Ademola Babalola writes on the rising political profile of the University of Lagos trained engineer and former Senatorial candidate in Oyo South Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Oluseyi Makinde, who is emerging as a third force in the build up to the 2015 governorship election in the state
When the former governor of Oyo State and national leader of the Accord Party (AP), Senator Rashidi Ladoja, recently warned of the emergence of a third political force that may rout the popular political gladiators out of the way, many people did not understand the parable, especially when the former governor said that the third force is a force that is going to uproot those who have betrayed the trust giving to them by the people in the past.
However, as the 2015 general election draws nearer, many aspirants have emerged both in PDP, APC and AP vowing to wrest power from the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. The present political scenario in Oyo State is very interesting. Already, there are signs of political implosions capable of breeding three parties, the ruling APC, the Accord Party and PDP.
The ruling party, APC, has not fared better either. There is a sharp schism within the party such that the government views and behaves as if the party is to be merely tolerated and it will be foolhardy for anyone to envisage a truce just because of Alhaji Lam Adesina’s absence
An emerging picture in Oyo politics is that of complete realignment with Ajimobi re-running on the ticket of the APC, with Senator Folarin likely holding the ticket of a faction of PDP while former governor Ladoja may run on the AP platform.
But apart from the scores of familiar faces in PDP, AP and APC, who are already jostling to contest for governorship in 2015, a formidable third force is Oluseyi Makinde, an engineer who is gradually making headways having been identified by the professionals, youths and the women groups in the state as a credible person who could be trusted to fulfill the aspiration of the people of Oyo State towards a better life in a nearer future. The reason is not farfetched, it because the people of the state are already losing confidence in the ability of the known political gladiators in the state to offer them anything good again having failed them in the past. And yet they are the same people seeking to be governors and senators in the 2015 elections. Besides, the two dominant political parties in the state, APC and PDP may be consumed by internal convulsions over who will be the party’s flagbearer in 2015. Therefore, the scenario may throw up the third force as represented by Makinde. Both the PDP and the APC are not immune to growing schisms occasioned by power struggles and competition for top space within the political setup. Many topnotch members in both parties may exit one way or another if the subsisting structures fail to offer them a platform for political contest.
Although, Makinde an engineer and oil magnate is yet to hold any political office in the past, he is not a neophyte in politics. Before now, he had tried to go to the Senate, using the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) platform, but lost to the formidable political machinery of late Chief Lamidi Adedibu. When democracy was restored in Nigeria, Makinde came into the political limelight when the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), a breakaway political group from the PDP was gaining ground before its subsequent merger with other groups which brought about the then Action Congress (AC.) He was formerly a member of the All Peoples Party (APP), under which platform he contested the senatorial election and lost. He was said to have romanced with AP being led by Senator Rashidi Ladoja, though he did not contest any election on the platform of the party. Makinde has endeared himself to the youth and according to many of his admirers, is very accessible and a free giver who has impacted many lives in the state.
His accessibility, loyalty to party leadership, open handedness and of course, financial status were said to be asset towards realising his political aspiration. But for now, he is still keeping his ambition to himself. In other words, his plan is still at the level of media speculation. Even at a recent event where he donated a science laboratory to the Oyo State Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) owned Pen Junior School, Makinde who was represented at the event refused to make any political statement about his political ambition but said that he donated the magnificent building to the use of “mankind and the glory of God.”
Investigation revealed that the elites in Oyo State are looking at Makinde’s direction ahead of the 2015 governorship election because of his intelligence, exposure, achievement and his status as a force to reckon with in the oil business in the volatile region of Niger-Delta and his success in the highly competitive energy, oil and gas sector.
As a result of Makinde’s noble mind and contributions to human and infrastructural developments, he was honoured by the students of the Department of Building, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of institution.
Makinde, who was honoured alongside one time Minister of Youths and Sports, Hon Bala Ka’oje, at the prestigious Oduduwa Hall, promised not to rest on his oars in contributing to the development of the people.
Political observers are of the view that with his experience as an oil company worker, he would have been thoroughly exposed managerially to give a good account of himself in office, and such deserves to be given either the PDP or AP ticket to pursue the peoples’ agenda.
Makinde who has often reiterated passion to serve the people of Oyo State, aside from his philanthropic gestures said that the state did not need “half-baked developmental projects as presently being established by the Ajimobi government.”
According to him, “most of the ideas on the surface look good but there is the need for Oyo state government to do more research and planning.” He added that no society can move forward without proper planning and research.