By Haneefa Badru
Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, a former engineer and expert on fluid and gas metering, became the Executive Governor of Oyo State. Since taking office, he has focused on improving infrastructure, ensuring prompt payment of workers’ salaries and pensions, constructing major roads, and providing capacity-building opportunities for the youth. Makinde has been recognized as a leader who prioritizes the needs of his people, earning him the moniker “the man of and for the people.” His handling of the ENDSARS protest further highlights his administrative skills, demonstrating his ability to navigate complex issues with tact and efficiency.
As the elections drew near, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Governor Makinde would be reelected. But the cutthroat nature of Nigerian politics proved to be a formidable challenge for the accomplished administrator. The PDP presidential primaries were where his troubles began. Heavyweight contenders such as Atiku Abubakar, Nyesom Wike, Aminu Tambuwal, and Bukola Saraki emerged as top challengers.
Aminu Tambuwal withdrew from the race at the primaries and urged his supporters to support Atiku Abubakr, who emerged as the party’s flagbearer. Atiku polled 371 votes from the 767 accredited candidates to edge his closest opponent, Nyesom Wike, who polled 237 votes, including Oyo’s.
Nyesom Wike, embittered from the loss and the failed promise of a Southern presidency, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) allied against the party’s flag-bearer. This group was named G-5 governors.
The G5 governors, handpicked to spearhead the PDP presidential campaign, pulled out from the council and snubbed the inauguration. They were incensed by the national chairman’s refusal to step down from his post despite their demands. Consequently, they refused to throw their weight behind the party’s chosen candidate. Tensions ran high as rumors and speculations swirled around the public domain. Eventually, each governor endorsed different presidential candidates, setting the stage for a contentious election.
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Governor Makinde maintained his neutrality during the presidential election, but the outcome has sparked controversy among the PDP members in Oyo state. The party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, only managed to secure 182,977 votes, a far cry from the APC candidate Tinubu’s 449,884 votes. Some PDP members have accused Makinde of not doing enough to drum up support for Atiku. In response, they have shifted their allegiance to the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, Teslim Folarin, in what appears to be a tit-for-tat move.
The fate of Governor Seyi Makinde’s reemergence as the governor of Oyo State remains unclear despite being endorsed by members of the Labour Party. The uncertainty stems from the consequences of the governor’s political decisions, which are yet to be fully realized. It is a precarious situation for the governor, and his future in office hangs in the balance as he awaits the outcome of his actions. The political landscape of Oyo State is in flux, and only time will tell if Makinde can weather the storm and come out on top.
Haneefa Badru writes for Eko Hot Blog. This media platform reserves all rights to this article.
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