2023: Seyi Makinde Should Learn From 2011, 2015 Or Forget About Re-election — Henry Odeh
The political cloud in Oyo state between 2007–2011 was such that was largely characterized by fear, terror, and political brigandage largely due to activities of members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Oyo state backed and protected by the then Administration under Otunba Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala.
Prior to the 2011 general election, Akala’s boss, and former governor, Chief Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja had already turned a new political party, ACCORD, into a very formidable party within three months in readiness for the general elections.
Ladoja’s ACCORD grew consistently and tremendously well within such short period of three months before the elections that his ACCORD won four seats in the House of Representatives of the National Assembly (Egbeda/Ona-Ara, Lagelu/Akinyele, Oluyole, and IBNE/IBSE Federal Constituencies) as well as seven seats out of 32 at the Oyo state house of assembly.
Let me not bore you with what everyone perhaps already know but before the 2011 general elections, political analysts and public commentators have done all the plus and minus and considering the PDP government in power also the federal level, Otunba Akala was expected to win and return for second term.
Apart from the terror and hooliganism that permeated the state especially Ibadan, the state capital as a result of activities of the NURTW, it is important and noteworthy to give certain credits to Otunba Akala in the area of infrastructures and workers welfare.
Unfortunately for Akala, his disposition to security issues and management of security crisis emanating from NURTW related activities beclouded most of the good works done and some of the achievements of Akala.
Akala would probably have concluded in his political calculations that give and take, with him holding firmly Oyo state with full grip of the NURTW under his control as well as the PDP federal might, the worst scenario would still give him a slight edge to win the election and returned elected.
Akala undermined the influence of the Ladoja factor in the politics of Oyo state. Ladoja’s movement from PDP to adopt ACCORD as his new political party was not just about the 2011 governorship election, it was also largely a show of political might which Akala perhaps downplayed with the mindset of I have ‘power of incumbency’.
The defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) had positioned Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was a former senator and governorship candidate of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) in the 2007 guber election as its governorship candidate for the election the 2011 governorship election.
The race became extremely tensed with three big political gladiators coming into the race. Akala on one hand felt comfortable with his political calculation. Ajimobi was also not too baffled because the call for change of government by the people has reached its peak as a result of the untamed security crisis that rocked the state and the ACN were fully positioned to cash in on the security challenges to be deployed as a strong political campaign tool to unseat Otunba Alao Akala.
In all of these, a Seyi Makinde, who was very wealthy, well connected in and outside politics, and reputable for charity and renowned philanthropist was also around the corner to test the political waters on the big stage but being what many may refer to as a rookie among the three big political gladiators, Makinde did not stand any chance of becoming the governor in 2011.
Alas, Abiola Ajimobi emerged as the winner of the much anticipated election result on the platform of the then ACN thereby, bringing an abrupt end to the PDP rule in Oyo state. The people of Oyo state did not perhaps voted against Akala of the PDP because they hated him, it was because the PDP government under the leadership of Akala was seen as the backbone behind NURTW and incapable of ending the security challenge in the state.
On the other hand, the people did not perhaps voted for Ajimobi because he was more popular than Ladoja who wielded and still wields a commanding political influence in the state, they perhaps voted for Ajimobi who was on the platform of ACN, a party built by the Lagos state ‘Jagaban’ who was perceived to the south west messiah on a mission to reintegrate the region and extend Lagos developments to other south west states.
Thirdly, Ladoja, who came third on the log, did not lose the election because either Akala or Ajimobi was more popular but because his ACCORD party was merely a three months old party with no political reputation the people could rely on to entrust such responsibility of governing the entire state to, but Ladoja made his political influence known at the end of the general election exercise with the success recorded in the elections.
Abiola Ajimobi of the defunct ACN had won the election with a total votes of 420,852 (four hundred and twenty thousand eight hundred and fifty two) making it the highest votes and Ajimobi the first candidate to win governorship election with such result in the history of Oyo state.
Alao Akala, the then incumbent governor, came second with a total votes of 387,132 (three hundred and eighty seven thousand one hundred and thirty two) losing the governorship seat to Ajimobi with a difference of 33,720 votes (thirty three thousand seven hundred and twenty).
After Abiola Ajimobi was declared winner of the 2011 guber poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the entire state was ecstatic and thrown into a frenzy of celebration and jubilation similar to what happened in 2019 when Seyi Makinde was declared winner of the governorship election and returned elected.
Some privileged individuals even threw private parties to celebrate while some government institutions jubilated in their own ways. The jubilation was so massive that it graced the front page of some national dailies.
Barely two years after Ajimobi settled in as the governor with state affairs, some policies were already perceived by the people as lacking human face as many residents laments loss of their sources of lively after Ajimobi YES–O officials in their desperation to meet up with the agency’s revenue targets had hone haywire with their operations.
The people who went into the streets in celebration of Ajimobi’s victory barely two years were already lamenting bitterly with several complaints associated with humongous taxes, perceived draconian policies which led to destruction of countless businesses at micro, small, medium, and large scale levels all in the guise of beautifying Ibadan city.
Academic institutions and students in public schools were not left out in the entire process with levies levied on each student. The lamentation continued and the then government under the Ajimobi who is now late seemed not to be perturbed by the outcry of the people.
By the third year (2014) into Ajimobi’s administration it was almost certain that Ajimobi was going to lose the election on the backdrop of the administration’s policies alleged to be lacking semblance of human face and completely disconnected from the people who seemed eager to use their voting power remove him from office.
Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state which tends to be the major determinant factor as to where the political pendulum swings seemed not to be in support of Ajimobi’s second term bid because of what many described as a domineering attitude (I know it all) and the manner of addressing Ibadan elders, traditional rulers, political leaders within and outside the then ruling party, as well as Ajimobi’s cabinet members and top government officials both at private and public places.