By Kehinde Isiaka
Calling Governor Seyi Makinde (GSM) a pathfinder is not a misnomer. From all intents and purposes, he doesn’t line up behind a crowd, rather chooses to venture into where there is no path before and creating a fresh trail.
One of the oft quoted leadership ability is one credited to both Harold R Mc Alindon, a Peruvian- American Author and Ralph Waldo Emerson, another American born writer cum philosopher.
It says, “A great leader doesn’t follow where the path may lead, he goes instead, where there is no path and leaves a trail”.
Who first authored that beautiful quote is not as important to me as it’s relevance to this discourse.
Anybody who read with abounding interest as I did, the acceptance speech of GSM during his swearing in ceremony, will readily agree with me that his passion to place education on a deserved pedestal above other concerns of equal moments, is beyond arguments.
He made it abundantly clear that he would spare no effort to bring back to school the out -of -school children and make elementary education free and attractive.
He shares the vision of the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo that “having a population of people who can at least read and write is a huge boom.”
He is spot on. Without further emphasis, elementary education is a right as well as a MUST to advance a society.
In the year 1870 in UK, elementary education ACT also known as Forster’s ACT was passed. This birthed the social advancement in both England and Wales. America passed its own compulsory school law in 1852.
What oiled the smooth running of these laws was not only the instrument that threw them up but the readiness of the Authorities concerned to create enabling environment to make education desirable by all- making it Free, accessible and lustfully attractive.
Exactly, a similar trail that our own GSM is now blazing in Oyo state. It’s not any hyperbole that he is setting his priorities right!
Those who believe in his vision and unsparing devotion to easy life for all, before buying into his leadership, which they accentuated with their overwhelming votes during the last election, may not be wrong afterwards.
Why was it impossible for the immediate past administration to smother rather than smoothing the path for the actualisation of Free elementary Education in Oyo state is the question people have continued to ask themselves in different quarters since yesterday.
It was a rhetorical question to which they probably never sought an answer but raised to posit positive view and open administration of the present administration comparatively, as truly “people’s friendly”.
The only perspective I can easily adduce to this poser lies in the way each government sets it’s priorities and the position they place education. It also bothers on leadership sacrifice or what psychologists refer to as” a leap out of a leader’s comfort zone’.
In an austere moment like this , for a government to volunteer to lighten the yoke of the less advantaged parents by offering their children and wards a free ticket to a successful future is by no means a mean achievement. It’s a rare sacrifice.
Unarguably, so many things are clamouring for urgent attention to be put straight by the present administration as parts of the inherited liabilities from past administrations.
It therefore leaves no one in doubt that the way GSM is putting smiles on the sunken faces of parents whose dashed – hopes to put their children and wards back to classroom are gradually being restored, it is sure as a daylight coming after a stygian darkness, that Oyo State is now blessed with a Governor who can sacrifice anything to advance common good.
A leader who can “fix toilets”, to borrow the words of Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the seminal book ” Rich Dad , Poor Dad,” that’s the People’s Governor!