Makinde and the task of managing emerging political forces in Oyo State

[File] The Governor of the host state, Abiola Ajimobi .<br />Photo: Twitter/AAAjimobi

The Governor-elect of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, will face not one but three critical tasks as soon as he is sworn in on May 29. Key among the challenges he would need to address if he ever hopes to deliver the dividends of democracy to meet the expectation of citizens is how to address the division within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform through which he emerged as governor on March 10.

The second critical task he must address is meeting the yearning of all the forces that helped him realise his gubernatorial ambition and also enabled him wrestle power successfully from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is spite of the power of incumbency and federal might that were deployed during the contest.

The governor-elect would also need to appropriately manage the traditional institutions and some key political statesmen, who have more or less become institutions in Oyo politics. These are some of the areas most of his predecessors probably failed to tactically handle while they were in office.

For instance, while erstwhile Governor Rasheed Ladoja of PDP failed to manage the late Ibadan maverick politician, late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, one of the factors that led to his downfall and paved the way for the emergence of former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Akala also lost his reelection bid to the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi in the 2011 gubernatorial election due to some of his (Akala) technical mistakes while in power.

Ajimobi himself fumbled by dabbling into the politics of the well-established historical Ibadan traditional institution, which was one of the factors that led to the defeat of APC in the last gubernatorial election.

Rashidi Ladoja


It is therefore imperative that Makinde carefully understudies his predecessors and their areas of shortcomings if he hopes to succeed bearing in mind that PDP won the 2019 gubernatorial election in Oyo not because it is strong or formidable but due to Ajimobi’s political recklessness, the infighting among APC stakeholders, especially the ‘eye and pepper’ relationship between the incumbent and the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, among others.

To start with, the governor-elect must come to terms with the fact he is going to be the only PDP governor out of the six states of the Southwest geopolitical zone and he will also operate with a State House of Assembly with legislators from other parties. It is therefore necessary for him to embark on a reconciliatory and reformative mission of PDP as soon as he gets to power. According to a source, “This will help him a lot to settle for governance.”

The outcome of the poll as declared by the electoral umpire shows that Makinde polled 515,621 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of APC, Adebayo Adelabu, who polled 357,982 votes. Candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Olufemi Lanlehin, came third with 12,375 votes, even though he had stepped down a few days before the exercise to support Makinde.

Specifically, Makinde won in Ibadan North West, Ibarapa East, Atiba, Kajola, Ido, Lagelu, Iwajowa, Afijio, Orelope, Ibadan North East, Ibadan South East, Ibarapa North, Atisbo, Ibarapa Central, Ogbomoso South, Ibadan North, Egbeda, Itesiwaju, Saki West, Saki East, Oyo West, Oyo East, Oluyole, Olorunsogo, Ona Ara, Akinyele, Iseyin and Ibadan South West LGAs.

On his part, Adelabu clinched Orire, Ogooluwa, Surulere, Ogbomoso North, and Irepo LGAs of the state.

For Makinde, he may need to carefully address the issue of the traditional institution, as Ladoja was said to have indicated his intention to concentrate on the chieftaincy title being the number three in line to the Olubadan. The former governor is, however, facing criticism from the Ibadan monarchs, who had accused him (Ladoja) of being the brain behind the crisis affecting the Olubadan chieftaincy system.

Specifically, members of Olubadan-in-Council who have been elevated from ‘High Chief’ to crown-wearing monarchs, accused Ladoja, who is Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, of masterminding the crisis rocking the Olubadan chieftaincy system since the middle of 2017.

In a statement recently, Otun Olubadan and next-in-rank to Oba Saliu Adetunji, the incumbent Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, Otun Balogun, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, Ashipa Olubadan, Oba Eddy Oyewole, Ashipa Balogun, Oba Gbadamosi Adebimpe, and Ekaarun Olubadan, Oba Amidu Ajibade, said the former governor got it wrong on the release of the allowances of Olubadan, which was earlier suspended, adding that the ongoing reconciliation between them and Olubadan was not facilitated by Ladoja as being reported, but by Oba Adetunji.

The statement read in part: “What motivated the release of the suspended stipend was the letter from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Ref: CB.211/2T1/237 dated August 6, 2018, which is self-explanatory.

“The ministry’s letter was in response to Olubadan’s letter captioned: ‘Suspension of payment of monthly stipends/allowance of members of traditional Councils in Ibadanland by Olubadan of Ibadan’ dated July 16, 2018. The ministry then enjoined us to release the outstanding monthly allowances of the Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadan, in the interest of peace.

“Ladoja, as a former governor of Oyo State, is conversant with the chiefs’ laws of Oyo State, and so cannot claim ignorance of the Chiefs Law Cap 28, Section 28(i), Volume 1, which states: ‘that the governor may, from time to time, after consultation with the Council of Obas and Chiefs of the State by order, specify the chieftaincies, the holders for the time being, who are entitled to wear beaded crowns’ and which law ultimately perfected the elevation of 48 Obas in Oyo State, including the Ibadan ‘high chiefs’ to crown and coronet wearing Obas by Oyo State governor, on March 22, 2018.”

