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OYO101: Makinde Vs Olaniyan: How Two Engineers Found Partnership Difficult, Becoming Enemies Easy | Muftau Gbadegesin


There is only thing difficult to manage than money: power. In the corridor of power, life can be brutal. It is this brutality that turns friends to foes, partners to rivals. And essentially, two Engineers against each other. Of course, it is no longer news that the relationship between Governor Seyi Makinde and his deputy, Engineer Raufu Olaniyan is frosty. This frosty relationship is evidenced in plethora of snubs, attacks, media trial, and of recent, high powered plot to oust the number two citizen of the state from office – while his boss, the Governor, looks elsewhere with mirthful abandon.

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Reports from various newspapers even confirmed that those behind the deputy’s touchy feely ordeals are neither resting nor ready to let the sleeping dog lie: they just want to send the old man back to his country home and install their own puppet who neither has the deep pocket to fund clandestine poli-tricking nor has a free mind to decide for himself. For instance, one paper reports that the plan to remove the deputy Governor is slated to take place in Ghana after which various frivolous charges will be brought up by the state lawmakers who will then ask the former State Permanent Secretary to bow out in disgrace – the state assembly has denied such report.

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But that’s expected. Nigerian leaders (Oyo lawmakers inclusive) are habitually skillful at this game. They are deft at changing the narrative. But now, that monopolistic power to tweak with people’s brain is slipping off their fingers. People no longer swallow their half truth, hook, line and sinker. The discerning minds amongst the public is on the rise. Especially those who understand how partnership works. For example, every partnership is built on trust. And trust is built on small, tiny, infinitesimal and incremental gesture: simple call, keeping promises, attending to needs, doing the right thing, showing up, loyalty, and respect for hierarchy.

Where trust suffers setback; partnership gets scattered. And the only way to stay relevant in the corridor of power; is to simply wear that trust garb – all the time. But trust can be hard to keep same as power can be tempting and intoxicating. It is this trust deficit that’s now the clog in the wheel of relationship between the first two Engineers to rule a state. In the build up to the last Gubernatorial election, Engineer Seyi Makinde, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had tough time choosing his running. There were names. But none with deep pocket that can oil, fuel and move the campaign forward should the wheel grind to a halt. There were names, but none as popular as one who’s in the race, weathering the storm, putting his life on the line. There were names, but none with tacit knowledge of administration and wisdom of governance. There was only one man who fits these high benchmark: Engineer Raufu Aderemi Olaniyan.

He is rich, urbane, cerebral, quiet, suave and experienced. That was the strength needed of a running mate in a money dominated game. The two Engineers agreed to work together and fortunately, fortune smiles at them. Running under same party with a joint ticket, the duo won at the poll and were ushered into the Government house amid fanfare. Now two years into the Government, the two are taken different roads. Robert Frost, famed American poet once says in his poem, the Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

At the outset of this administration, both the Governor and his deputy agreed to walk down same road: The 2023 Roadmap to accelerated development. It was smooth at the start as expected, but now rough and tough as the unpredictable turns and twists of power sinks in! And now, there is rumble in the jungle. Battle for survival. And of course, of the fittest as Charles Darwin once says in his seminal work: Origin of species. There are many reasons both the Governor and his deputy are locked in this war of ruination. One narrative says the Governor once send his deputy ( at the beginning of their administration) on an assignment to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to deliver a package.


Upon arriving the Ota home of OBJ, the story went on, the deputy Governor delivered his boss package then ask for OBJ’s blessing as he will be throwing his hat in the ring against his boss in next poll. “This caught Baba by surprise” the source continue “that he (OBJ) quickly asked GSM to seat tight as his deputy is desperately ambitious to take over his seat”. This, it concludes, marks the start of this internecine war.

Then came Coronavirus. On 31 March, 2020, Governor Seyi Makinde said in a televised speech that he’s tested positive of COVID-19 and that he would be going on an isolation till he’s back stronger. Between the isolation and recovery, there were rumors that the Engineer deputy Governor had sandbagged his boss. While the Governor was locked in isolation, the story starts, the deputy Governor quickly arranged a meeting with state lawmakers to impeach the Governor. He was reported to have paid his way to the hearts of the legislature with cash to complete his hatchet plan. This promptly influenced the Governor’s quick and sudden return to power. Whether this is true or not is insignificant since it is apparently transparent that the Governor and his deputy are on different page in deeds and action from whence those rumors made their ways to the public.

In another oft circulated rumors between the Governor and his deputy, it was reported that the deputy Governor, if left to wield power and influence policies, given his moneybag, clouts and experience can imperil the whole administration by putting on a powerful political stunt never before seen in Nigeria political trajectory. This, it was thought, might spell a doom for those lickspittle, bootlickers, hangers-on and importantly the Governor himself. When you have a deputy who’s fabulously rich, deeply connected, has street credibility, dine with power brokers; you are sure to know there is fire on the mountain and that sleeping with two eyes closed becomes almost impossible. And to put that fire down, you thought, it is crucial to clip his growing wings gradually quietly.

Quietly you clip his wing. But the more you clip his growing wings by stripping him of his official duties, the more danger he poses. The more you throw him into the quicksand of irrelevance, the more he fights back to stay in the spotlight. After all, he has the cash, the tact, the fact, and the hat to shield him from the heat you throw at him! Then you think the best way is to rid him off completely. At first, the plan looks simpler and easier, but as you move on to execution stage, you began to see it is easier say than done.

And every tips and tricks glean from various dictatorial textbooks (from Mario Puzo The Godfather, to Robert Green 48 Laws Of Power to Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince, to name just three)on how to ruthlessly deal with political enemies, each ideas appears inappropriate to your situation. Because your situation is novel. Your plan too, must be novel. But the more novel ideas you come up with, the more stumbling blocks you meet. In a way, you soon discover in a surprising manner that your political survival is unarguably and unimaginably tied to the apron spring of your arch-enemy. Cut that rope off and your job in Government finished!

“A small leak” says one beautiful quote “can sink a ship”. Will GSM allow this small leak to sink his re-election ship? Can we wait and see?

OYO101, Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion on issues affecting Oyo State, is published on Saturdays. He can be reached via muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850.


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