OYO101: Makinde, Tinubu And The Impossible Depth Of Politics | Muftau Gbadegesin

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    Outside the state secretariat on one blistering Thursday afternoon, February 16, 2023, two dangerous, deadly opposing sides locked horns. They are eternal enemies. And in fact, have clashed in the past and are ready to put daggers down each other’s throats. None of the two sides had imagined a day like this before. Most would discard it with a wave of their hands. Never. Abomination. Impossible. What started as an assumption, mere speculation, and silent whispering has now morphed into a stark political reality. Two leaders from two diametrically opposed sides having a chitchat about the prospect and potential of helping each other outwit their respective opponents. “Tough love,” you called it. Now, they are meeting, laughing, exceedingly relaxed, and calm in each other’s arms.

    More than once, the two leaders and the establishments they represented have thrown jibes at each other. It is not uncommon for their parties to drag each other through the crucible of outright lies, falsehoods, and needless propaganda. In power, survival can make two dreadful foes turn into brothers; no longer politicians with different ideas and ideologies. But one that can eat from the same pot and drink from the same cup. One day many months ago, Governor Seyi Makinde asked one anti-APC group in Lagos to break the shackles of entrenched godfatherism. In what is no longer news to the public, Governor Makinde has repeatedly and consistently echoed his disdain for the politics of godfatherism. He said only God the Father is sufficient for him; that he only bows to God in heaven and not the one on earth. Successfully, he has expertly clipped the wings of those playing God in his party and government. But now, the story is about to change.

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    Quite interestingly, the two opposing sides: APC and PDP are not here to fight. They are here to engage in something more consequential and substantial: prosecute and win at the polls. They called it a new, shining political bromance. The dalliance of two brothers. At the historic Mapo Hall, hundreds of thousands of supporters, admirers, and party faithful waited patiently for the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to show up. Most of them are dressed in APC-customized regalia.

    Many were already starving. Bitten by the sun and exhausted by the stress. But for the love of the party, they waited. At the Ibadan airport, the atmosphere reeks of fun and conviviality. On the radio, many listeners clung to their radio sets, preparing to hear from the leader himself. At about 2:39 p.m or thereabout, the Jagaban of Borgu landed, in his jet, accompanied by a retinue of politicians both from the state and beyond. They are all dressed in colorful ‘Agbada and fila abetiaja’; the most beautiful campaign outfit in the country! The pomp, pageantry, and panache were second to none—a true pace-setting, epoch making event.

    But one thing most supporters of Oyo APC never imagined was a deliberate attempt by the handlers of Asiwaju’s protocol to unnecessarily delay, deny and snubbed them for flimsy reasons. And that Asiwaju’s visitation to Governor Seyi Makinde appears to be a slap on their wrist – a thumb down for their sacrifices and efforts!

    While the visit wasn’t bad in itself, given how Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike also welcomed Asiwaju to his state, most supporters opined that such public ridicule of their efforts has cast a huge doubt on their enthusiasm, optimism, and resolve. It is especially so for those who came from outside of the state capital, Ibadan. And, for those who were unaware that President Buhari had delivered a speech contradicting the Supreme Court’s decision on the new note’s crisis.

    Most left their homes as early as six in the morning with the old notes, only to find out the naira denominations in their hands are no longer legal tender. In any case, politicians will always be politicians. And personal interest would always trump any other interest. Asiwaju is probably the only Nigerian politician who has the political dexterity to reach an impossible compromise with fellow politicians from another party. He has mastered the art of the deal, an adept negotiator. In the buildup to the 2015 elections, the former Lagos state governor deployed his political sagacity to woo five aggrieved PDP governors to the APC. Asiwaju’s ability to break through the wall of partisan politics is one trait that has set him apart from his peers. But the dynamics and dimensions are changing, very fast.

    By opposing the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential flagbearer of the PDP and the continuous stay in office of its National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, Governor Seyi Makinde and his aggrieved brother governors knew they were embarking on a journey of no return. Led by the outspoken Nyesom Wike of Rivers, the G-5 as they preferred to be called, have not relented in tormenting and troubling their party. They rejected all attempts at genuine reconciliation and promised to fight the injustice within the PDP with every fiber of their lives.

    When it became apparent that G-5 governors comprising Samuel Ortom of Benue, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, and the other above-mentioned governors will not support Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Peter Obi, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and other presidential hopefuls, peremptorily turned Port Harcourt to a sanctuary of sorts in research of political redemption.

    Together, they swarm Rivers like bees and curry Governor Wike and his brother’s favor. But the former Minister of State for Education would not back a candidate with no clear-cut chances of winning at the poll. He wasn’t ready to back an underdog when he could stake his claim on a top dog who could give Atiku Abubakar a run for his money.

    One inevitable downside of the G-5 deal is that it can undermine the chances of their party candidates at the first poll. For me, I think it’s risky to agree with the leading presidential candidate from another party when your people are also contesting against that same party on the same day at the same election. But I think such deal cut both ways. The two parties in other words may eventually bear the brunt. Additionally, I am not going to be naive enough to assume that politics itself isn’t a risky adventure. Joining active politics takes huge courage and perseverance to withstand all the shades of betrayal and backstabbing.

    But frankly, I also want to assumed that Governor Seyi Makinde must have weighed his options before making that crucial decision. Because at this stage, ditching one’s party at the detriment of another may not just backfire but can be counterproductive to one’s political survival. Of course, I want to believe that there must have been series of negotiations and renegotiations the public may not be aware of. But whatever is unknown may be irrelevant to the choice of the public. Now, Governor Seyi Makinde’s re-election bid is hanging on a thread. The first election will demystify my claim.

    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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