By Adebiyi Adedapo
The popular saying that “What goes around comes around” hurriedly came to my mind when I read the reactions of the senator representing Oyo South, Muhammed Kola Balogun, to the conspiracy of betrayal he suffered from his erstwhile political ally, Governor Seyi Makinde.
Makinde reportedly denied the senator a return ticket to the Red Chamber on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and handed the ticket to a new entrant into the party, Magaji Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe. Tegbe was a close ally of the immediate past governor, Abiola Ajimobi and as a matter of fact, he was Ajimobi’s favourite APC gubernatorial aspirant in the build-up to the 2019 elections, before superior interests prevailed upon the late governor to support a former CBN deputy governor, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.
My reflections on the recent political developments in our dear state, particularly from 2015 leave me with no option but to conclude that Governor Makinde is a serial betrayer who would throw anyone under the bus without blinking an eye, especially those who have the credit of assisting him to power. However, as bad as Makinde’s politics may be, Balogun should also have a very large chunk of the blame to share. In a poetic expression of the 1946 post-war confessional prose by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller(1892–1984). He said; “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
The above quote was about the silence of German intellectuals and certain clergy—including, by his admission, Niemöller himself—following the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent incremental purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
Balogun who is now wailing like a banshee had all along been part of Governor Makinde’s disdain for party loyalists who laboured very hard to ensure victory for the PDP in 2015. It is quite intriguing that Balogun had to leave the party, the way he did when he’d fought on the side of the governor to betray party stalwarts.
I had a deep, throaty belly laugh when I read that the governor accused Senator Balogun of not taking care of the party leaders in the senatorial district. Balogun, just like his ‘boss’, Makinde was a returnee into the PDP but the duo were handed the governorship and senatorial tickets respectively. Both the governor and the senator occupied the most powerful positions in government from the PDP, but rather than appreciate those who helped them to secure victory at the polls, they treated the platform which brought them into power with disdain, manipulated and hijacked the party structure so much that many PDP bigwigs are now scampering for political shelter.
When Makinde’s acclaimed godfather, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeniyan, was treated like a mere poster boy in the party and the party chairman in Ibadan North/East, Mr Taiwo Iyiola, and other party loyalists in the same local government where Balogun hails from were treated unfairly just for identifying with Olopoeniyan, Senator Balogun never raised a finger, as he enjoyed the flow.
Olopoenioyan, after fighting so hard to remain relevant in the PDP had to resign from the party. He has since pitched his tent with former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
When the former House Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, who was the liaison between Abuja and Ibadan for Makinde ahead of 2019, was sidelined after victory at the polls, Balogun felt that ‘betrayal’ was normal in politics, he did not at least intervene in the imbroglio. Akande-Adeola, having seen the handwriting on the wall, also left the party for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to retry her luck for the Oyo North Senate.
Similarly, when the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Oyo State, Olufemi Lanlehin, who at the last minute worked to ensure victory for Makinde, shortly after the election withdrew from the coalition that helped install the current PDP government in the state, Balogun felt a sigh of relief.
Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola also had his fair share of Makinde’s betrayal spree. He had tactically pitched his tent with the governor while the South-West party crisis lasted, and as such ensured that Makinde’s choice of zonal executives emerged at the 2021 Oshogbo zonal congress of the party. Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja who rejoined PDP in 2020, after his political voyage to the APC and ADC emerged as the zonal vice chairman. But the former Osun State governor was ‘rewarded’ in Makinde’s usual style. When it was time to get the governor’s support for the position of deputy national chairman (South), Makinde ditched him and opted for his loyalist, Arapaja, who was already the zonal vice chairman.
I do not want to continue mentioning names of political bigwigs who have tasted Makinde’s bitter pill, rather, I will allow the state’s deputy governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan; former deputy governor, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarunmi; former SSG Sarafadeen Abiodun Alli, Femi Babalola; Babatunde Oduyoye and others to tell their own stories.
It is indeed true that you cannot plant onions and harvest cassava. Senator Balogun has reaped exactly what he sowed. others, including the new bride, Magaji Tegbe, and Makinde himself should watch out!
*Adedapo, an Abuja based journalist, hails from Ibadan.