Oyo Governorship: Makinde’s foray in Oke-Ogun
The beauty of democracy is the expected involvement of all the citizens. Though not everybody participates, nobody can claim not to be aware of the electoral process leading to the emergence of elected office holders. Thus, in Oyo State, the five political parties that could be said to be in the serious race for the Agodi
Government House occupation as from 29th May this year, led by their governorship candidates, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Sen. Teslim Kolawole Folarin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Engr. Seyi Makinde of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Labour Party (LP), and Sen. Rashidi Ladoja of Accord, had in the last couple of weeks stormed the various parts of the state canvassing for votes. Of significance is the presumably new party among the big five, the SDP, which against all expectations has proved its seriousness in the race so far with the way and manner it stormed the Oke-Ogun area of the state. It would be recalled that Makinde was among the front runners then jostling for the PDP? gubernatorial ticket before he called it quits when it became obvious that his ambition could not be accommodated within the party’s framework. But his activities ahead of the PDP congress where the governorship candidate eventually emerged had been discovered to have wet the ground for him in his new party. In all the nooks and crannies of the state, only the party, SDP, could be said to be new and not Makinde. To make the case better for him is the fact that the name of the party itself is only new in this dispensation but not new to the political history of the country, being one of the two military-decreed political parties during the transition programme midwived by the Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd) administration. In all the major towns of the Oke-Ogun area visited by the campaign train of the SDP governorship candidate, it was glaring that he was not a push- over going by the huge crowd of people that trooped out to welcome him.
Of note was the visit of Makinde to the palaces of the various monarchs? in the area, none of which claimed not to know him among the monarchs. Not only was the monarchs received him warmly, virtually all of them attested to the fact that the SDP flag-bearer had at one point in time or the other did something for their communities following which they promised that they would support his ambition. The monarchs maintained that if the young man could be that caring, using his personal resources to meet the needs of the people, he would be fantastic in government. In all the palaces at Ago-Are, Tede, Saki, Ago-Amodu, Sepeteri, Igbeti, Kisi, Okeho, Iganna, Iseyin, Ado-Awaye, Ogbooro,? among others?, the message was the same, how the geographical zone would feel more government presence under the SDP administration to be led by Makinde aside the torrents of prayers rained on him and his team. In addition to that was the issue of welfare of the Obas with emphasis on the five per cent statutory allocation from the local government monthly fund, which successive administration in the state had been paying, using net income instead of gross.
At the entrance of each of the towns visited, the youths on motor-cycles would gather in large number and lead the Makinde entourage to the town, shouting ‘omi o’, ‘omi o’, ‘omi o’, the word picked from his campaign slogan, ‘Omi Titun’ (Fresh water or new spring as the case may be). With this shout of ‘Omi o’ at any of the gatherings, they were creating artificial rainfall with the hawkers of satchet water recording high sales. The youths would buy satchet water, puncture it as they raised it up, shouting ‘omi o’ and dancing round in ecstasy, they would be spraying themselves with water, Makinde himself not spared, it was fun to behold them in the joyous mood! In Kisi, the headquarters of Irepo Local Government area, it was a different ball game as the crowd of youths that welcomed the Makinde train was unprecedented. This, it was gathered had to do with the emergence of one of their own, ‘son of the soil’, Suleiman Adediran, popularly known as ‘Santana’, who had served the council as Chairman for years as the deputy to Makinde.
The speech of Sabiganna of Iganna, Oba Saliu Oyemonla Azeez in Iwajowa Local Government area of the state in his welcome address, when Makinde led his team to the palace could be taken as the voice of other Obas in the geo-political zone. The monarch
requested for the multiplication of the campuses of Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki to engender development of the Oke-Ogun area of the state. His request was based on the recently upgraded
former Saki Campus of The Polytechnic, Ibadan to a full-fledged institution and renamed Oke-Ogun Polytechnic. With the institution running a multi-campus system, Oba Azeez said by such multiplication of the campuses, his town, Iganna would benefit and open up to development. The monarch also asked Makinde, who he described as a complete gentleman not to allow the position to take him away from the people when he gets to office, saying, “you politician always start on a good note, but, you suddenly change over and become another thing.
You appear different from the traditional politicians I’m talking about from your mien and manner of approach and this is a reflection of your exposure to the developed democracies which we are hoping to benefit from your administration as from the 29th of May this year”.
He assured him of the total support of the people of the town, who he said had embraced the party right from its inception and with particular reference to the unalloyed support being given to him by Chief Micheal Adegbite, described as a star of the ancient town and a politician of national stature.
The message by Makinde in all the places visited was that of hope, to give the people of the state new lease of life. He assured the monarchs in the state that not only would his administration ensure that the government “is truly brought nearer to the people by conducting local government election within the first six months of his being sworn-in, the position of traditional rulers would also be enhanced by paying them five percent statutory allowance from the local government allocation”.
Makinde solicited for the support and prayer of the monarch for the actualization of the SDP laudable and life-changing programmes, stressing that his party “is committed to poverty eradication through job creation and women empowerment”. He said the Oke-Ogun people should count themselves lucky because of their centrality to his administration in view of the land resource they are endowed with. The SDP governorship hopeful revealed that agriculture would be the fulcrum of his economic agenda for the state and the vast land in Oke-Ogun would be utilized, adding, “the development we are talking about will come to this area in a way that you all will be surprised, we have our agenda for the total transformation of the state. We are prepared to serve the people and not our pockets, friends or family members, what we are doing with you people is entering into a covenant and we want to be held accountable to you. We assure you of total commitment to your welfare and create and enduring future for our younger generation”.