“To those saying I keep visiting Aso Rock, should I be making those constant visits to Yola?” Makinde
Last year January, I set out to explore and exploit politics and politicking from behind the scenes in its raw, stark, and undiluted form. You can experience politics through media angle, and party politics perspectives, to name just two. It was one of my New Year’s resolutions. And I expected to be excited and flabbergasted. I knew what to expect but also knew what not to expect might be the icing on the cake – the intrigues and subterfuges, the attacks and counterattacks, tactics, the tricks.
Expectations Vs. Reality
I expected to be in the boiler room where press releases and statements were being cooked. I expected to be taught Politics 101; one that is different from Harold Maxwell’s introduction to politics. Like other newbies, I braced myself for the ultimate political showdown and smackdown.
In addition, I wanted to see what politics means to politicians when the camera lenses are not clicking or when journalists are not prodding them. I wanted to see what goes on in power, politics, and politicking – from behind the veil.
Watching from behind the scenes should be fun, I concluded. When politicians seek power, nothing is too much to sacrifice and compromise – that’s quite obvious. No matter how excessively and extremely long the road is, politicians won’t mind in so far it leads them to power and privileges. To the clever among them, the game called politics is a marathon and not a sprint. They scheme, plot, and plan. Call them master strategists, con masters, double-standard humans, and narrative twisters, and you are fittingly and perfectly right.
Outside looking in, the upright guy today won’t mind bending his principles to satisfy his desire. Dreams can die. Ambition can fly but power, through political and persuasive means can only be sacrificed when defeat is imminent. And even at that, as eternal optimists, they look ahead with unbelievable optimism and enthusiasm for future contests. As one contest winds up, politicians start to scheme for the next one. So, don’t be surprised that politicians have started to dissipate energy and resources toward the 2027 race. Governance can take the backseat stage but power must be firmly held and consolidated at every turn of events.
Oyo In The Eyes of the Storm
The last election in Oyo state witnessed a series of political agreements and alignments. Party affiliations especially in the guber contests played infinitesimal roles. It was a perfect birth of PDAPC! While it was quite evident that the incumbent, Governor Seyi Makinde had the brightest chances of winning the election, the margin with which he did so was completely unimaginable. Fortunately, the various factors at play at that time have started to emerge. For one, there were reports of sabotage and backstabbing but nobody knows the extent to which they were carried out. Recall the gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Senator Teslim Folarin once stirred controversy when he alleged that he was thrown under the bus by some part bigwigs. Many believed that he was paid the same coin for daring some party stalwarts, particularly in the way party tickets were doled out.
Others conjectured that the decision of the G-5 governors (GSM, included) to back President Bola Tinubu against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP tilted the game against the former Senate leader. So many speculations and insinuations about the election that was won fairly and squarely.
Against the run of play
In the early days of President Tinubu’s Presidency, only a few Governors had the ears of the President: Governor Makinde was among them. He visited the seat of power in the first few days, weeks, and months of this administration than he did in the last regime. He had to throw jibe at the people who expressed concerns at the frequency of his visit to the President, “should I be making those constant visits to Yola?”. On the other hand, it was an open secret that the Governor was a toast to the President. He was part of the President’s delegation to the Republic of Benin and, the United Nations General Assembly, among others. On June 2, 2023, alongside Nyesom Wike and James Ibori, Governor Makinde visited the President in the Villa. Speaking to a state house correspondent seven months ago, Governor Makinde noted that, the G-5 Governor would continue to seek equity, and justice in the new administration. When the subsidy removal was announced, Governor Makinde was among the first defenders of the President’s decision. He called for calm and urged Nigerians to back the implementation of subsidy removal on June 9, 2023. He also took the Federal government’s five-billion-naira palliative measure without raising any objection. He was pleased with everything until the 10th of January, 2024’
Hardship: Removal of Fuel Subsidy untimely – Makinde
Untimely? But you supported it without batting an eye. You were at the forefront of advising Nigerians to back the removal and be patient with the President. What has changed in just seven months? Two answers would suffice. One hinges on federal appointment. When you look at the dimension of federal appointments from Oyo state, you will see a recurrent pattern: beneficiaries are mostly APC people. Efforts to change that haven’t yielded any tangible results. For example, President Tinubu’s first appointment incidentally came from Oyo state: State Chief of Protocol, Victor Adeleke. Fortunately, he wasn’t a politician nor openly identified with any party. Until his appointment, he was Nigerian ambassador to Ethiopia. Oloye Adebayo Adelabu, Nigeria’s Minister of Power, another federal appointment from Oyo state was the gubernatorial candidate of the Accord party in the last election.
He was rewarded for his loyalty to the President and not the party. He is fully back in the folds of Oyo APC. Zaccheus Adedeji Adelabu, Executive Chairman of, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is also an APC man. He served as the Commissioner for Finance under Senator Abiola Ajimobi. Titilope Gbadamosi, SA to the President on Youth Initiatives (Delivery and Monitoring) is also a staunch APC chieftain. You may look at the lists of appointments once again. The assumption in the Governor’s camp was that backing the President in the last election would automatically translate to securing federal appointments for his cronies. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. It’s seven solid months and nothing in that direction is in sight.
Wike X Fubara
Governor Seyi Makinde has a deep reservation for the embattled Rivers Governor Sim Fubara. Insiders revealed that Makinde is opposed to the removal of the Governor by FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike. This protracted difference continues to pit the two politicians against each other. Throwing a stone at the Villa is a message to those inside. And fighting against your godfather who’s the landlord in Abuja also point to your unwillingness to frequent Abuja as before.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what politicians liked a lot. Fight to distract the common man. Do we have business meddling into their affairs? And we may ask the Governor: When next are you visiting the Villa?
OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about issues affecting Oyo state and is published every Saturday. He can be reached via @muftaugbade on X, firstname.lastname@example.org and 09065176850.