I tarried this long for an obvious reason namely, to avoid the perilous danger of falsehood (that may be seen as deliberate or otherwise).I am penning my thoughts now, knowing that INEC has finally made official the result of the Ibadan South West Local Government Area for the just-concluded governorship and state House of Assembly election in Oyo, a state always regarded (albeit rightly) as the political capital of the entire South-West.
To those conversant with the politics of the state, woe betides whoever goes to town with the result of the other 32 local government areas of the state, to the exclusion of IBSW LGA, to proclaim victorious, even a candidate that is obviously on the threshold of winning.
It is official that Engineer Seyi Makinde (don’t mind me, your people have since yesterday afternoon changed your name to Governor Seyi Makinde- GSM) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), aka OMI TITUN, has won the governorship election in Oyo State, having polled a total of 515, 621 votes as against the 357,982 votes scored by his closest rival, Chief Adebayo Adelabu (PENKELEMESI) of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP candidate, according to INEC, won in 28 local government areas, out of the 33 local councils in the state, defeating his APC counterpart with a margin of 157, 639 votes. A breakdown of the votes here would be time and space-consuming.
This is a no mean achievement, considering the fact that Seyi Makinde not only won in almost all the entire local government areas in Ibadan (his place of birth), but also a feat that is sui generis in the state namely, the first time PDP will sweep the governorship poll especially in Iseyin, a local council that had always been an exclusive preserve of the progressives.
Indeed, one needs to say a very big CONGRATULATIONS to the winner. For you, it has been over one decade of patiently, but steadily and firmly pursuing a conviction. The several years of waiting, toiling…crisscrossing virtually the entire landscape, holding long enduring meetings, mostly at inconvenient hours. More than anyone else, you are the one who will really know and feel the depth, intensity and impact of the burning furnace you went through before coming to the present reality.
And so, it was a waiting that eventually paid off, having failed in your earlier shot at the number one political office in the state. I am happy for you that the consistency and doggedness have finally paid off; it gladdens my heart to know that, with determination, backed by a very strong courage, there is no mountain that one cannot climb…a big lesson in perseverance that calls for a big, worthy celebration.
However, while it is not out of place to celebrate this hard-won victory, it is apposite to sound a note of warning here: the merriment should be done with caution, laced with deep, sober reflections. The truth is that a heavy burden has been placed on your shoulder as the Oyo governor-elect and there is no room for complacency. The entire people and residents of the Pacesetter State are looking up to you and to the incoming PDP-administration with great expectations, hopes and aspirations.
The groundswell of support from across the state, from the build up to the election and in the course of the poll, was massive; the outcome of the exercise was indeed a testimony to the will of a people who gave their ALL to ensure that the candidate of their choice emerge the winner.
And INEC did a commendable job, as Oyo REC, Mutiu Agboke, at the height of trepidations and fears over the !delay of the result of IBSW LGA, assured the people, on Monday evening that ‘the troublemaker has traveled out of the state since last year.’ The man, indeed, lived up to his words that the result of the election in IBSW LGA cannot be more than what had been declared from the other 32 councils…and that it would NOT BE DELAYED!!!
Our dear governor-elect, this time calls for more introspections. You cannot afford to let the people and residents of the state down. Yours is a victory for all: it came at a point in time when some Nigerians (arguably in the majority) have lost faith in PDP. Your electoral victory was NOT as a result of party affiliation but simply because your people have an absolute trust in you and in your person.
However, the fact cannot be overlooked and swept under the carpet that PDP could find a place in the heart of the people so soon: A pointer to the fact that they are yet to find and get the desired change from the government of the day.
For more than a decade, you have been on ground, providing and giving succour to thousands of hapless and poor people at your individual level. You have proved yourself to be a great humanist and selfless philanthropist who is deeply concerned about the poor and degrading inhuman situation of his fellow man.
More than ever, NOW is the time to show and prove it that the milk of kindness flowing in you is no fluke, or a means to an end…aimed at getting to the top, using the weaknesses that abound in the poor.
