Makinde swimming against storm in second term bid

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BY AKINWALE ABOLUWADE

Uba Group

With elections less than two months away, feelers have shown that despite his prospects of winning at the poll, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, might be undermining his hope for victory by creating self-defeat for himself. Analysts observe, for instance, that the sitting governor is unduly creating enmity for himself especially within the Peoples Democratic Party’s fold both in and outside the state.

The incumbent governor is set to slug it out with about 15 other candidates, including Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress, Popoola Joshua, New Nigeria Peoples Party; Ajekigbe Olaniyi, Action Alliance; Agbomeji Olamide of Young Progressive Party; Bayo Adelabu of Accord and Agboyega Raymond of National Rescue Movement.

Also running are Ajadi Ganiyu, Democratic Congress; Sadiq Adigun of the Labour Party, Okunade Adeyemi of Boot Party, Okedara Mojeed of African Action Congress, Yakubu Adekunle of Social Democratic Party, Adeniran Oluwaseye of Allied Peoples Movement, Adeshina Excel of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Yusuf Adebola of Action Democratic Party, and Yinusa Ayandoye, Action Peoples Party.

Despite the advantages of the power of incumbency, in the opinion of those who know, the road to Agodi Government House remains bumpy for Makinde due to several factors among which is the popularity of, at least, two main contenders – the APC’s Folarin and the Accord’s Adelabu – in the scramble for the exalted seat.

Besides that, many people are of the opinion that while Governor Makinde has performed fairly well, there are some odds against him that should be addressed in order to guarantee a smooth sail for him at the poll on March 11.

The governor, they noted, had turned his back on so many of his political allies who worked tenaciously for his victory four years ago and that, for them, is a serious danger standing against his prospect. And, unless he addresses the logjam, his political future may become bleak with the hope of his victory becoming far-fetched.

The watchers argued that the governor being on warpath with some political stalwarts of the PDP within the state over his stand on Atiku Abubakar candidacy may take a negative toll on his re-election bid. In light of this, some of Makinde’s critics have likened him to a proverbial snake that got killed by the power of its own venom.

Going on the path of war with prominent PDP chieftains in the state such as Mulikat Adeola Akande, who is currently vying for a National Assembly seat, Ajibola Muraina and Adebisi Olopoeyan among many others, who were key to his electoral victory in 2019, is being seen as a deadly stroke capable of undermining his prospect. Though Makinde had also cleverly attracted some influences around him to absorb the deficit that might have been incurred – the defection of Joseph Tegbe, formerly of the All Progressive Congress, and a host of other members of opposition political parties into the PDP may have redeemed the loss.

Like other estranged allies of Makinde, Mulikat Akande, a prominent politician with overt grassroots influence, felt betrayed by the governor. It would be recalled that the woman raised the alarm at some point that some people loyal to the governor were after her life. The woman politician was once quoted as saying that she stepped on so many toes in 2019 to support Makinde only for him to dump her like a piece of rag thereafter.

On the Political Circuit anchored by Mayor Isaac Brown on Fresh 105 FM some time ago, Akande said, “If I am given another opportunity, I would do things differently. I feel used and dumped. I met our leader, His Excellency Rasheed Ladoja, once after the 2019 elections and I knew what he told me. Baba is not happy with me. There are many others in Baba’s shoes. I was blinded by my love for PDP. It was nothing personal.”

Indeed, Makinde is being perceived as being unkind to himself by spoiling for war in the PDP as being done by other members of the G-5 who are actually not vying for re-election. Undermining his (Makinde’s) avowed stand against Atiku, however, strong personalities in the PDP family within the state such as Jumoke Akinjide, a former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory; Elder Wole Oyelese, former Minister of Mines and Steel Development; Hazeem Gbolarumi, former deputy governor, are working assiduously to position their presidential standard-bearer for victory at the poll.

The backlash effect of Makinde’s action alongside other members of G-5, was the salvo of criticisms fired at the PDP rally held at Mapo, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital recently, where some aggrieved party members registered their misgivings against the governors’ unending attacks on Atiku. Had the matter not been cleverly managed at the scene, analysts said that the PDP fold would have lost its face and harmony.

“There is no way Makinde would survive the electoral defeat in the hand of the APC candidate, Teslim Folarin, since his own people in Oyo PDP as well as major stakeholders in the state want him humiliated at the poll”

As part of his stand against Atiku, a wind of opposition by the Vanguard for Progressive Youth, asking Governor Makinde to back out from his decision to recontest and concentrate on his private life and business, recently ruffled some minds. The group, in a statement by its Coordinator, Ridwan Bello, and Secretary, Kunle Adesiyan, described Makinde as “The most confused political player in the current dispensation.”

The statement read that “There is no gainsaying the fact that among the G-5 Governors, the Oyo State Governor is in the greatest dilemma. This is not because he is the only one seeking re-election as governor but he is the weakest in terms of home support having lost the confidence of all that matter in Oyo PDP.

“There is no way Makinde would survive the electoral defeat in the hand of the APC candidate, Teslim Folarin, since his own people in Oyo PDP as well as major stakeholders in the state want him humiliated at the poll.

