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Oyo: Coalition partners query Makinde’s sharing formula, demand more places

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[FILES] Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo. Photo/Twitter/SeyiAMakinde

• Coalition Is Work In Progress – Ayorinde
On March 2, this year, exactly a week to the governorship election, major opposition parties in Oyo State resolved to jettison their individual ambitions to form a coalition that will give the state a unity government.

The previous Presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 23, 2019 was a clear signal to them that the then government of All Progressives Congress (APC) would continue to rule the state if they approached that election disunited.

To achieve their ambition of sacking APC government from the state, four governorship candidates on that Saturday evening announced their alliance to work together. The candidates are, Engr. Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Senator Femi Lanlehin of Action Democratic Congress (ADC); Barrister Sharafadeen Alli of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde  (SAN), of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who broke the news of the coalition to the newsmen.

The highly elated Chief Ayorinde said: “With the development, as you can see, Engineer Seyi Makinde is here, smiling, I am here I am smiling, some of our other colleagues are possibly still with their caucuses and I believe they are also smiling.
The parties remain the same and the party they are. But for the governorship election on the 9th of March, we have all resolved to work for the candidate of PDP, Engr Seyi Makinde.”

And, that decision was the master-stoke that changed the political calculus of the state and gave them the victory.

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But few months after, smiles seem to have disappeared from the faces of the gladiators that formed the alliance for the coalition government. They are not just wearing grim faces around town but look disappointed and cheated by Makinde’s government. Some of them are accusing him of not honoring the agreement.

Oyo Advocacy Development Group (OADG) specifically accused Makinde of running a deceitful coalition government in the state. The group in statement signed by its chairman, Mr. Oyewunmi Joseph and secretary, Alhaji Gbadegesin Maruf alleged that Makinde has not been following the agreement of the coalition government that brought him into office.

The group alleged that the agreement signed was that the ADC would take 30, ZLP 10 and SDP 5 percent of all positions across board.

The statement said: “Just less than six months of the government of Engr. Seyi Makinde, there has been widespread criticism and uproar most especially over the way the Governor is said to have used and dumped the members of the coalition blocs that heralded its birth. Before the general election, hardly did any pundit give Engr Seyi Makinde the slightest possibility of winning the gubernatorial elections owing to the unpopularity of the PDP prior to the elections proper, but the coming together of ADC, ZLP and SDP turned the tilt in favour of Makinde’s PDP.

“There was a gentleman’s agreement drawn up by the Director General of the coalition parties to share all posts across board should Engr Makinde win, but since the elections were held and Engr. Makinde won, there has been disquiet that the Governor has neglected the sharing formula, to the extent that all appointments made so far are going to the PDP and the Governor singlehandedly picked the appointees.”

The group, however, released the list of 24 political appointments by the governor and said ADC had two, ZLP one and SDP one, while the remaining are PDP stalwarts and non-party members.

Feeling uncomfortable with Makinde’s disposition to the agreement, Lanlehin made a public statement to confirm what many had been suspecting. The legal luminary turned politician in a statement by his media office, threatened to opt out because of Makinde’s non-compliance with the spirit and letter of the terms of the pre-election agreement.

However, he said that his party, the ADC, is at liberty to remain in the coalition, and believes it should, in fact, remain.

In a statement he personally signed, he said, “a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the gubernatorial election of Oyo State on the 9th March, 2019, which overwhelmingly threw up Engr. Oluwaseyi Makinde as Governor of the State.

“In order to prevent the recurrence of the incidence of the Oyo State gubernatorial election of 2015, in which a gubernatorial candidate won the election with a minority vote of 32%, I, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (SOLAN), gubernatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), together with some other gubernatorial candidates decided to drop the mandate of my party in order to support the candidature of Engr. Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This was with the consent of party elders, leaders, stakeholders and members.

“This in essence meant that at the end of a victorious election, a Unity Government would be formed comprising the coalition parties, in the ratio agreed upon before the election.

“The gubernatorial election has come and gone, won and lost. Won by Engr. Seyi Makinde of the PDP with the support of the coalition parties, and lost by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“I, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (SOLAN), of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), state unequivocally that I still fervently believe in the principle that birthed the Engr. Seyi Makinde government, and give my total support to its success.

“I also do state that I remain a very committed member of my party, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) whose members worked assiduously, and tirelessly in installing the Seyi Makinde Government, and expect participation in same as agreed before the said gubernatorial election of March, 2019. Candidate Seyi Makinde (as he then was) made some promises to me as the incumbent candidate of my party, the ADC. I willingly and absolutely agreed to surrender my gubernatorial mandate in the common interest of the people of Oyo State.

“I did not request for, and was not given ANY financial compensation for so surrendering the mandate, but committed further resources to the gubernatorial election.

“Up till date, Governor Seyi Makinde HAS NOT FULFILLED ANY of the terms of the agreement reached between him and myself. I believe the Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has not been able to fulfill the terms of the gentleman’s agreement between us (myself and himself) due to the very busy and demanding schedule of his state duties.

