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•What Many People Won’t Tell You

It was a revolt against party leadership and its authority. Five People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governors, popularly called the G-5, disagreed with their political party, PDP, on zoning of presidential ticket and instantly they became renegades. They were celebrated by those who believed in fairness and equity in sharing of political offices in a multi-ethnic party as Nigeria, while many others condemned them for their foolhardiness and bear-faced effrontery.

The governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde was one the rebel governors as he supported the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in realisation of his ambition. Makinde was on the brink of rebellion in the PDP. No, it was an out rebellion that made him guilty when he was accused of being a quisling. A master of ecletic politicking, Makinde saw a winning joker in the crisis of party zoning of presidential candidate. He chose to support Tinubu, a Southerner and Yoruba man. No wonder he turned the same into his second term winning formula. This, however, was not the only factor that worked for his victory at the poll.

Observers in Oyo said that Makinde had a good record of performance. Many projects that have lifted the state to a higher level were executed by him.

Last year, in Akure, Makinde sent his Deputy, Bayo Lawal, to tell Pa Fasonrati; the authentic leader of Afenifere, who played host to Tinubu the APC presidential candidate that he, Makinde, was with them. He said he was in support of Tinubu’s ambition despite that he is not an APC member.

This public announcement of support for Tinubu earned Makinde hostility and enmity of many PDP members in Oyo State. Tacitly, they insisted that his seond term ambition had gone into flame and a quagmire of failure.

Makinde believed he could use his incumbent power of awarding contracts and other patronage to lure most of them to support him. Besides, Makinde was not unaware that the APC in Oyo State no longer had the overwhelming numerical strength it had during the governorship of the late Isiaka Ajimobi. In protest of the emergence of Senator Teslim Folarin as the APC’s governorship standardbearer, a large number of the APC members had gone to the Accord Party led by Adebayo Adelabu who believed he would realise his governorship ambition in the party. Divided by the coup that made Mala Buni the acting National Chairman of the APC that produced the present APC executive in Oyo State the new executive could not appeasse all APC members to stay in the party.

A large number of APC members whose nerves were frayed, but stayed put in the party were only waiting to inflict damage and disappointment on the governorship candidate of the party in the just concluded governorship election.

Those who did not know the enthralling night of an anxiom that says every politics is local, on which those who believe in it easily ride the waves to victory in election had asserted that the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde was a goner in the March 18, 2023 governorship election. Yes, they said that he would stew in his (own) juice for supporting All Progressives Congress (APC’s) presidential candidate, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the February 25, 2023 election. Makinde contested the governorship election on the PDP’s platform.

Regarded a renegade, most PDP’s stalwarts in Oyo State had resolved to work against Makinde and rejected him as a son who uses left hand fingers to give direction to his father’s house. PDP members who craved to penalise Makinde for daring to oppose the PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, were literally boiling and yearning for a pound of political flesh of Makinde when the opposition party in Oyo State, APC, won the three senatorial seats in the state. They were loud in heaping the blame on Makinde.

For Makinde, it was a game of extreme optimistic political caculus and he believed it would work for him at the poll.

He recalled that he would not have won the 2019 governorship election if not for the pooling support of most governorship candidates coordinated by High Chief Risidi Ladoja who vehemently opposed allowing a candidate of the late Senator Isiaka Ajimobi, Adebayo Adelabu to succeed Ajimobi.

That, of course, was not why he supported Tinubu for presidency. His party the PDP, has an unwritten gentleman’s  agreement that presidency should be rotated between the North and South in the country. Based on this pact, a conference of Southern governors took a decision in 2022 in Asaba that it was the turn of the South to rule the country from Aso-Rock after the eight-year of Buhari, a  Northerner at Aso-Rock after the eight-year of Buhari, a Northerner at Aso-Rock.

Despite the Asaba decision, Atiku rode rough-shod on the party to emerge the presidential candidate of the PDP. His emergence as the party’s standardbearer, gave birth to a group of PDP governors called the G-5 who insisted that the North could not produce both the presidential candidate of the party and its National Chairman at the same time. Senator Iyorchia Ayu, had emerged the party national chairman after Atiku had picked the presidential ticket of the party. Thus, they, the G-5, broke rank of the party. That was the genesis of Seyi Makinde’s support for Tinubu, which some party members frowned at. He played local Yoruba politics by supporting Tinubu, a Southerner and Yoruba man who is an APC’s candidate. The decision was to redound to Makinde’s victory.

The APC’s governorship candidate in the March 18, 2023 election, Senator Teslim Makinde, is a beneficiary of the emergence of Mala Buni, the immediate past acting National Chairman of the APC. This led to the defection of Adebayo Adelabu and his supporters. They went to the Accord Party (AP). Adelabu became the standardbearer of the party. The defection, undoubtedly, depleted the numerical strength of the APC in Oyo State.

Makinde aware that members of the coalition that facilitated his victory at the poll in 2019 were no longer allies because of political differences, went all out for fresh and new allies to support his bid for a second term. He wooed members of Accord Party. The support of Tinubu’s presidential ambition was the new antic and stunt that made aggrieved Oyo State members of the APC and those who defected from the Accord Party such as Shina Peller and Farouk Arisekola  Alao to rally round Makinde for a deserved victory for a second term.

– Tajudeen Adigun


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