By Babajide Balogun
In Oyo State, there is absolutely no confusion about the fact that the scenario playing out within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party where some senior members of the party are expressing open hostility against Governor Seyi Makinde of the same PDP is a classic case of political backstabbing. Between the governor and his traducers, someone or both parties must be in the wrong.
For any observer of political developments in the PDP in Oyo State before the last governorship election, the current hostility which some of the chieftains of the party are throwing at Governor Seyi Makinde was almost inescapable. During the primaries for the gubernatorial ticket of the party, many amongst the chieftains of the PDP at the state level of the party did not have Mankinde as their choice candidate. In most part, they saw him as a stranger in the PDP who had crossed from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in order to usurp their privileges. Even though that was not to be, as Makinde gave a warm embrace to all of them.
But despite his openness, their fear was that Makinde had a very formidable grassroots network across the state and he possessed a financial war-chest that could give the incumbent APC a tough run for its money. He came with a humongous capital and it was not unexpected that Makinde came out victorious in the contest for the PDP’s ticket.
Then, it came to the time for campaigns for the general election. It is not a secret that a lot of stakeholders of the PDP left Makinde to face his campaign alone with no form of a tangible support. For some of them, they would prefer the APC winning the election so that they can run again in 2023. For some others, they merely hate the idea that Makinde was not ready to submit himself to adopt them as a godfather. Many a time, they would even hold meetings without inviting him and rumour was rife that quite a few of them was actively working for the APC to win the election.
The moment Makinde secured the ticket of the PDP was the time that some of the leaders of the party began to hobnob with the APC up to the point that they even publicly refused to support the PDP candidate for Oyo Central senatorial district and pursued the litigation of the APC against the PDP winner of that election up until the Supreme Court.
For Governor Makinde who is at the receiving end of these games of betrayal, there are strings of options before him to consider. The governor could choose to be agnostic about happenings in the party; pretend that everything is fine and move on with the hope that, someday, his enemies within would beat a retreat and begin to be loyal to him. He could choose to fight back openly and escalate the tension in a way that would distract him with heavy consequences on his ability to provide good governance for the citizenry. The State has witnessed this kind of eruption before in the days of the conflict between late High Chief Lamidi Adedibu and then governor Rashidi Ladoja. Governor Makinde might also quite well be taciturn in dishing out revenge to the disloyal elements.
The truth of the matter, however, is that should the turf war within the PDP get more intense and the people are to take a side between Governor Makinde and his challengers, not only would the people side with the governor on account of his performance, they might also cast his challengers as enemies of public interest.
The Makinde administration has opened up Oyo State to a fortune of good governance in a way that the people have not seen in a long time. Taking the path of confrontation with such a performing governor like Makinde is an act of political indiscretion. In the contrary, anyone who is a member of the PDP in Oyo State should be proud of Governor Makinde and be reasonable enough to support the governor in his drive to deliver good governance to the people.
Within two years, Oyo state has seen massive investment in public education such that gone are the days that every family even those with very lean means must send their children to private schools. I was reading in the news just recently how the governor went on an inspection of an education facility that was about collapsing. Why won’t the people love such a governor?
Pensioners in Oyo State affirm that in the first 18-months of Makinde administration, they have received payments more than what they collected in the 8 years of the previous administration. Likewise, civil servants not being owed one single month of salary since the inception of this PDP adminmistration. Why won’t the people fall in love with such a governor?
Infrastructure that have long been neglected in the state like hospitals and the Adamasingba stadium are having a turn around and new roads are being constructed, while at the same time the state is steadily growing its internally generated revenue – what kind of administrative wizardry the governor employs to make what seemed previously impossible now become a walk on the cake, no one understands. And, yet, politicians in the PDP are angry with the governor because he is not letting them loose to eat the destiny of Oyo State away. Why won’t the people love Governor Makinde?
One thing is clear: between feeding the insatiable appetite of the politician and the delivery of promises of good governance to the people, the Makinde administration has taken a side. The governor is with the people and the people, too, are with him.
And, if what it would take for Oyo State to keep soaring in Human Development Index is the fight that politicians from both sides of the isle have picked with the governor, then our prayer is that may the fight never end. We appeal with Governor Makinde to keep that fight on for as long as it can last.
Balogun wrote this piece from Oluyole Estate, Ibadan