By Femi Ojo
Oyo State is currently the only PDP governed state in the South West Nigeria since 2019 and right from the beginning of Gov. Makinde’s administration, the broom party, who lost the last gubernatorial election due to many factors including the egoistic contradiction of some of its proximate actors, has not ceased to tell anyone who cares that Makinde is in for a run for his money and APC will not also stop at nothing, to make Seyi’s second term bid a tall order.
A cursory gaze at the early days of Gov. Makinde’s administration gives one an opinion of a people’s man. First was his public accountability posture with his public declaration of his assets right from the start of the current administration. Not yet done, Gov. Seyi also took a step further by sponsoring a bill in the House of Assembly that later cumulated into the establishment of Oyo State Anti-Corruption Agency (OYACA), it’s indeed a bold policy stride that clearly opines that business would not be as usual, as far as corruption is concerned in Oyo State. It was one move that most pundits would agree is a good development in our contemporary corrupt political system and the first of its kind in the history of pacesetter state. Not done with that, Seyi Makinde also within the first year of his administration developed a new Internal Generated Revenue framework that increased the IGR of Oyo State to N2.7bn monthly.
This writer also remember that Governor Seyi Makinde orated in 2020 that within one year of his administration, he ensured that sanity was brought to transportation sector in the state by constituting Oyo State Park Management System to bring order to that industry. Though his opponents believe that the Governor only embarked on such policy to give legal and political coverage for Alhaji Lamidi Mukaila better known as “Auxiliary”, a factional leader of Oyo State Chapter of Nigerian Union of Transport Workers, as his political enforcer for his second term bid.
Of course, there are many more acclaimed achievements of Gov. Seyi Makinde’s administrations in Oyo State by his supporters, such as rehabilitation of roads and his zero Pothole Policy across the state, the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project which according to Oyo State Government, would enable it rehabilitate about 1, 000 kilometres of rural roads across the state. The digitalization and georeferencing for electronic Certificate of Occupancy which would enable people get Co f O within 60 days. Supporting Gov. Seyi Makinde’s digitalization and E- governance strides, his enthusiasts boasted that in 2021, Oyo State under the governor emerged the best State in Digital Technology Human Capital Development and Best State in Digital Technology Infrastructure Development at the 9th regular meeting of the National Council of Communications and Digital Economy.
But unfortunately, all the aforementioned achievements and those unmentioned are simply what his contenders called “audio achievements”. To Seyi’ Makinde’s traducers, for instance they opined that some of the rehabilitated roads done by His Excellency were poorly constructed with substandard products and to worsen this, contract funds were highly inflated. This to them contradicts his administration’s anti-corruption and public accountability mantra. However, beyond the polemics on Gov. Seyi Makinde’s performances are two major factors that he must subsume to make his second term ambition a reality. First is the allegation that the Governor has marginalized many of the proximate political actors in the coalition parties on which he rode to power.
It is no secret that politicians like Chief Adebisi Olopoeniyan, Hon. Mulikat Adeola Akande, Senator Kola Balogun, Ajia Balogun Olubadan, Adegboyega Adegoke, Senator Kola Balogun, Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin, Mr Sarafadeen Alli and many hundreds of Governor Seyi Makinde’s foot soldiers across the state have parted PDP to different opposition parties. The perceived unhealthy way which the Governor pocketed the party’s leadership and selfishness according to the aforementioned made them to leave. In such period as this, loosing critical stakeholders like those mentioned will definitely stand in the way of the governor’s second term political ambition, if not well navigated.
Besides, the internal dynamisms in Oyo State chapter of the PDP and its internal contradictions, the current growing strength and sense of unity of purpose of the APC chapter of Oyo State against Gov. Makinde (if not a smokescreen) may be another political encumbrance. As it stands and as far as Oyo State politics is concerned, Ibadan zone is the most strategic and usually determines where the political pendulum swings. The APC having realised this truism, has begun firstly, to put the contrasting egos of its proximate actors under check and equally zoned the governorship ticket to Ibadan.
This is the first political permutation at obliterating Makinde’s dream. It is the belief of the opposition that it will take an Ibadan man to stand against Makinde and thus the likes of Sen. ‘Folarin Teslim (who might likely win APC’s gubernatorial ticket though without controversies), Chief Adebayo Adelabu, Chief Niyi Akintola etc. have indicated interest to unseat PDP in Oyo in the coming general elections.
In the build up to the gubernatorial election in Oyo State against 2023 therefore, whether Makinde’s performances are real or ‘audio’ may remain insignificant but how he is able to navigate, subsume the conflagrations of contrasting internal adversaries, former political associates that have formed unholy political coalitions with his other political challengers and most significantly Makinde’s re-election ambition may be interrupted if APC gets his house in order, armed by federal might and come with big cash, otherwise, to borrow Makinde’s supporters’ chant “Seyi si mase ekan si”.
Ojo is a media communications/public affairs professional, writes from Lagos