•How Their Loss Will Affect Gov. MAKINDE’s 2nd Term Chances
The biggest gist within the political circle in Oyo State presently is Governor Seyi Makinde’s second term ambition. The debate has been wether the outstanding performance of the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recently held Presidential and National Assembly elections will affect his second term ambition or not. In the 25th February polls, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under which Governor Makinde is seeking re-election, was massively defeated by APC.
APC didn’t only win the Presidential poll with 449,884 votes out of 809, 485 total valid votes cast but also swept the three senatorial districts – Oyo South, Oyo Central and Oyo North and eight House of Representatives seats. While PDP, the incumbent party managed to win only four Reps seats. The two remaining House of Reps seats, Oluyole and Ibadan North East/Ibadan South East were declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Of course, Makinde’s supposed alliance with the Presidential candidate of APC and President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is believed to be responsible for PDP failure during the polls. Recall that Makinde, alongside other four PDP governors tagged G5, has been at loggerhead with the national leadership of the party.
The G5 Governors, comprising Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, have insisted on resignation of PDP Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu. Their point of argument was that since the party had a presidential candidate from the North, Ayu should pave ways for a southerner to emerge as Chairman of the party. This unresolved crisis within PDP explains why Makinde refused to reckon with or campaign for the party’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Rather, he enjoined electorates in the state to vote for all PDP candidates in the National Assembly elections but vote national unity, equity and justice above political interest for the Presidential poll. Speaking when Tinubu paid him a courtesy call on the sidelines of his party’s campaign rally in Ibadan before February 25 polls, Makinde said his administration believed in putting people first, stating that “political players will come and go, but the country will remain.” The Governor also stated that if the G5 were to choose between their individual aspirations and the unity of the country, they will choose Nigeria’s unity.
This statement, probably, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for PDP . As the party failed woefully in both Presidential and National Assembly polls in Oyo State. But now that the dice is cast, there are insinuations of possible breakups within the party and protest votes against Makinde. Some political watchers in the state have opined that Makinde’s second term ambition may have been threatened with the outcomes of the last election.
They feel PDP candidates who lost out in the elections, as well as other members of the party won’t be happy with Makinde. The believe is that there is every likelihood for those who lost in the election to work against his second term ambition. There is also this allegation in some quarters that the governor is selfish and only care about his political ambition. Though this claim has been dismissed by some of Makinde’s loyalists, who have reiterated their supports for his re-election, irrespective of what has happened.
Meanwhile, another school of thought believe Oyo APC and its governorship candidate, Teslim Folarin will capitalise on the successes of the party in the Presidential and National Assembly elections and use same to their advantage. Not minding any arrangements that may be between Makinde and Tinubu. Even though there have been claims and counter claims as to whether Makinde really worked for Tinubu or not.
While some say there is an agreement between Makinde and Tinubu for the former to deliver Oyo State for Presidential election then get their support for his re-election in return. There is another story, however, suggesting that Makinde backtracked on his promises two days to election. This his new stand was said to have been captured in a newsletter sent out by Makinde on Thursday before the election. Where he allegedly admonished his supporters to vote and support all PDP candidates from “top to bottom” in the general elections.
The purported newsletter reads: “So, if you still have any undecided voters on your list, this is the time to call them up and help them decide to vote for the PDP from top to bottom in Oyo State.” “By next time I write you, we will, barring any electoral reruns, have a new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Vote wisely, this Saturday, so we do not have a repeat of the pains and suffering we have experience in the last eight years.”
To also proof that Makinde has no agreement with Tinubu, a prominent member of APC Presidential Campaign Committee in Oyo State, Nike Agbaje, last week Thursday, denied having a standing agreement with Makinde. Saying “the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, is a party man, who cannot joke with the success of APC across the country, especially the South-West which he regarded as his stronghold.”
She said Tinubu’s visit to Makinde was part of the PCC’s program for him to visit all the opposition governors whenever they are in their state. That it shouldn’t misconstrued for an endorsement by Makinde. As it stands now, it is obvious that Governor Makinde and his team have an extra work to do as far as March 11 guber election is concerned. For the ripple effect of the Presidential and National Assembly elections not to affect his second term chances, there must a serious awareness among the electorates. But whether he can scale through what is believed to be self-set landmine, only time will tell.
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