Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the African Democratic (ADC) in Oyo State engaged in a trade of words on Saturday over the achievements of Governor Seyi Makinde in his first year in office.
The first to fire the salvo is the governorship candidate of APC during the 2019 general elections in the state, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, who remarked on a programme, Political Circuit, on Fresh FM, Ibadan, that the Pacesetter State had retrogressed under Makinde in the past one year.
Adelabu, a retired deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), also alleged that the gubernatorial candidate of ADC, Olufemi Lanlehin, who dropped his ambition and joined the coalition that brought Makinde to power in 2019, went into negotiation with him, but the two of them could not agree. Lanlehin, however, in his swift response, said Adelabu had lied against him, and it was calculated to tarnish his image.
According to Adelabu, it was unfair to compare the first-year administration of Makinde to the eight years that the previous governor, Abiola Ajimobi. While contending that the Makinde administration has done nothing tangible, he further argued that in terms of security, ‘it is the impact that you are going to measure and of late we have been seeing pockets of crimes – car snatching and robbery in the last one year – that did not happen in the eight years of Ajimobi.
‘We have seen the return of area boys. Ekugbemi vs Ebila. These are people that were dead during the eight years of Ajimobi. In all the local areas now, go there you will see fights. In fact, almost every night, armed robbers go to those areas. Go to Kudeti, Popo, you will see that, and rape cases in Oyo State too. In fact, we are getting notorious among the comity of states. The rape case in Oyo State is higher than any other state in Nigeria.
‘There is no night economy in Oyo State anymore because people now live in fear, even before the COVID-19 started. It was not what it was when Ajimobi was there anymore,’ he said as he accused Makinde of re-commissioning of projects already commissioned before Ajimobi left power, and that ‘what we are seeing now is just the result of a sudden and unexpected victory of their party.’
But the Publicity Secretary of PDP in Oyo State, Akeem Olatunji, in a telephone chat with our correspondent, described Adelabu’s remarks as the ‘vituperation of a bad loser,’ adding that Adelabu spoke from the hangovers of the last governorship election that he lost to Governor Makinde, advising him to ‘eschew bitterness and embrace the realities.’
He argued that all the submissions of Adelabu on the radio programme were lies geared towards his ambition for 2023 general elections, adding that ‘we are not playing the politics of 2023 now. We are focused on delivering good governance to the good people of Oyo State.
‘The evidence is there that Governor Makinde initiated many new projects and he also completed many of the projects that were either abandoned or not yet completed by the past administration of APC because governance is a continuum. We are not playing politics of bitterness. We are focused on good governance.
‘One of the examples of projects initiated by Governor Makinde is the ongoing construction of Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road, which was not attended to for eight years of APC administration in the state, despite the repeated pleas by residents of the area. Also, the work is ongoing on the Awotan dumpsite, which before the intervention of the incumbent administration constituted a nuisance to residents of the area as people that have boreholes and wells in the area could not use water from the facilities based on contamination from the dumpsite.’
In his response, Lanlehin told Adelabu: ‘I want to categorically put on record, for the sake of posterity, and like I did in the text message I sent to the programme, that ‘I did not negotiate with Chief Bayo Adelabu, either directly or indirectly. In fact, it was Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State governor, who approached me on his behalf, but I respectfully turned him down, without much ado.’
‘Despite ongoing coalition talks at that time, I still gave audience to Governor Fayemi, a man for whom l have a great deal of respect, and who I’d had a wonderful relationship with, right from our days in NADECO. I respectfully turned down his passionate plea that I aligned with Bayo Adelabu and the APC.
‘Despite my progressive roots, which Governor Fayemi alluded to in that meeting, l explained to him my reasons for turning him, and indeed, Adelabu down. The crux of our discussion then, was that every politics is local and that it was in the best interest of Oyo State at that time of its history, that I coalesced with Engr Seyi Makinde, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to win the gubernatorial election.
‘I wish to conclude that despite the advertised failings of post-victory agreements, I sincerely do not have any regrets for being an active participant in the coalition that brought in Engr Seyi Makinde, as it was honestly, the best decision, in those circumstances, and sincerely, in the interest of Oyo State.’