Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state has taken responsibilities for what he termed ‘failures of government’ under his watch in relations to the spate of fire incidents in different parts of the state.
This is as the Governor reiterated his vows to protecting lives and property of the people living in the state.
Makinde gave the assurance on Wednesday while speaking Tg the 2020 annual inter religious service for the state worker at the Agodi Government Secretariat, Ibadan.
Makinde, also at the event which was well attended by top government functionaries, and workers, assured the state workforce that the committee set up to look at the implementation of the new National minimum wage will reach an agreement that is achievable and sustainable while also making both the workers and the government happy.
He said “As we gather here this morning for this inter-religious service to usher in a new working year, it is the best time for each one of us to reflect on our accomplishments last year and then plan how to become better versions of ourselves this year.
“Our elders say that as we travel through the forest, we must always shake the trees so that people who are watching can quickly tell the distance we have travelled.
“This administration has been here for less than a year, but the expectations that the people have of us is enormous. But, we can be thankful that we have been enjoying tremendous goodwill from the people. We must never take their loyalty for granted.
“We must remain at the top of our game. And put in our best for the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
“I must, at this point, stop to express my deep sadness over the recent loss of lives and property because of various fires in Oyo State. One of the more recent, the Akesan market inferno, is deeply regretted. Things happened that signalled a failure in our systems. I promised to protect the life and property of everyone living within the borders of Oyo State, I take responsibility for this failing. I will make things right.
“Already, we have started the bidding process for ten new fire trucks. I have also called for investigations into the immediate and remote causes of these fires. We are also rebuilding the market and we will begin a process of providing support to the market people that lost their wares.
“But we also know that something more important than fighting fires is making sure that the fire does not start at all. So, I urge us all, to be a little more safety conscious, especially given the weather conditions that we are experiencing.
“In a way, we all also want to prevent personal fires in our lives this year and the best way to do that is by setting SMART goals.
“Our goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.
We should plan now so that when we meet for the next Inter-religious Service, God sparing our lives, we will be able to look back, as we are looking back at 2019 now and have cause to be thankful.
“So, what are we thankful for in 2019?
“We are thankful for the progress in our education system. We have increased funding to the sector and were able to get some children off the streets. We still have a lot more to do in this sector and I believe 2020 will be a good year for education in Oyo State.
“We are thankful for improvements in healthcare. We have renovated and equipped some hospitals, and continued with the health insurance scheme. It is my belief that civil servants and others will take advantage of this scheme so that they do not have to pay out of pocket for healthcare.
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“We are thankful that the streets of Ibadan were lit up. We will extend the Light Up project to all major cities in our state this year. We are also taking steps to ensure the safety of lives and properties for all living within the borders of Oyo State.
“We are thankful for the expanding economy of Oyo State. It is our belief that we can use investments in agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and infrastructure to keep growing the economy. We will focus on addressing the challenges that SMEs in Oyo State face, especially multiple taxation.
“It is a new year. Some people say it gives us a chance to start again, I say it gives us a chance to continue growing. This is because even if we failed in any way in the previous year, we have another chance to try again. And try we must.
“I wish you a great working year and trust that we will all join hands putting aside religion, political affiliation and tribal sentiments to keep making Oyo State greater.”
Speaking earlier, the state Head of Service, Mrs Ololade Agboola assured the workers that the letter of the reinstated workers would be released soon.
Appealing to the workforce to be diligent, committed and dutiful, the HoS said the gestures would be in reciprocal of the various kind gestures of the Governor to the workforce.
She also told the workers that the Governor has approved training and retraining of staff to encourage better service delivery.