But Ladoja, in a reaction through his aide, Lanre Latinwo, attributed the crisis on the new kings’ romance with the state government to the detriment of customs and traditions.

The statement said, “The Osi Olubadan has urged his colleagues in the Olubadan-in-Council to stop chasing shadows by reducing the Ibadan chieftaincy crisis to personal attack.”

He said the embattled high chiefs might not have been aware that the root cause was their romance with the government.

With this development, Makinde would need to handle issues relating to the traditional institution with care and dexterity otherwise he stands the risk of facing similar challenges.

ANOTHER political figure the incoming governor would have to manage is the former Deputy National Chairman of PDP and former chairman of NCAA, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, whose massive support gave Makinde victory. But Adeojo is now said to be deeply involved in Islamic affairs and his business. He recently told newsmen that he had already taken a bow from active politics.

Adeojo particularly argued that his decision to quit partisan politics especially in Oyo State was not unconnected with the recent happenings in the party. The PDP chieftain, who obviously had made several attempts at reconciling the factionalised party, both within and outside Oyo State, noted that he was “fed up with politics.”

Adeojo, a traditional Ibadan chieftaincy holder, made several attempts to become the state governor, but each time he contested he had issues with Adedibu.

While it is true that erstwhile governor Alao-Akala may no longer command the influence he once wielded in Oyo politics going by the fallout of the last governorship election, the governor-elect cannot afford to totally ignore him.

Prior to the loss of Ogbomoso, where Alao-Akala was popular to Makinde, the former governor who was the candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP) formed alliance with APC candidate, Adelabu, saying he had decided to form an alliance with the incumbent in the interest of the people.

With Alao-Akala’s fallout in Ogbomoso, the coast is now clear for the likes of an emerging leader like Odebunmi, popularly known as Bunbic. Amongst other reasons, Akala and Ajimobi are are in their 70s. In fact, they are voluntarily retiring from politics or circumstances are making them to give way to new leaders. Oyo is also said to be going the way of intellectual leadership.

The unfortunate death of a member of the House of Representatives, representing Akinyele/Lagelu Federal Constituency of Oyo State, Temitope Olatoye, popularly called Sugar, is something emerging leadership in the state are doing everything within their reach to work against. It is not in contention that people like Tegbe, Adelabu, are still playing active role in politics of the future. It can also be observed that the likes of Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, and Lanlehin are still actively involved in the politics of the state.

For instance, as former Pro-Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Chief Ayorinde ensured that the institution remained peaceful and progressive. This achievement made the university to be ranked highly among Nigerian universities at the time. Ayorinde was also appointed Chairman, Legal Aid Council during the Goodluck Jonathan era, where he made remarkable impact.

Unfortunately, Hon. Olatoye was allegedly murdered in the violence that characterised the election. Olatoye died at the Intensive Care Unit of the University College Hospital, Ibadan after he was shot in the head by suspected political thugs in Lalupon area of the state.

Olatoye had in 2011 won an election into the state House of Assembly on the platform of Accord Party (AD) before he later defected to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Another figure Makinde must carefully handle is Ladilu of Oyo kingdom and U.K-trained tax lawyer, Chief Bisi Ilaka, who contested under PDP for Oyo Central Senatorial District. He particularly supported the governor-elect and he has not ceased to commend the governorship primary that threw up Makinde, saying, “I was there on the day of the primary and I think the process was as transparent as it can. Our democracy in the country is still work-in-progress. People came from all the 33 local government councils and they were all duly accredited.”

Another figure that might influence the leadership of PDP in the state is Mr. Femi Babalola, popularly called Jogor, who pulled his weight behind the governor-elect. According to him, “I decided to step down for Makinde in the interest of our party and the people. We are three – Senator Ayo Adeseun, Makinde and myself. But the leaders of our party appealed to me to step down, which I did.”

The National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP seems to have taken note of Babalola’s sacrifice and he may be compensated for it.

Interestingly, a former Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Hosea Ayoola, who equally supported Makinde, has been announced as the chairman of the 10-man transition committee of PDP. The announcement of Agboola, who hails from Oke-Ogun area of the state, was made known by the deputy chairman of the committee and PDP candidate for Oyo Central Senatorial District, Chief Luqman Bisi Ilaka.

It is also important that the governor-elect would respect the input of other parties like ADC, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and AP among others, which sacrificed their interest to support him.

For instance, there are complaints already that PDP, going by the composition of the transition committee, may have decided to jettison the agreement reached before the election with these parties.

Clearly, this is not a good sign. All parties that contributed must be carried along for an inclusive government and also for the political future of Makinde who may have his eyes on a second term in office.

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