By Henry Odeh
The Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde has stated that his government is starting year 2021 in high spirit and assured that he will commission most capital projects embarked on in year 2020 including 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road this year.
The governor also commended the state workforce for their performance and efforts towards a successful year 2020 and urged them to renew their commitments in the current year with a view to achieving better results.
Governor Makinde made this known while delivering his speech at the 2021 interfaith prayer held at the state Secretariat, Ibadan on Wednesday 13th January.
He said, “First, let me thank God for the gift of life and His protection over us all in the past year.
“2020 has been described in many quarters as a tough year. We did not survive last year because we are tougher, we survived only by His Grace. And that is why it is good that we are holding this inter-faith service in gratitude.
“Gratitude is something that a lot of us take for granted. Somehow, a lot of us feel that we can only express gratitude when everything is fine.
“But we know that as far as this world is concerned, everything cannot be great all the time. So, we must be grateful for what we have. In showing gratitude, we will receive even more.
We are starting this year in good spirits. We are confident that this year, the seeds we planted in the previous year will yield good fruits. We are looking forward to commissioning various projects that we started last year. For example, the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road, will be commissioned this year.
“Also lined up for commissioning are
The 21km Airport- Ajia-New Ife Express road with a spur to Amuloko;
The 12km Apete-Awotan-Akufo road;
The 3km Under G Stadium-LAUTECH-2nd Gate road;
The 5km Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Asipa road;
The 12.5km dualisation of Challenge-Odo Ona Elewe-Apata road and
The 10km Saki Township road dualisation amongst others.
“Asides these, we will also be commissioning the remodelled Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan, the four bus terminals at Iwo Road, New Ife Road, Challenge and Ojoo in Ibadan as well as the bike and bus terminal at Agodi Gate, Ibadan.
The Akesan Market razed down by an inferno in January 2020 will also be commissioned this year.
“We heard some people wondering last year if we will continue paying salaries promptly given the hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic meltdown. Well, by the grace of God, we are not owing any salaries.
“We even surprised them more by paying 13th month salaries for the second time running at a time when other states are owing their workers. In fact, we have spent about N9.3 billion to pay pensions and gratuities owed by the previous administration so far and we will continue to pay to clear up the backlog.
Also, as you may be aware, there is a backlog of outstanding promotions from 2016.
“This will be addressed this year. Furthermore, deserving civil servants will have the opportunity to get up to grade level 17 under our watch. Let me reassure you that we will continue to prioritise the welfare of the civil servants in Oyo State.
“Yes, we are expecting that 2021 will come with its own challenges. Two things that are making the headlines right now all over the country and indeed Oyo State is the COVID-19 pandemic which started last year and cases of insecurity.
“I want to assure you that our administration is on top of the matter. Shortly after this, I will be holding a press conference to address some of these issues. I will be sharing some of the steps we are taking to make things better in 2021.
“Once again, let me thank you all for the support you are giving our administration despite all odds. The general consensus is that we have started well. I have heard people say, we hope he continues like this. Well, let me remind you that when our administration took over just about one year and six months ago, our promise was to serve.
“We remain unwavering in that resolve. We shall continue to serve the people of Oyo State and put their interests first.
For those of us in government, let us not forget this pledge that we made to the people of Oyo State.
“I give the same advice as I did during the inter-faith service to usher in 2020. As you begin this year, 2021 ask yourself: in what way will I be a better person at my job this year? This honest self-examination and appraisal and acting on this appraisal are what will make 2021 better than 2020.”