One cannot but have a deep sense of pity for the embattled chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Oyo State, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoenia. It is also not so difficult to understand his toxic frustration with Governor Seyi Makinde. All kinds of literature, from the classics to the contemporary, is filled with stories of betrayal such as Olopoenia demonstrated recently. Like they say, that politics is a game of betrayals. Olopoenia clearly shows that he is a master of the game. He didn’t just betray Seyi Makinde; more than that, is the way he has persistently stabbed the PDP at the back since Makinde emerged as the governorship candidate of the party.
Reading through his interview, Olopoenia, just like a typical Nigerian politician who sees the mandate of the people as means to having cheap and easy access to state resources, threw all caution to the winds, and goes ahead criticizing Governor Makinde for putting the interest of the common people in Oyo State ahead of his party members. It may be that the frustration he expressed in the interview represented the view of majority of PDP leaders in Oyo State. May be not. But what is instructive now, is that Makinde has made a clear choice between serving the masses and serving some political godfathers.
It is even more shameful that the very day the interview by Olopoenia was published is also the same day that pensioners in Oyo State publicly applauded Governor Makinde for having paid them in just one year, three times what the previous APC-led administration paid them in eight years.
Ordinarily, one would expect that the likes of Olopoenia in the ruling PDP would go to town trumpeting the achievement of their party and also congratulate the governor for making them proud. But that was not to be. For the Olopoenia in the PDP, it is less important if the governor is busy investing in critical sectors of the economy and improving the chances of the party to win even larger constituencies in the next general election.
And, in any case, what manner of a party leader, as Olopoenia would openly seek to make a rout of his own political party by criticizing the number one party member? Before now, rumour had been rife that Adebisi Olopoenia is deeply in bed with the opposition APC and, in fact, openly worked against the interest of the PDP.
For instance, whereas Olopoenia would tell the world that he is a PDP leader, but the same character worked against the party in the Oyo Central senatorial district election by supporting the opposition candidate and immediate former governor, Abiola Ajimobi during the general election and also at the election petition tribunals up to the Supreme Court.
Would Olopoenia beat his chest and make an honest claim to have worked for the victory of Seyi Makinde and the PDP during the governorship election in the state? These are the same characters who were busy planting the seeds of discord within the PDP during the general election. They were the ones who went around town peddling counter-productive rumours that Makinde is either not supporting the PDP presidential candidate and working with Abuja to seal his own victory, or that Makinde is working to trade one senatorial candidate of the PDP for an opponent in the APC. They are purveyors of fake news and are irredeemable. Even now when they have run into rocks with their petty lies, they now revert to employing cheap blackmail.
The opposition APC had made several failed attempts to detract the Seyi Makinde PDP’s administration in the past one year. From the surreal to the sublime, the APC had tried to pull the feet of the incumbent administration for a fall. But rather than slide, Governor Makinde sprints on and he is in clear lead of the opposition party.
Perhaps, now the APC has come to its wits end, it is time to rock the boat of the PDP with such fifth columnists like Olopoenia. Otherwise, why would a so-called leader of a political party begin to insinuate that his party in power would lose at the next round of election? It is almost unheard of and if the PDP in Oyo State and its national body do not deliver a sanction to Olopoenia on this, it clearly shows that the problem with the party is deeper than it might seem.
For the purpose of bringing Olopoenia’s misconduct into context, it might be necessary to hear him in his own words: “I am not God, so I can’t say whether the party would emerge or not, but it is only a party that performs well that will win at the polls.” If such a remark does not count as anti-party offence, then what would? A true party leader would not talk openly about his party’s chances at the next election in such manner. You may have a disagreement with the governor for some reasons and that is quite understandable. However, that should not make you throw a political party which ‘you actively worked for to win at the election’ under the bus.
It is high time politicians understood that public administration under a democratic dispensation is about politics and public policies. It might be true that the governor at this time is focusing on public policies that would help bring home the promises that the party made to the electorate. There are expectations from the people that are supposed to be met if the party should stand a chance of victory at the next general election. Describing a governor as non-performing because he is focusing on public policies rather than attend to party concerns is not a patriotic tendency. It is therefore incumbent on leaders of the PDP in Oyo State and party leaders across party lines elsewhere, too, to understand that the business of politics is about the people and not an opportunity for political godfathers to reign supreme.
Abiola sent this piece from Ibadan