Rashidi Ladoja

“I believe firmly that the Governor will fulfill the said terms as soon as he so decides.

“I wish the Governor a resounding success in the performance of the onerous duties providence has placed on his shoulders. May the Almighty God see him through.”

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Taiwo Adisa said the governor has been magnanimous in the sharing formula with all parties that formed a coalition group in the state to ensure victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last gubernatorial election.

Adisa said the allegations leveled against Makinde by Senator Femi Lanlehin was not true because the Governor and other members of the coalition had met on different occasions on procedures to adopt in the sharing formula agreed on even before the election.

He reiterated that Governor Makinde has been fair, just and truthful in handling all the discussions related to the coalition group, noting that Senator Lalehin’s allegation was inconsistent with the reality.

He noted that the committee reached an agreement, which was signed by all the parties and tabled before Governor Makinde, adding that the agreement contained a template for the sharing of positions in government as well as membership of boards and parastatals.

Adisa said the committee of the coalition parties met over three times, with agreements reached and tabled at a meeting with the Governor.

He said that Senator Lanlehin only had issues with the other leaders of the ADC on how to share the positions allotted to the ADC.

The ADC in the state had faulted the withdrawal of Lanlehin from the alliance with the People Democratic Party, (PDP).

The party said ADC, its teeming members, and supporters across the state are solidly in continued support of the governor, “believing that we are on the same page.”

A letter addressed to the Governor and signed by the former secretary to the state government, on behalf of the ADC, Chief Busari Adebisi said; “stakeholders of the party have not abandoned the original leitmotifs, especially good governance for the people of the state, which was the bases of the alliance.”

However, facts have emerged why Lanlehin was not finding it easy with Makinde. It was gathered that both men could not reach an agreement on the nomination of people into the cabinet.

Though Makinde visited the ADC candidate recently, it was gathered that Lanlehin’s candidates are not in government.  Among the first set of 14 commissioners nominated, the two slots given to ADC were taken up by the Unity Forum bloc of the coalition. This led to the nomination of son of former Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu and Barrister Seun Ashamu, who is the commissioner of Energy. The other was given to Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, the current commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, who was one of the arrowheads of the Unity Forum, which broke out of the APC.

ZLP was said to have submitted two names but neither of them was picked, while the leader of the party got one slot in person of Abdulraheem. Alliance for Democracy nominated the Special Adviser on Political Matters, Babatunde Oduyoye.

For the SDP, its governorship candidate, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde was part of Advisory Committee to ensure a smooth transmission of power from APC to PDP.

It was gathered that the last three commissioners nominated do not belong to any bloc. For instance, a source in PDP told The Guardian that the 27-year-old commissioner of Youths and Sports Development, Seun Faborode does not belong to any party.

Senator Femi Lanlehin

Reacting to renewed complaints regarding the coalition government, Senator Lekan Balogun said: “It says a lot about our maturity as a people. You came together from different groups to form a coalition, rather than working as a new group, you’re back to square one after the election demanding your right as a fraction of the coalition and others also denying you those basic rights. We are not a people who believe in peace and unity. I think that should become an ideology in Nigeria now. Let’s get mature politicians in place. Let those in positions now grow up in maturity and guide us properly.”

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But Chief Ayorinde said there was no cause for alarm, expressing optimism that the governor will honour the agreement. He told The Guardian that, “the coalition is a work in a progress; you will recall that some of us worked tirelessly to put it in place and it was one of the best things to happen politically in Oyo State. In fact, it is a model for every state to adopt to ensure participation in government. Definitely, there will be issues here and there in its implementation because it is not a mathematical concept, it is human concept. It will involve continuous engagement among and between all the stakeholders. For example, you will see the statement released by Senator Lanlehin, even though he expressed reservations, he still also left the window opened for the governor to adjust some things. It is a good statement from a statesman. If you are in an alliance or marriage, you don’t get everything 100 per cent, it is a continuous process. Everybody involved are patriots, they want the best for their people not for themselves individually. I don’t think it is an issue worth escalating at this time.”

When asked how many people his party got in government, the legal luminary said, “Well, the issue is not how many persons are in government positions, as I said, the issue is that we have a list of people interested in participating in government. The Governor and his administration are reviewing that list all the time. So, there are hundreds of opportunities for people to participate in the government, it is not a closed shop. You cannot say one, two, three are already there it is an open list and I am sure as soon as government settles down, very competent people will be called in to be part of the administration. Some people are working assiduously for that administration and their names are not even mentioned in any post. We are all working for the success of the government.”

Asked if he is comfortable with the way things are going on with Makinde’s government, Chief Ayorinde said, “one can never be comfortable with anything in Nigeria, the country itself is a work in progress. You wake up everyday to think of new solutions. You are thinking of how to improve on everything. Even if today Governor Makinde is adjudged the best, in terms of fresh air in government, he cannot rest on his oars because we have not reached Eldorado. We have to keep on trying, but my comfort is that we have an administration that has a vision, that is determined to perform, but asking if we have reached our destination, the answer is no because all of us must keep on trying.”

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