OYO: In Hot Water— How Makinde’s Leadership Style Is Turning Members Against Party | Muftau Gbadegesin

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    In 2019, it is impossible to think about Governor Seyi Makinde’s victory without confronting the uncomfortable truth about the political coalition that propelled him into power. But coalition wouldn’t have been possible without the accommodating nature of some PDP members – many of who had stayed with the party through thick and thin. In essence, these PDP members magnanimously opened their arms to coalition members and allowed the Governor’s overbearing attitude despite snatching the gubernatorial ticket through the backdoor. In a way, it was PDP members who allowed all and sundry into their fold hoping such would pave the way for them in government.

    Importantly, they knew political power comes with a price, and being in power is far better than being out of it. As a matter of fact, they were acutely aware that coalition is massively inevitable, desirable, and most certainly the last straw that could break the APC Carmel’s back. For most of them, the interest of the party should unequivocally trump that of the individual, and no amount of sacrifice should be enough in the service of the party. But after waiting for eight years, many PDP members assumed the time to taste the intoxicating booze of power is now. Except that Governor Makinde and his kitchen cabinet had something different in mind which has left majority in political quandary – one that has created a more hellish experience than can be imagined.

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    ‘One week of a Hell’

    Governor Seyi Makinde granted an interview that unrivaled the kind of administrative malfeasance and mind-blowing corruption in his government. While speaking on a radio station in Ibadan on the 29th of October 2022, the Governor walked listeners through some of the consequential projects his government promised but failed to deliver. He mentioned the ineffective waste management, the planned reconstruction of the Agbowo shopping complex, and the challenges of relocating the destitute outside of the city. Unsurprisingly, the Governor also took a swipe at local government chairmen and principals of secondary schools for what he termed an insatiable sense of entitlement. For most parts, he was hailed for coming out openly to admit his faults. Expectedly, he was described as an unusual and unique politician. Similarly, his supporters praised him for embracing his imperfections. Most notably, opposition figures felt his admittance is untenable and unacceptable. As one commentator noted, Makinde’s one hell of a week is completely avoidable — if he had faced the business of governance and not of enriching cronies.

    ‘Cups of criticisms’

    For admitting to failures in those critical areas, most critics noted that such grandstanding only underscore their long-held doubt in his government’s ability to deliver on big promises. For instance, the opposition APC rained down on the Governor saying they weren’t surprised at such admittance. On his part, APC gubernatorial candidate, Senator Teslim Folarin mockingly said his government would not turn Oke-Ogun area of the state into a dumping ground for beggars. Citizens mostly from Irepo Local government, the proposed site for the Governor’s beggar-destitute project also had tough time contending with the Governor’s plan.

    But as Governor Makinde’s radio interview continued to open the floodgates of criticisms from the opposition, his deputy, Barrister Bayo Lawal dropped another bombshell capable of tearing Oyo PDP into tiny pieces. His open declaration for the Presidential candidate of the APC Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu came under immense and intense criticisms. For example, members of the party in Oke-Ogun are of the state were particularly infuriated. They blasted the Governor for pursuing self-centered agenda to the detriment of the party’s survival. They wondered why the Governor would be supporting APC in an election with PDP candidates. “It seems the Governor is under spell” one angry party member thundered in reaction to Governor Makinde’s open romance of APC.

    ‘Impending Implosion’

    The PDP under Governor Seyi Makinde is probably in its most polarizing state. Given the various outbursts and criticisms of the Governor by members of his party, it is evident there is an impending implosion waiting to erupt and destroy the PDP. The latest of such outbursts is the viral WhatsApp audio notes attributed to some ward leaders in the Oyo North Senatorial district of the state. In the audio notes, notable party members were heard saying the Governor is on a self-destructive mission one that will lead to his electoral downfall. From the notes, it was clear the vast majority of the party members are angry at the choice of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for the Presidency based on ethnicity. They wondered why Governor Nyesom Wike’s feud with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar would be allowed to spill over into the party’s choice of Presidential candidates — in Oyo state. For neglecting the welfare and well-being of party members, most of the speakers in the audio notes carpeted the Governor. Particularly, one speaker noted that Governor Makinde wouldn’t have won the last election without the support and backing of the coalition — an unimpeachable fact! He said it seems the Governor is under the influence of some unseen foresees and that it is better the Governor is called to order.

    ‘A recurrent pattern of neglect’

    ‘Why is local government administration now bad in Oyo state?, a councilor by the name of Omikunle wondered in the leak of WhatsApp audio notes made available to newsmen on May 1, 2022. ‘Our people in other states used to tell us that people said Seyi was rich even before he became governor. Some of us said the last administration embezzled money” he added. Both local politics and the economy have been strangulated by this government. While RMFAC officially stated that about twelve billion have been remitted to the local governments through the state government, only a tiny fraction of N300million has been disbursed to the 33 local government areas. Bimbo Kolade, Federal commissioner at RMFAC shed light on this allegation in a radio interview on Monday. He said by calculation, such allocation might even exceed the mind-boggling N12 billion.

    The partner of neglect in this government is the same. The puppets installed as council bosses across the state cannot even bark at such injustice because the system that produced them in the first place is unjust. But one thing is clear as Governor Makinde continues to drag Oyo PDP through the wilderness: He is unlikely to go scot-free!

    OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s Opinion about Issues affecting Oyo state, published on Saturdays. He can be reached via @TheGMAKing on Twitter, muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850

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