Engr Dotun Sanusi, chairman of Oyo’s most visited hospitality and tourists’ destination, Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resorts, yesterday joined Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, to receive his certificate of return.
Makinde had last week been re-elected for a second term, after defeating Teslim Folarin and Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress, APC and Accord respectively, becoming the first governor to be overwhelmingly re-elected.
With traditional rulers, market men and women, associations and other stakeholders in attendance, Makinde, his deputy and 32 members of the state house of assembly got their certificates of return at an event put together by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which took place at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan.
Speaking shortly after the presentation, Sanusi said he was optimistic that the second coming of Makinde would be better than the first, adding that he’s been seeing changes in the governor especially since after the election.
According to the Ibadan Mogaji and Otun Apesinola of Ibadan, who is also the proprietor of Ibadan College of Arts, Science and Technology, ICAST, Elebu, Makinde has shown commitment to the people’s welfare and that, I know, contributed to the overwhelming victory he recorded during the governorship poll.
“I have seen that the governor has really changed. It was not his fault and like he said when he came to meet some people at Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resorts, I have seen signs. And that is why I am here. That was why I mobilized support and that was why I hosted people to victory party in our place last week.
”I want to reiterate what I said last week when I hosted the victory party. I never doubted Makinde‘s chances in the re-election, having done the needful in serving the people of the state.
“They said Makinde would not win the re-election but I said no, he would emerge victorious because he is serving God wholeheartedly and have always believed in Him.
“I want to appreciate all the groups, who stood by the governor; the Mogajis, the traditional rulers, the market men and women, artisans and religious bodies. I am not a politician but whoever I am supporting is who my fathers and mothers will really support as well as the Mogajis and Balees.
“This victory was unprecedented as it has never been experienced in Oyo State before. But things worked out for the governor because he did the needful things that the people expected.
“Some critics even said he has committed political suicide by supporting Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for president. But can they say it again now that he has won? No,” he explained.
Makinde had, during the victory party, commended Sanusi for his selfless contributions, stating that in the last four years of his government, the businessman has never for once approached him for anything.
“Let me say it publicly, for the last four years, he never came to me to ask for anything.
“Even those we assigned to carry out mobilisation in their different neighbourhoods, they failed. But for Engr. Sanusi, who loves this state, he did what he was supposed to do. So, I really thank him,” Makinde had said.
It would be recalled that through the efforts of the influential Mogaji, foremost traditional ruler from Ogbomosoland, the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Sunday Oyediran, Part II chiefs in Ibadanland, Ibadan family heads popularly known as Mogajis declared their support for the re-election bid of Makinde few days to the election.
Others who threw their weight behind the governor ahead of the Saturday, March 18 governorship election, were the market men and women association in the state, traders and artisans, the Nigerian Union of Teachers and Youth groups.
The leaders of the different groups had declared that their decisions were based on the interventions by the Ilaji Resort chairman, whom they said had made it clear that he was supporting the governor’s re-election bid.
Sanusi, had while giving a short address to welcome the visitors, said that he was supporting Makinde’s re-election after the governor had mobilised support for the election of Nigeria’s President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in penultimate Saturday’s presidential election.
Makinde, had in his response, appreciated Sanusi, whom he described as his friend and colleague from the Oil and Gas Industry, stating that he has learnt many lessons with regards to stakeholders’ engagement and that things would be better off when he is re-elected.
Makinde had said that “I want to thank my brother, Engr. Dotun Sanusi. Just like he said, I am from the Oil and Gas Industry, and I came out in 2007 to contest for the first time. But I didn’t care whether or not I won the election, as I just wanted to participate.
“One unique thing about where I was coming from is that it is all about your focus, your bottom-line. You assume your stakeholders are behind your common goal, and that is exactly how Oil and Gas industry is.
“I have never held any political position. My first public service is the position of governor, which I am currently occupying, and I had to learn. I came in and focused on the goals to achieve the set targets and ensure I deliver on them. Where I was coming from, I assumed that the stakeholders and I are after the same target. But in the past three plus years, I have come to understand that one has to pay attention to stakeholders’ engagement.”
The governor equally clarified that insinuations that he had issues with the Ilaji Resort chairman were untrue.
“Some people are insinuating that I don’t like my brother, Sanusi, and that that is why I have not fixed the road leading to Ilaji Resort. I came here after I became governor more than two times and I know the impact the road will have on the economy of Oyo State but there are constraints.
Earlier, the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Oyediran, had called on Ibadan Baales, Mogajis and market and artisanal groups at the meeting to look at the governor’s achievements in the last three years and seven months, stating that Makinde had been exceptional and thus deserved to be re-elected for another term.
According to the royal father, all traditional rulers in the state decided to support the governor because they have all seen the unprecedented developments he has brought to bear on the state across different sectors.
The monarch equally hailed the chairman of Ilaji Hotels for the effort he made in convening the august meeting.
Similarly, the President of Association of Mogajis in Ibadanland, Mogaji Asimiyu Ariori, hailed Mogaji Sanusi for the role he played in ending the street wars in Ibadan, while also commending the governor for the great part his administration played in bringing stability to the city through the setting up of committees to address gang wars and land-grabbing.
The Ologbere of Ogbere, who is also the head of Part II Chiefs in Ibadanland and the Oniladuntan of Laduntan, called on all Ibadan sons and daughters to come out and work for the governor’s re-election.
According to Oniladuntan, “We also appreciate Ilaji [Dotun Sanusi]. He is our Arisekola in Ona Ara and Ibadanland and we assure you, the governor, on behalf of Ilaji, that we will deliver the votes.”
The Babaloja-General of Oyo State, Alhaji Y.K. Abass, Iyaloja Saratu Aduke, president of Oyo State Traders and Artisans, president of Oyo State Cow Sellers and the state chairman of the NUT all commended the governor’s good works in the last four years, unanimously declaring that since Mogaji Sanusi had declared his support for the governor, their individual associations, some of which have Sanusi as patron or have been receiving his support over the years, will support Governor Makinde to consolidate on the good works he started.