Former governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State has publicly criticised the Oyo governor over some of the latter’s actions as the leader of the South-West PDP.
Recently, the party in the region formed parallel and controversial reconciliation committees to address the leadership crisis rocking it.
Back at home, Makinde appears to be having issues with his deputy and some party leaders in the state. This is coming barely two years after the PDP returned to power in the Pacesetter State.
The party had played the opposition role for almost a decade before it reclaimed power in 2019 owing to the crisis that plagued the then ruling All Progressives Congress.
Makinde, who was the candidate of the PDP in 2019, was reportedly helped by some party leaders to wrest power from the late Abiola Ajimobi-led APC government.
Aside from the support from his party men, he formed a coalition with some political parties in the state to coast to victory.
He also formed an alliance with former Governor Rashidi Ladoja, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin and other aspirants, who stepped down their governorship ambitions to support him to defeat the APC candidate, Adebayo Adelabu.
Adelabu recently admitted he lost the election due to the influence of Ladoja and others who backed Makinde during the poll.
But shortly after the electoral triumph, the PDP started showing signs of crisis. There were muted grumblings in the party in less than a year after Makinde took over the mantle of leadership in the state.
The initial media reports that Makinde had sidelined his deputy, Olaniyan, were said to have been a fabrication from the camp of the APC aimed at causing disaffection between the governor and his deputy.
Aside from Olaniyan, other PDP chieftains were reportedly aggrieved over allegations of being sidelined by the governor.
Although the governor and the deputy have yet to admit that there is a rift between them, the report of the PDP Elders Steering Committee headed by a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Dr Saka Balogun, which has gone viral on the Internet, gave the indication that the governor’s popularity among party leaders in the state might have waned.
Stakeholders said the governor knew this and set up the committee for the purpose of reconciling aggrieved party leaders.
But the report of the committee became a public document after it was submitted.
The committee was said to have been set up by the governor in June and members of the committee were Alhaja Mutiat Ladoja; Chief Jumoke Akinjide; Alhaji Wasiu Adeleke who was the secretary; and others.
In the leaked report, the deputy governor was quoted to have complained that the governor had relegated him in the government and had completely forgotten about the promises he made to him during the election.
The deputy governor, according to the report, is not the only one complaining about Makinde’s style of leadership.
A former Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande-Adeola; former Deputy Governor, Azim Gbolarumi; former Minister of Power and Steel, Wole Oyelese; a prominent PDP leader in Ibadan, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeyan, as well as leaders from the various zones in the state, expressed dissatisfaction with the governor.
The report read in part, “He (deputy governor) complained bitterly about being oblivious about the running of the government. He said the governor has completely forgotten about the promises he made to him during the election. He said that the governor has treated him in the most unfair, unjust and unkind manner.
“He complained that the governor only gave him few portfolios and he has not given him more since then. He also feels that Senator Agboola Halleluyah is more relevant than him in the government.”
A former majority leader of the House of Representatives also complained that Makinde had relegated her in the affairs of the party.
The report further read, “She (Mulikat Adeola) feels that the governor has treated her poorly, unjustly and unfairly. She said that the governor has exalted Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi above her in Ogbomoso and that is detrimental to her numerous followers. She wants to know why the governor only listens and gives access to only Senator Halleluyah.”
Gbolarumi was quoted to have told the committee that although he was not angry with the governor, Makinde should create the opportunity for both of them to meet regularly for the progress and development of the state and the party.
The former deputy governor, when contacted by our correspondent, expressed surprise that the report of the committee was leaked to the public.
He refused to comment on the report saying, “It is a family affair. We don’t want any public intervention in this matter. We don’t want to destroy our party.”
However, Olopoeyan, who also expressed surprise over the leakage of the report, confirmed that the committee came to him and other leaders listed in the report.
He said his comments to the committee were contained in the report in circulation. He added that the committee went to the deputy governor and he ( Olaniyan) told them his mind.
Olopoeyan said, “If you read the report, you will understand that the governor himself set up the committee for reconciliation purpose. He knows he has not done well. The committee went round and met with various party leaders from all over the state. The complaint is the same everywhere.
“My concern now is who leaked the report. The committee submitted the report to the governor himself so why is it now in the public domain if the governor wants to act on the recommendations? After getting the report of the committee, what I believe he should do is to begin to take steps to address the issues raised. Could it be the governor himself that leaked the report?