Without any iota of doubt, your outgoing predecessor has elevated governance in the state, his lapses notwithstanding (after all, it is human). The onus rests on you to take Oyo to a greater pedestal. Bring the state back and up to its appellation – AJISE BI OYO LANRI… Let Oyo, once again, be the shinning example unto other states in the South-West, nay the entire country.
Let the people know that the Seyi they have known all these years is REAL. There is a lesson for us to learn in all human endeavours, that is, knowing that the best experience can only be learnt from the experiences of our fellow humans. Try as much as possible to avoid the pitfalls that dogged the trails of the past occupants of that exalted office.
Thank God that your victory is a reflection of your wide acceptance in all the nooks and crannies of the state: you won in 28 local council and lost in just five (5) councils. It is not by a sheer luck but a demonstration of the belief of the people in you and a renewed trust in your political platform, PDP.
From thenceforth, see yourself as the father and governor of all, irrespective of party leanings. Let all the people of the state, both those voted for you and those who did not, feel the positive impact of your government. While it will be extremely difficult to find acceptance from all, it will not be out of place for you to seek to promote the happiness and welfare of the greatest number. As your slogan, OMI TITUN, implies, let the entire people of the state drink from freshness of water that will be coming out of your well.
As the saying goes, success has many children, but please be wary of sycophants who will be milling around you in droves, only seeking for your attention and currying your favour. Many of them are fair-weather friends who are out for pecuniary and relevance. Nothing hasten the fall of a man in power faster than surrounding himself with ego massagers.
The swearing in is on May 29 (still some 82 days away) but start implementing NOW your marshal plans and compact policies for the corporate interest of the state. But in doing this, please also do this one thing: align yourself to and with the people, the masses, who brought you to power. They have been with you through the thick and the thin; under the sun and in the cold.
While not leaving out those who formed alliances with you, let the people have a say in your government. In doing this, be guided by the words of the late Fuji Music Icon (who, incidentally, was a ‘shon’ of the ‘shoil’), Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, in his evergreen LP, titled ‘Oro Ibo’…”Ogbon ori awa oludibo ko kere rara. Ogbon lani, ako lagbara…” Demystify and depersonalise the Office of the Governor. Prove it to the whole world that power is, truthfully, transient and ephemeral, and that you are just holding it in trust for the ultimate owners, the people.
Be magnanimous and humble in victory, even as some of your defeated opponents would still be smarting from and nursing their losses…unwilling to sheathe their swords.
It is a new dawn- OMI TITUN TI RU indeed and in truth. You are the new face of politics in Oyo as many of the old politicians are left with no choice than to seek to enjoy their retirements. Prove your critics wrong: Let them know, through your impactful programmes and people-oriented policies, that you are not a novice. Prove it to them that OMODE GBON, AGBA GBON LA FI DA ILE IFE.
As the youths shall be enjoying your administration, let the senior citizens know that they are part of you. Restore the dignity and honour of the traditional institution. Make living more meaningful for the entire citizenry and residents of Oyo State, irrespective of their sociopolitical and religious inclinations.
Four years is a long journey…seemingly far, but very near. The time to start working is now. Our dear Governor-elect, there is no time to waste, please hit the ground and start running now. ALL EYES ARE ON YOU (both friends and foes alike)!!! Be as gentle as a dove…and as wise as a serpent.
And, finally, prove to the voting citizenry that the once-upon-a-time ruling party, both in the state and at the federal level, has rediscovered itself and can therefore provide what Nigerians are yearning for: Don’t let the people see your victory, through the PDP platform, as a fluke!!!
History beckons and you must start writing your own now, and in GOLD. You cannot afford to fritter away the massive goodwill on the altar of complacency. The task, no doubt, is challenging but not insurmountable.
May God be with you, guard and guide you as you gradually settle down to the business of governance. You shall surely succeed, by HIS grace.