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By: Raji Adebayo

Prior to the 2019 governorship election in Oyo State, some political parties and gladiators had come together to support the candidature of Seyi Makinde in a bid to get rid of the then ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). RAJI ADEBAYO reports that 15 months after Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) assumed office through the coalition, members of the alliance still maintain that the governor is yet to fulfill the terms and conditions of the pact.

Earlier before the 2019 governorship election in Oyo State, most of the politicians that had moved to other parties between 2011 and 2015 general elections returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

They included a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja from Accord Party (AP), current Governor Seyi Makinde from Social Democratic Party (SDP), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin and Chief Sarafadeen Alli also from AP, among others. They all moved back to the PDP to form a strong opposition to the then ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the late former governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

But, as 2019 gubernatorial election approached and during the process of picking the candidate through the primary, there were series of political scheming, which made the most senior politician, Ladoja and most of the aspirants to leave the PDP again.

While defecting to African Democratic Congress (ADC), Ladoja recounted efforts by him to stabilise the PDP in the state and in the country but declared that those sacrifices went unrecognised.

Knowing the danger of allowing Ladoja to leave the PDP, Makinde, who was then an aspirant appealed to him (Ladoja) not to do such.

But, Ladoja insisted then that he had no option than to dump the PDP over alleged impunity by the national leadership of the political party in the harmonisation of its executives in the state.

Ladoja and his people initially moved to ADC but during the primary process, the party could not agree on a consensus candidate, and he and most of his loyalists again dump ADC for Zenith Labour Party (ZLP). Senator Lanlehin and his people stayed behind in the ADC.

Eventually Lanlehin got the ticket of ADC, while former Secretary to the State Government, Sarafadeen Alli, got the ticket of ZLP.

As the election date drew nearer and sensing the danger in contesting in their various parties, series of meetings were held at the Bodija residence of Ladoja to form a coalition against the ruling APC.

Four days to the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, the other parties and their candidates agreed to form an alliance with the PDP and its candidate, Makinde, against the gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.

The parties whose gubernatorial candidates stepped down for Makinde were ADC (Lanlehin); Action Alliance, ZLP (Sarafadeen Alli) and SDP (Ayorinde).

Also involved in the merger plans was the Alliance for Democracy (AD) whose state chairman was present at the meeting.

While stepping down, all the gubernatorial candidates of the other parties told the massive crowd at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, that they had agreed to renounce their ambitions to pave way for the emergence of the PDP candidate.

While speaking on behalf of others, Lanlehin said, “The coalition agreed to decisions reached thereto, after a series of meetings and consultations. Those gathered here, respectable governorship candidates of our various political parties and others have agreed to form an alliance.”

And the term of the agreement from one angle said if the PDP candidate, Seyi Makinde eventually wins, the sharing formula would be PDP 50 percent; ADC, 30 percent; and SDP 15 percent, while the other partners take the remaining five percent.

But after the election, lots of intrigues have set in, which made the other candidates that formed the coalition withdraw from the coalition.

Lanlehin, one of the major political actors who worked with Makinde to defeat the APC and its candidate, was the first to fire the salvo, by announcing his withdrawal from the coalition.

Lanlehin, who hinged his decision to quit the coalition on what he termed Governor Makinde’s non-compliance with the spirit and letters of the terms of the gubernatorial pre-election agreement reached, however, maintained that his party, the ADC, is at liberty to remain in the coalition, and believes it should, in fact, remain.

He maintained that he remains a committed member of the ADC, but would adopt a ‘siddon look’ posture in the governance of Oyo State and allied matters.

Few weeks after Lanlehin announced his withdrawal from the coalition, ZLP candidate, Sarafadeen Alli also accused Governor Makinde of abandoning his party after it helped him to win the election.

Alli said the governor has denied the ZLP political patronage, in alleged repudiation of the agreement between them.

According to him, “A man’s word should also be his bond. The governor should go into retrospect and review our 2019 political coalition agreement. Our party, the ZLP had been largely abandoned and relegated in the scheme of things, especially political patronage. The governor should seize this moment and do the needful. I wish him the best as he pilots the affairs of our state.”

