Name of Candidate: Emmanuel Isola
Name of Party: Action Demonstration Party (ADP)
Formed on the 3rd of February 1976, Oyo state has a vast 28,454 sq.km fertile landmass1 and a myriad of God-given agricultural resources like cassava as well as mineral resources like iron ore, gemstones, marble, gold and granite. However, Oyo state which used to be Nigeria’s pacesetter state has failed to set the pace. Agricultural output presently varies widely as the vagaries of the weather. Oyo state has a youth unemployment rate of 8.9%, a poverty rate of 24.9% and a paltry 7.5 percentage of electricity supply, justifying her ranking as the 35th in the ease of doing business in the country. The above are loudspeakers broadcasting the failing and falling standards of development in our dear state.
Previously, manifestos used to be nothing other than platitudes and placations to place the people in the palace of palatial disillusionment. However, my manifesto below identifies real nodal points for Oyo State’s prosperity.
At present, the average age of the farmers in Oke-Ogun – which constitutes 60% of arable lands in our state- is 60 years. We will make agriculture (which accounts for 70% of total employment) appealing and not appalling for Oyo state youths (who constitute about 79.8% of our population). We will increase allocation to agriculture (which was less than 3% of the 271.7 billion naira 2018 budget) to at least 20% in our first year while ensuring the provision of training, tools and low interest credit intervention to young farmers. It is disheartening that even though Nigeria is the producer of 65% of tomatoes in West Africa; she still imports 500 million dollars‟ worth of tomato paste annually. More preposterous is the fact that Nigeria still imports toothpicks.
Accordingly, my administration will not just focus on the cultivation of agricultural products but also processing. This will significantly improve the Internally Generated Revenue of our dear state which presently stands at 1.8 billion naira. Ghana has a ready template in this regard; she exported about one million metric tonnes of cassava chips (rather than cassava flour which Nigeria produces) to China between 2013 and 2018.
Our administration is set out to sift illiteracy with the sieve of enlightenment. It is a huge cause for concern that Oyo state was ranked a distant 26th among the 36 states in the 2018 WASSCE.12 We fully recognize that education is one of the legs upon which the table of development rests and that the 21st century has shifted from brawn to brain power. Consequently, the train of education must be boarded by out-of-school youths and must run on the tracks of basic literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.
Again, my administration will reduce the 1:45 teacher pupil ratio to a minimum of 1:30. Furthermore, we will ensure the refurbishment of dilapidated school buildings, prompt payment of salaries, effective school feeding programme, provision of laboratories, ICT facilities, provision of scholarships to brilliant but indigent students and books to fan the flames of reading in youths.
Lastly, budgetary allocation which stood at 1% in 201814 will be increased to 20% in line with UNESCO’s recommendation. This will ensure that the worth of our state is measured in gold and not in garbage.
Health remains the crucial pillar for wealth. Despite the fifty billion health endowment fund launched on the 3rd of August, 2017, Oyo state contributes more than a third of babies dying in Nigeria before one year of age and ranks third after Kano and Jigawa states in terms of neo-natal deaths. If our health care system remains faulty it ceases to be a matter of who is right but of who is left. Our administration will therefore focus like a laser beam on revamping our 721 primary health centres, which have become mere shops or at best, counseling centres and the 57 general and specialist hospitals across the 351 wards in our state. We shall provide adequate personnel, equipment, materials, amenities and drugs to aid diagnosis and treatment. We shall increase the functionality of the Ward Development Committees (which ensure community participation in health care) as well as the Facility Development Committees of our primary health care centres. This will ensure that they perform at their optimal levels.
In tandem with the 2001 Abuja Declaration, our administration will immediately increase state spending on health care to 15% as opposed to the 5.18% presented by Governor Seyi Makinde in the 2020 budget. We will ensure that the welfare of the people guaranteed under Section 14 (2).
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND EMPLOYMENT
It is alarming that in Sub- Saharan Africa, 3 in 5 of the total unemployed are youths. Youth empowerment is the ark upon which the ship of my government will sail in order to reach the harbour of poverty eradication. The present youth empowerment programmes in the state focus only on skill acquisition. My administration will bring in the much needed facilities, funding, training in business management, strategic marketing, behavioural skills and mentoring. Importantly, we shall eliminate the red tape which impedes the establishment of businesses thus reversing Oyo‟s image as the 35th business friendly environment in Nigeria. This will greatly facilitate job generation for who some have called, a jobless generation.
At present, Oyo state’s infrastructure is crying out to be rebuilt, modernized and expanded. Our administration will embark on the grading of roads in the 9 farm settlements in the state, to wit, Ido, Ilora, Ijaiye, Ogbomoso, Iresadu, Eruwa, Ipapo, Lalupon and Akufo. With properly constructed roads, farmers can move their produce to the markets where they can be exchanged for better prices. The nine farm settlements will be upgraded into farm estates with electricity supply and recreational facilities provided. We shall finalize our railway project and introduce fast trains which have remained a pipe dream for donkey years. With travel time between Lagos and Ibadan halved, a good number of people working in neighbouring states like Lagos could relocate to Ibadan thus positioning of our state as a new choice investment destination.
In conclusion, the present challenges may seem lasting but they are not everlasting. The 25 year old R.G. Bannister ran the four minute mile which hitherto seemed impossible during the Helsinki Olympics at the Oxford University‟s Iffley Road Track on May 6, 1954; and it was thereafter replicated by 200 athletes in two years. In the same vein, when Oyo State sets the pace, other states will follow suit.
In line with the immortal admonition of Jean Jacques Rousseau, our party’s manifesto is a social contract between our government and the people which we will keep. We will develop Oyo state into a physically functional, economically vibrant, socially harmonious and aesthetically delightful preferred destination for all.