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OYO101: Lost Battle— What Happens If Makinde’s Insistence On Ayu’s Removal Hit the Brick Wall? | Muftau Gbadegesin
As the crisis rocking the main opposition PDP reaches the boiling point; indications have emerged that the party’s status quo may remain. For the party’s stability in the next election, top members opined that retaining the party’s helmsman is critical – a devastating blow to the anti-Ayu camp. Those pushing for this line of thought appear hell-bent regardless of the pushback and backlash their positions have generated. In a way, it seems the forces behind the non-zoning of the Presidential ticket to the south are alive, kicking, and undaunted.
At the heart of this thinking was the need to field a candidate that could clinch victory in the next poll. For the most part, a Northern candidate became the most clandestinely preferred to fly the flag at the detriment of the country’s fractured unity, stability, and inclusivity. Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto led this charge with mirthful confidence. At the height of his intervention on the Party’s Presidential ticket, Tambuwal’s speech on party supremacy over the zoning formula reflected the inner recesses of his mind and those on his side – “once the party wins the election” he was widely reported as saying “zoning can be brought to the table”.
Adding that for a party that is passionate about winning the election, its focus and priority should be centered on the careful selection of its candidate. For Tambuwal and others in his shoes, PDP’s survival in other words trumps the country’s survival. More reason the crisis rattling the party has defied all solutions. Reconciliation, negotiation, and peace meetings have all failed. As it stands, the party is likely heading into the next election with a visibly divided house – a bad omen for that party that has found itself in the political wilderness for the past seven years. But at the opposite end of Governor Tambuwal’s power over people is the gregarious, outspoken Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. A fearless, political strategist, Governor Wike currently leads a camp of five other Governors, including Seyi Makinde of Oyo state inclusive.
From May till now, Governor Wike’s consistent and relentless blitzkrieg against the PDP appears far more damaging and threatening than even attacks from the APC. He has taken the party to the cleaners countless time; reminding those who betrayed the agreement and arrangement to get set for the day of reckoning. To express his rage towards the PDP, Governor Wike and his group have continuously engaged in what could best be termed anti-party activities: speaking ill of the party, calling for the removal of its National Chairman, romancing with members of other political parties – notable among which are the APC and the LP. In fact, the crisis has festered to an extent that the group might not support its party’s Presidential candidate. In a rare moment of public intervention on the matter, the introverted Governor Seyi Makinde gave a passionate speech on the PDP internal wrangling. Unusually, Governor Makinde’s Abia speech shed more light on the heart of the crisis rocking the party. He lamented the party’s breach of a simple agreement and lack of respect for the country’s diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity. He wondered why a party that cannot restructure itself is promising Nigerians restructuring once its clinched victory in Nigeria’s crucial 2023 election.
Governor Makinde didn’t mince words when he again reiterated his group’s call for the removal of the party’s National chairman, Iyorchia Ayu. More importantly, the Governor also made the same passionate appeal to the Party’s Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar on the same subject matter – at a meeting with the southwest leaders of the party in Ibadan. For excluded party members to have a sense of belonging, the group noted, PDP must not just talk in areas of inclusion and integration, it must walk its talks. In essence, Wike’s camp appears interested in ensuring PDP lives up to its words.
In Oyo state, for instance, that kind of call is like a kettle calling the pot black. Governor Makinde has not only excluded those instrumental to his electoral victory in 2019, but he has also ensured his bootlickers are strategically placed in various cash cow agencies. That a Governor who has exercised all manner of crass high-handedness, treated some loyal party members with utter disrespect and disdain and turned inclusivity on its head could allege others of the same. But maybe that’s politics by the way: a game that has been so defined and described as dangerous, dirty, and murky. Even in Rivers, Governor Wike has been widely reported to have entrenched a culture of impunity and reduced that of inclusivity to the backseat.
What’s more when the kettle calls the pot black? The same Governor Wike with the covert support of Governor Makinde that masterminded the removal of Prince Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman due to personal ambition is the one crying over spilled milk. They’ve forgotten the law of karma: that what goes around comes around. In effect, nothing notable will happen once Iyorchia Ayu survived Wike’s brainstorm. But for Governor Makinde, that plot may dent his chances of winning re-election.
OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s Opinion about Issues affecting Oyo state, published on Saturdays. He can be reached via @TheGMAKing on Twitter, firstname.lastname@example.org and 09065176850