Supporters of opposition parties in Oyo state should read the tea-leaves. How long before they realize that Mr. Jagba’s governorship is only a pipe dream? There is no disputing the fact that Governor Seyi Makinde is once again lucky given his street credibility and widespread acceptance throughout the state. And this has often times made his rivals to be jittery. But do they actually feel the same fear as those who dumped PDP because of their selfish interest to plan his defeat in 2023?
The ‘luck’ is on the side of His Excellency whom many referred to as God Sent Man (GSM). And for those who may think that Mr Adelabu Penkelemes of Accord party might pose a challenge to a Makinde’s re-election, it’s important to remind them that If favourite-son Penkelemes could lose so woefully to Makinde in 2019 when the Governor was a political neophyte, then APC strategists should know they don’t have any hope against Makinde in 2023 especially now that he’s running with a man of stupendous integrity whom no one can rival his political strength in Oke-Ogun coupled with the backing of all Royal fathers in the zone, Barrister Abdul-raheem Lawal.
Lest anyone mistakes his candour for some form of affection for Governor Seyi Makinde as the fact still remains that the result of the 2023 governorship election has long been won the day Seyi Makinde declared for second term. This is the current state of Nigerian politics.
While Oyedeji is entitled to his opinions, it is unjust for him to foresee a Makinde’s victory in 2023 purely on the basis of incumbency. It is even more unfair to discount the effects of Makinde’s performance in office, as if Oyo state’s voters are blind and deaf; as if the Makinde-led administration did not construct 56 Model Schools and complete the renovation of 200 Primary Health Care Centres in its drive to ensure the existence of at least one functional PHC in each of the 351 Electoral Wards of the state.
As if the governor hadn’t constructed a number of roads that have had a positive impact on the state’s economy by fostering a thriving environment for players in the private sector in the agribusiness sector and consolidating progress already made in the education sector, road infrastructure, and agribusiness, among other areas.
In fact, the increased private sector participation in the agribusiness sector has enabled the state to attract ₦23 Billion in agribusiness investments, as well as securing another 125 million dollars in development partners-blended finance for rural roads, agro logistics, market and industrial hubs which have contributed to providing direct and indirect jobs to residents of the state.
As if the state hadn’t also trained nearly 4,050 young people in agribusiness, of whom 98 have already established their own companies. The state plans to support the remaining individuals in a variety of agribusiness ventures.
It goes without saying that the governor Makinde administration finished the first phase of the renovation of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Adamasingba, Ibadan, which resulted in a doubling of the facility’s revenue and a projected increase of 300% when completed.
What about the commissioning of the Ojoo and Challenge Bus Terminals, which have already been off-peak accommodating up to 10,000 passengers daily, as well as the installation of more than 280 kilometers of public lighting as part of the “Light up Oyo” project? This has not only enhanced economic activities as markets remain open for longer, but it has also improved the security in the state.
To be clear, even Makinde’s critics in 2019 have acknowledged the administration’s transformative agenda for modern Oyo state as exceptional and unprecedented. Due credit must thus always be given, which is exactly what I’m doing.
Since he was elected Governor by divine providence, Makinde has attracted the loudest opposition ever, and his opponents are very terrified of him. Every trick in the book has been thrown at him to stop him from becoming Governor and from continuing to be Governor. At every turn, this has failed woefully. The evidence indicates that the opposition is convinced that Makinde is unstoppable.
Therefore, rather than facing him at the poll in 2023, the focus has been more on preventing him from being re-elected and undermining his rule. Weaklings are not generally feared by people. The party defectors who are attempting to topple him are his greatest adversaries. But can they ever succeed given the sizable number of voters who are fasting and praying for his reelection, especially civil servants?
The fear of Makinde became the political wisdom of the cabal. This has manifested in a number of shenanigans in the last 3 years. However, the outcome of these has only been to strengthen GSM’s position as he proceeds to go to the electorate again in 2023 to seek a second-term in office.
Governor Seyi Makinde has shown greater concern for the needs of party members and political appointees than any other incumbent governor in Oyo State history by giving them utility vehicles. Being the first governor to ever refund all aspirants who were defeated in the party’s primary election.
Again, Makinde is still the only governor in Oyo state’s history to have made sure that workers and pensioners received their paychecks on or before the 25th of each month, which is now known as the GSM date.
The workers who consistently receive their 13-month “alerts” in December commend Governor Makinde for keeping his promise to pay workers at the designated GSM date and the regular 13-month salary each December. He has also been paying 13th month allowances for all employees in the State since December 2019.
The Governor also authorized the payment of N10,000.00 to all pensioners in the state as a Christmas Turkey bonus, a first in the annals of Oyo State. The state government of Oyo paid all workers and pensioners their December salaries a few days before to the bonus, and since then, this kind of gesture has drawn praise from those outside of the state and calls for other governors to follow suit.
The effective leadership of Makinde has continued to enrage opposition members to the point that they occasionally adopt a new approach and opt to use fire and brimstone. As they recently demonstrated in Oyo town, where one of the Peoples Democratic Party’s top leaders, Mudashiru, was killed by their thugs, their only weapon is violence. They were aware that they could not win the election against Makinde, thus their main goal was to keep him from seeking reelection.
Makinde used a mystic to win the 2019 election, completely outnumbering the opponents. Alao Akala, a late former governor, boasted that a candidate without prior political experience or position cannot prevail. However, in the end, he soundly defeated and even crushed him.
During the 2019 election, Makinde undauntedly fought on like a brave warrior and by quickly blocking all loopholes including the sudden defection of a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala to APC two weeks to the gubernatorial poll.
He shifted his attention to Ogbomoso North and South local government areas where Alao-Akala had always been holding the ace.
The APC’s imposition of Mr. Jagba on other party chieftains seems to have laid the stage for its downfall since his selection was like a sledgehammer on a delicate egg—it shattered everything.
All those who united efforts and failed to beat GSM at the polls have now abandoned the party to the point where Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s presidential candidate, has yet to officially support him. Where will the victory come from in 2023 then?
Oyedeji Ahmed O is SSA Oyo State to Deputy Governor on Public Affairs.