The first level of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria has been concluded and winners of the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives have been declared with a few places still outstanding where elections were declared inconclusive.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been declared the winner of the presidential election having satisfied the requirements as clearly established by Independent National Electoral Commission INEC the electoral umpire saddled with the responsibilities of management and conduct of General Elections in Nigeria.
Oyo State like several other states across the Nation is preparing for the second phase of the general elections holding on March 11th when the Gubernatorial and Hose of Assembly elections will hold simultaneously.
The results of the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives are clear indications of the strengths and weaknesses of the major political parties especially at some Constituencies considered as very critical to determine likely outcomes of the elections.
A casual assessment of the results may give false positions of strengths and weaknesses to some political parties and gladiators.
However, a critical and detailed assessment of those results for discerning minds will clearly expose the true position of how the various Parties stand presently within the Oyo State political landscape.
The various constituencies where APC led at the Senatorial and House of Representatives and where PDP also led provided a position of strength for both parties as the margins of loses and winning were very insignificant in most cases on both divides.
Although an ordinary and casual observer will regard as abysmal, the performance of Accord Party which is currently the abode of many aggrieved members of APC having been unable to secure any Senatorial district or House of Representatives positions. In real terms Accord Party in performance has the ace up now even if as it is obvious it can’t make it to win the Gubernatorial or sizeable numbers of the House of Assembly positions.
However, the decision of Accord Party leaders on possible coalition may likely swing the votes, though not outrightly.
The hard reality is that it would have been an outright and clear victory for APC winning all the available elective positions during the last elections.
The combination of votes garnered by APC and Accord Party would have secured unimaginable clear victory for APC if there was no division and intra party squabbles that led to the mass movement of APC members to use the Accord platform.
In this analysis, it is very obvious that a position of possible synergy and Coalition between APC and Accord Party and a couple of other notable parties such as SDP, NNPP, Labour and YDP is the most assured pathway to easy success for APC in the forthcoming Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections.
As things stand now, Chief Bayo Adelabu the Gubernatorial candidate of Accord Party is the bride of Oyo State politics now as the hard reality is that none of the three leading political parties can on its own capacity clinch the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly tickets.
PDP led by the incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde is the most truamatised of the three parties. Many of those who lost at the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections are already at loggerheads with Governor Seyi Makinde for divisive the roles he played joining the River State Governor Nyeson Wike led G5 group against the presidential candidate of PDP and his seeming romance with APC candidate and president elect days preceding the elections. They rightly or wrongly have accused him that such singular decision and efforts caused them the losses experienced during the last election. They are therefore ready to work against him or withdraw their various structures and political machinery during his own battle of survival and second term bid for Governorship.
Without sentiments and biases or prejudices, it is most sensible and politically reasonable for Accord Party to align with APC at this moment as Chief Bayo Adelabu would naturally defer to the National leadership of APC who would want to intervene and mediate between him and Senator Teslim Kolawole Folarin.
Accord Party may not agree on total surrender but for Chief Bayo Adelabu and Senator Folarin, if both of them will not be egoistic and will identify possible benefits of their alliance formation beyond personal interests and team up together, APC as a progressive family will bounce back and stronger in Oyo Political landscape with the prospect of emergence as the winner at the polls such that APC will take absolute control of South West political landscape while awaiting the judgement of Supreme Court on Osun State Governorship elections which most likely will be favourable to APC.
The calculation and positioning of most APC party faithfuls that what APC lost with the exits of the likes of Chief Bayo Adelabu and many party leaders that moved with him to Accord Party has been gained by the aggrieved PDP members such as Eng Femi Babalola ‘ Jogor’ Mrs Jumoke Akonjide, Dr Nureni Adeniran, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi among several others who are pledging support for APC to work together and secure victory for Senator Teslim Folarin.
Things may not work out easily as such as many others believe that approaching all frontiers of possible influences towards winning is more desirable and better than taking chances and undermining others.
It is hopeful that good reasoning will prevail beyond primordial sentiments and egoistic tendencies and the alliance formation, coalition and synergy will be sealed soonest before it is too late.
No doubt, the dynamics of politics in Nigeria has changed especially with the outcome of this last Presidential elections, with the clear reflection that Party structures, influence of the so called “powerful” notable leaders, influence of money and other inducements are no longer strong performance indicators on elections, rather the perception of the electorates as regards individuals contesting during elections, stability of each Party in terms of strong alliances, cohesion, synergy, collaboration, networking, media exposure, and positioning with winning strategies are very crucial factors that will influence performances of the various contenders at the polls.
The gang up in formation of coalition among the various political parties is the surest way to send Governor Seyi Makinde out of Agodi Government House.
Anything short of that may guarantee his return back as he still enjoys the affection of majority of the workers, Pensioners, traditional and opinion leaders as well as non partisan elite class and citizens in Oyo State. However, that advantage is not in any way an assurance of winning for GSM as several other factors identified as critical are not favourable towards PDP presently especially with the challenge of unresolved intra party wranglings within PDP which is getting worsened as events are unfolding on a daily basis.
The unfolding of events in these regards of possible synergy and Coalition or collaboration in the next few days will provide insights to likely outcomes of the elections on 11th March 2023.
Kunle Olatunji writes from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.