdening the strategy and tactics he has deployed in handling the very knotty affairs of traditional institutions in the state, with particular reference to Obaship tussle in the ancient city of Ibadan. From the way he handled the challenges of traditional institution that confronted his regime in Oyo, Ibadan, Ogbomoso and other areas, the governor has proved that he’s fully in charge.

Of course, the state economy has taken a rebound within the last couple of years, even against all challenges in the Nigeria economy. He seems to have devised ingenious strategy of steadying the economy of the state, with all the economic indices pointing to right direction.  

Of remarkable note here is the appreciable continuous increase in the state’s IGR without too much burden on the tax payers. The state government ingeniously widen the tax net, as against overburden the existing tax payers which is the practice in most states.

The road networks linking all the nooks & crannies of the state has made it very convenient and seamless for agricultural produce to be moved to commercial locations within the states and even, other neighboring states, thereby providing comfort for farmers across the state to reap the fruits of their labour.

But, the crux of this write-up is the governor’s fully integration into hierarchy of Yoruba leadership, despite the fact that he’s of conservative stock.    

Seyi Makinde as a PDP governor and in the midst of progressive governors in the South West geo-political zone is always prepared to go any length to advance the Yoruba cause. He demonstrated this when himself and G5 governors ably spearheaded by Governor Wike Nyesom lend their maximum support for Asiwaju Tinubu presidential aspiration. The governors’ fantastic initiatives largely culminated into eventual Tinubu’s triumph in the titanic battle particularly in Oyo, Benue and Rivers state.

Nigerians vividly recall the patriotic declaration of Governor Seyi Makinde during a meeting initiated by Afenifere Leaders and Yoruba leadership hierarchy in Akure purposely to declare their supports for Tinubu aspiration, where the governor unrepentantly declared that it’s the direction that Yorubas go that he would go with the people of Oyo state. This pronouncement was historic and symbolic! It’s instructive to note that he eventually walked the talk. 

The governor also got fully invoved in the creation of Amotekun security outfit alongside his APC governor colleagues in the South West zone, an initiative put in place to dislodge and comprehensively combat criminality in the zone. It’s remarkable to note that the governor has been in the forefront of the tremendous success recorded so far in the region by the security outfit.

The relative success recorded by Oodua group is also traceable to the impressive contributions and leadership supports rendered by the governor with the collaboration of his South West colleagues.

At this juncture, the pertinent question remains; what’s the essence of political leadership? Providing purposeful and necessary direction for the governed, as well as charting a course of prosperity, growth & development for the citizenry and the state being administered.

Resourceful leadership also involves a governor deliberately integrating into the mainstream of governance at the center, as well as connecting his state with other states across the land for economic advantages, irrespective of the political leanings and affiliations. The governor has effortlessly and seamlessly achieved this.

This governor fraternizes easily with his easily with his South West counterparts, and other governors around the country as if they share the same political ideology.

And, with Asiwaju Tinubu assuming power & authority at the federal level from May 29, 2023, it can only get better as the people of the pacesetter state could be assured that there would be more stronger ties and strategic partnership between the state and the federal level on one side, and with other states on the other side; a development that would benefit the state economically, politically and socio-culturally. This is the essence of contemporary leadership.                                      

The governor is a leader with big picture, shrewd, tactful, calculative, and resourceful. He moves when there is need to move. It’s been severally noted that he always remain calm even, in the face of mounting challenges. These are the uncommon attributes he has been deploying to steady the ship of the state, as well as charting a new course for her.

More importantly, he has always been a vanguard and defender of Yoruba cause.

After Asiwaju Tinubu might have completed his 8 years on the saddle, there is no doubt that the president-elect shoes might be too big for any Yoruba man to step into. But, it’s important for the Yoruba leadership hierarchy to be futuristic and strategic in start identifying for grooming purposes, capable hands that could fill the void.

The likes of Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the incumbent Minister of Works and Housing and ex-Lagos State Governor, as well as Engr Seyi Makinde are two illustrious Yoruba leaders who have shown capacity and capability of providing purposeful political leadership for the new generation of Yorubas.

Both are selfless, very discerning and purpose-driven, with clear visions and imbued with set skills to always chart new direction and progressive paths. The duo are also tested and trusted.

It’s however important to note that, characters to provide leadership for any generation are always difficult to come by but, Yoruba leadership hierarchy must start by looking at the direction of the aforementioned two men of ideas and purpose to lead the race after curtains might have been drawn on Tinubu’s glorious, impressive, remarkable, action-packed and result oriented decades of leadership.




Kola AMZAT (FCA, FCIB,  CTP, MBA)                                                                                                                  Lagos Based Financial Consultant


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