“I know that the PDP is strong in the state and the crisis will be resolved. But any party in crisis is bound to lose elections. The APC lost in 2019 in Oyo State because of their crisis. Former President Goodluck Jonathan also lost in 2015 because of the crisis in the party. That is why we need to act fast to resolve the crisis.”
The committee observed that the party was in disarray in the Ibarapa East Local Government Area which is the home base of the Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin, until its members stepped in and reconciled them.
They also said some reconciliatory work was done in Ogbomoso, where the chairman of the committee comes from.
In the report, the committee, however, recommended that, “The governor should personally reach out to some leaders. The governor should not allow external factors to penetrate other local governments. One major problem we observed from all local governments is that there are too many external factors prying into the affairs of other local governments. There are some leaders who are leveraging the access they have with the governor to create faction and division in local governments different from theirs.
“A general trend shows that so many of the party leaders are not given or placed at the right place within the party, either at the state level or local level. Many of the appointees of the governor have unduly arrogated to themselves leadership of their various respective local governments and have seemed to relegate the identified party leaders.
“The party members at the grass roots complained that the lack of funds at the local government councils is denying and robbing them of enjoying the benefits of being party members of the government in power. The governor should look into funding the local councils more appropriately.
“A little twist or adjustment in the style of administration of the governor will gladden the heart of many. In fact, this will make it more difficult for some leaders who arrogate to themselves the exclusive rights or privilege to advise or influence the governor on certain issues. This is a serious matter of perception rather than fact. But perception often drives human actions or reactions. Without his authorisation or knowledge, some political leaders who claim to enjoy the confidence of the governor use his name to perpetuate personal vendetta.”
The Chairman of the committee, Balogun, when contacted on the authenticity of the viral report, said he could not authenticate such because he did not know where journalists got the report from.
Balogun said, “I don’t know. I know that the report of the committee which was submitted to the governor was signed by all the members except the member who was not around. I am not in the position to authenticate the report which has gone viral. It was not authorised, we did not send any report to the press. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the report you saw.”
When asked about efforts being made by him as a member of the BoT of the PDP to save the party from disintegration, Balogun said, “We are doing our best and I hope our best will be good enough to sustain the relevance and guarantee us success in the 2023 elections.”
The media aide to the deputy governor, Mr Omolere Omoetan, when asked to comment on whether the complaints credited to his boss in the report was true, he said he had not been able to speak with his boss on the matter.
Makinde’s media aide, Mr Taiwo Adisa, also refused to comment on the report. He directed our correspondent to the deputy governor.
However, the crisis may have taken a new dimension as the campaign posters of the deputy governor for the 2023 governorship poll have surfaced in the state.
Olaniyan promptly distanced himself from the campaign for Oke Ogun to produce the next governor in 2023, saying he could not be thinking of contesting when he and his boss had not gone halfway with the mandate given to them by the electorate.
In what appears to be a veiled response to the complaints of the aggrieved party leaders, Makinde had while inaugurating a new commissioner, Ayansiju Lawal, on Tuesday, appealed to the aggrieved party men that they would soon be taken care of.
The governor said, “I like to also take this opportunity to tell some of our people that are still angry because the goodies have not gotten to them; patience is the watchword. It will get to them; we will keep moving. Surely, as the opportunity presents itself, we will bring people on board.
“We are much concerned about the legacy we want to leave for the people. We also want to set a standard where Oyo State can truly be the pacesetter in the comity of states in Nigeria.”
However, analysts are of the opinion that the incendiary comments being made by some persons who claim to be close to the governor should be stopped to forestall further crisis in the ruling party.
They also said that the muted grumblings of the aggrieved party leaders should be promptly addressed in order to forestall an implosion which might cost the party the governorship seat in 2023.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Diran Odeyemi, when contacted told our correspondent that none of the parties had reported the issue to the national headquarters of the party.
Odeyemi said it was good that the governor observed that there was a crisis and had set up the committee to proffer solution to the problems.
He said, “There has not been any official report from the parties concerned against Governor Seyi Makinde. Since the governor is the one that observed there was a crisis and set up the committee to look into the issue, the party believes that since he knows that there is a problem, he should know the solution to it. The committee has submitted its report and I believe there are things they recommended, the governor should act on the issues.
“We still believe it is an internal misunderstanding that could be resolved by the governor. We believe that the solution to the problems has been given to him and he will handle it as a leader.”
Political pundits are of the view that how the governor addresses the crises in the state and that of the region will determine his future as the leader of the PDP in the South-West.