Speaking in the same vein, some ADC candidates in the 2019 Oyo State House of Assembly election also urged Makinde to honour coalition agreements reached with the party on the eve of the poll.

A spokesman for the group, Gaphar Ojetola, said Makinde had failed to redeem his promises and agreements reached with the ADC governorship candidate, Lanlehin.

“We regret to announce that more than a year into this government till date, Makinde has not fulfilled any of the agreements reached between our principal, Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin.”

The group said they were direct casualties and sacrificial lambs of the alliance as the ADC lost all its 32 House of Assembly seats to the coalition.

“The body language of the governor is that of abandonment to fulfilling his own part of the agreement despite that we have staked everything possible to his electoral victory at the polls.

“That victory was our joint effort and the terms of the promises should be fulfilled without further delay.

“We have sacrificed so much to be abandoned, used and dumped, ignored or treated in this manner. We should be setting good precedence, as we did in the last election.”

It noted that they did not request and were not given any financial compensation before consenting to the terms of the alliance, adding that they were repeatedly assured of consideration for political appointments.

According to the group, these assurances were also reemphasised with us by the governor during his thank-you visit to Sen. Lanlehin residence.

Reacting to the development, Special Adviser to Makinde on Political Matters, Babatunde Oduyoye, stated that in as much as the Governor is committed to the coalition between his ruling PDP and other parties, ADC, ZLP, SDP and others, he noted that Lanlehin, who said he had pulled out of the coalition, did so in bad faith.

According to him in a statement, “It is more shocking to read Senator Lanlehin’s allegation that his decision was hinged on Governor Seyi Makinde’s infidelity to the coalition agreement.

“That allegation, to say the least, is a clear affront on the sincerity of Governor Makinde and his magnanimous disposition in handling all the discussions about the coalition.

“Let us also state without equivocation that the claim by the Senator is untrue, unjustifiable and inconsistent with the reality of it all.”

Oduyoye, maintained that the governor could not be accused of non-compliance by any party, because he had lived up to his promise to all parties to the coalition and in some cases “even bending backward to accommodate all interests.”

He said that the governor has lived up to his promise not only to Senator Lanlehin, but also to all members of the coalition, saying that the committee reached an agreement, which was signed by all the parties and tabled before the governor.

He said that the agreement contained a template for the sharing of positions in government as well as membership of boards and parastatals, noting that procedures have been set in motion for the actualisation of the template.

According to Oduyoye, the apex committee of the coalition parties had met over three times, with agreements reached and tabled at a meeting with the governor, adding that the governor even improved on the agreement to further accommodate interests in the ADC and the ZLP.

“There was no dissenting voice from all the representatives of the parties at the meeting with Governor Makinde. Everyone commended the governor on his handling of the matter. Senator Lanlehin only had issues with the other leaders of the ADC when they were discussing how to share the positions allotted to the ADC.

“He should not in any way attempt to drag the name of Governor Makinde to the frustrations he is encountering in his party.

“If Senator Lanlehin withdraws from the coalition, he must have done so as an individual, because we are aware that the ADC as a party remains an integral part of the coalition as leaders of the party have repeatedly pledged their fidelity to the coalition.

“We believe that the coalition was not put together merely to further any personal aspiration other than the collective interests of the people of Oyo State.”

But investigation revealed that the coalition is not working as planned as a result of struggle among the political gladiators in preparing soft landing by various caucus ahead of the 2023 election.

Speaking with a prominent politician in the state who claimed anonymity, he disclosed that no politician would empower his perceived political opposition within the same party or other parties.

He said this is what is playing out in the coalition. According to him, “Truth must be told, no politician will enrich his rival and this is what is going on within the coalition. Those who dropped their ambition for Governor Makinde in 2019 are still nursing ambition for 2023 election, and as such Makinde will never give them any appointment.

“Age might not be on the side of Senator Lanlehin, but people like Sarafadeen and others still have opportunity to contest in 2023, so giving people in those camp any political appointment will amount to political suicide.

“It is very glaring that considering the people in Governor Makinde’s cabinet, the governor is building his own political empire ahead of 2023 so that he can do away with the coalition.”

By oyonews

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