“Whatever position being advanced by Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers; Samuel Ortom of Benue; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu; and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia is secondary to Makinde whose personal goal is to secure a soft landing for himself after he would have lost his second term bid through the ballot.

“The same Makinde, who gave out key appointments and patronage to only the lackeys who followed him to SDP in 2015 and returned with him to the PDP in 2018 cannot be said to be sincere in the agitation for power shift to the south this time.

“CBN"

“Even if Wike and his team get to strike a deal with the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, or any other person for that matter, providing a ground for Makinde to retain his seat, Oyo governor can never be part of the negotiation in view of the danger which such consideration portends.”

However, in the belief of the sitting governor, the voices against him are mere ranting of the ant that pulls no strings. Rather than wasting time on a dead issue, he appears determined to concentrate on vital issues that can enhance his electoral worth.

During a recent self-appraisal at a rally, Makinde told the people of the state that in line with his promise, his administration put the interest of the people of Oyo State first. He also said that his government worked towards the growth of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue from N1.4billion monthly in 2019 to about N3.8billion monthly in 2022.

Other achievements which Makinde listed to the credit of his administration included securing the sole ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, upgrading of the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education to University of Education and renovating and equipping over 250 health facilities across the state.

The governor said that “We have grown our IGR from N1.4billion every month in 2019 when we took over the reins of government to N3.8billion as of November 2022. I promised that our infrastructure would integrate all the zones of our state and target our economy. We have completed the 65 kilometre Moniya-Ijaye-Iseyin Road. There is the Oyo-Iseyin Road; Ogbomoso-Iseyin Road; Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road; Airport Road; Akobo Flyover and others. We scrapped the N3,000 education levy.

“I promised that workers and retirees would get their full salaries and pensions on or before the 25th of every month and from 2019, workers and pensioners get paid. I promised the people a safe and secure environment and we brought in Amotekun. I promised a government that will put the people first and all our decisions have shown just that. Now, it is time to upgrade.”

Buttressing his principal’s claim on the account of his stewardship, Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde said in a statement dated January 10 that the governor had delivered his promises to the people of Ogbomoso and environs, and urged the residents to vote for him and other PDP candidates in the state.

During his address at the campaign grounds at Oja-Igbo in Ogbomoso, Ahorodada, Tewure, Olokoto and Ikoyi-Ile in Oriire Local Government Council Area last week, the governor solicited the support of the residents of the community. Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that he would do more if re-elected on March 11, 2023.

Apart from working hard to ensure that LAUTECH was solely owned by Oyo State, he reminded the people that the development drive of his administration was being felt by the people of Ogbomoso as well as other parts of the state.

The governor was quoted in a statement signed by Adisa that “When I came to flag off our campaign in 2019, I promised you that we would work on ending the crisis in LAUTECH by ensuring that it is solely owned by Oyo State. Have we not achieved that? We promised to build infrastructure that targets our economy. You can see LAUTECH-Under G Road that we constructed and the Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin Road.

“In the education sector, we promised to improve the standard of education and the first thing we did was to scrap the N3,000 education levy imposed by the previous government. We have built model schools, classrooms and other facilities as part of our agenda to improve the sector.”

During his campaign at Ahoro Dada, Olokoto, Tewure and Ikoyi-Ile communities in Oriire Local Government Area, Makinde assured that his new government would bring more good governance, stressing that “In 2019, I promised that I would take our people from poverty to prosperity. From Ogbomoso, it took us 20 minutes to get to Ahoro Dada and this is due to the Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin Road, which this administration is constructing. Now, our farmers can take our farm produce to the markets in urban centres.

“I also promised there would be one PHC in each ward and we have done this. I vowed to secure life and properties and you can all see what the Amotekun is doing. We have put in place a communication network for our security agencies. The other candidates who are also contesting are with me here. I don’t want you to be bothered about the ‘white horse’ here. In 2015, I rode on the same horse and the legs broke. So, the senatorial candidate you must vote for is that of the PDP.”

As four years in the electoral cycle winds up with months paling into weeks, the people are waiting to decide the set of people to lead them for another term of four years. Where the pendulum may swing, analysts have said, is still a subject of conjecture as nothing is certain yet.

Just as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Peter Obi’s Labour Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party, among others are making spirited efforts to win the people’s confidence on the national scale, so also are the main contenders in the governorship race in Oyo State are oiling their campaign machinery to ensure victory for themselves.

They continue to intensify their campaign on all fronts. The opposition political parties indicated that they were putting strategies in place for possible ouster of the sitting governor. But, a resident of the state called Wale Sunday said that without the merger of the main opposition political parties against Governor Makinde, the dream of stripping him of the mandate might be far-fetched and unattainable.

Sunday said, “The governor, no doubt, is swimming in troubled water by turning his back on some of those who aided his victory in 2019. However, he remains popular with the people of the state. As we speak, a single opposition political party does not have the strength and the popularity to defeat Makinde on the electoral turf. Only a merger can do the impossible. For instance, imagine what would happen if APC and Accord come together to pull their weight against Makinde of PDP. It would have been an easy and predictable battle. And, unless the status quo changes, one can safely say that Makinde’s second term is done and dusted.”