“Ìbò òtè ni Ìbàdàn máa ndì.”
The above is a popular saying about the style of politicking and voting in Ibadan. It is a perception that the ordinary people of Ibadan, and indeed Oyo state, must prove wrong this time around.
Few days ago, I was hinted by an elderly friend about the plan of certain political leaders of Ibadan extraction to ensure that Governor Seyi Makinde is unseated by all means. He gave an historical perspective about how these leaders, leveraging on their their influence within the city, have an habit of wanting elections to go their way because of their own personal interests, without minding its effect on the collective good of the state.
According to him, what these leaders usually do is to demand outrageous/ridiculous benefits from governors that they support to get into office. They continuosly demand and expect that the governor honour their unending demands to share limited state resources with them under the guise of using it to take care of their political followers. These are followers that they in turn give peanuts from the largesse they receive. The problem with these people is that there is nothing the governor gives them that will ever satisfy them. They ask for contracts that they will never execute among others and when the governor begins to decline these requests, he is tagged ‘ungrateful’.
For the upcoming 2023 gubernatorial election in Oyo State, these leaders are not concerned about competence or who will deliver most on the dividends of democracy to the good people of Oyo State. They just want revenge for being denied access to the commonwealth of the state. They are angry that the governor did not do their bidding and as such should be punished by ensuring that he does not get a second term. It does not matter whether the governor has performed and that the person they intend to replace him with is someone of a dubious reputation who cannot really be trusted with power.
It is important for the people of Oyo State to understand that the opposition Governor Seyi Makinde is facing right now is because of them. Most of the so-called powerful people who are against the Governor are selfish leaders who want the governor to share the limited resources of the state with them.
Over the past few months, I have taken my time to listen to the governor carefully and study his actions. He comes off as a sincere man whose overriding interest is to protect the people’s commonwealth for the benefit of the majority. I have also listened to many of these aggrieved politicians and most of them have nothing tangible to complain about except to say that the governor is a betrayal. When you ask them what they meant by the governor being a betrayal, they will explain that he did not reward them adequately for their role in getting him into office.
When you try to point out that the governor has achieved remarkably in terms of welfare of the people and infrastructural development within the state, not forgetting how he has continued and even completed a number of projects initiated by previous administrations in the state especially the circular road which will definitely bring unprecedented development to the state, they will simply answer you that “Ìbàdàn kìí sìnyàn lèémejì” which can be loosely translated to mean Ibadan doesn’t allow a governor to do two terms. That was why late governor Ajimobi was popularly referred to as koselerí as he broke that jinx.
Another disturbing propaganda that they are using to achieve their aim of removing the governor by all means is religion. They accuse the governor of not being muslim-friendly which is an absolute lie. This is a governor who built a mosque for the Muslim community in Adogba and has appointed many Muslims into his cabinet. There are 11 Muslims out of the 22 cabinet members in Oyo State presently. It is also common knowledge that Governor Seyi Makinde reinstated many Muslims that were unjustly sacked by the previous administration. I am also aware that out of the 33 Chairmen of the Local Governments in Oyo State, only 10 are Christians while 23 are Muslims.
Few days ago, I was reliably informed that a prominent muslim leader in the state had called for a meeting of all the Imams and Alfa’s in the state where he tried to convince them on the anti-muslim tendencies of the governor while urging them to encourage the congregation in their different mosques to vote against the governor after each salat session.
We, the people, must understand that the Governor’s confidence in defying these selfish political gladiators is because he is depending on the vote of the masses as he has always been threatened with his second term bid by these enemies of the state in disguise. While these people have been grouping and regrouping over the past few years, the Governor has never hesitated to make it clear that he is on the side of the people, that he would not be manipulated into doing what will destroy Oyo State.
The people of Oyo State must reciprocate the love that the Governor has shown them by not allowing themselves to be manipulated into voting for a candidate that does not have their interests at heart. The people must show that they are independent thinking individuals who cannot be conscripted into the conspiracy of the minority in order to serve the interest of the powerful few.
In essence, we cannot deny that these people that are against the governor are powerful and that is why we the masses must show that we are more powerful by going out to vote and return our governor, the people’s governor for a second term.
Ogbeni Labzy writes from Ibadan.