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ANALYSIS | Oyo guber race: What difference will a coalition make this time?

Ahead of the forthcoming gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Oyo State, the results of the presidential and national assembly elections have breathed new life into the political arena in the state.

In a broader sense, the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be staging a comeback as the results of last Saturday’s election speak to their relative solidity in the State- It’s changed the odds and the stakes.

As it stands, APC won all the senatorial seats in the State and also had eight of the federal house of representatives positions; only a political novice would neglect the weight that such victories mean in this context.

While the results of the Presidential and National assembly elections don’t bear that very huge influence on the gubernatorial and state assembly elections, the results of last Saturday’s poll have left the major parties (PDP and APC) in the state with no option than to shop for a coalition with smaller parties as they seek for the ultimate seat in the state.

Coalition – The way in and out of Agodi government house 

The incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde won the 2019 poll through a coalition. He struck a deal with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the state.

He went on to defeat the candidate of the then-ruling party, Adelabu Penkelmesi. This, by all leanings, has established the significance of coalition for any candidate who seeks the highest seat in the State.

The candidate of the APC in the upcoming gubernatorial election, Senator Teslim Folarin has since after the last Saturday’s election taken to work and has been building bridges across the political divides including the ruling PDP.

Insider reports show that he has met with several political gladiators in his attempt to upstage Makinde.

Folarin in Ogbomoso….

One of the politicians that Senator Folarin paid a visit to in Ogbomosho zone is Rt. Honourable Mulikat Adeola of Social Democratic Party (SDP). The ex-lawmaker, who was formerly in the PDP, lost her bid to represent Oyo North senatorial district in the last Saturday election.

An APC member, Isaac Ajadi, revealed that Senator Folarin’s visit to Hon. Adeola was birthed out of a long-term friendship.

When asked if the visit was about the possibility of a coalition, he said, “No. He came to greet Alhaja (Mulikat Adeola). They are friends, actually, but I wasn’t part of the meeting. Alhaja is “tessyfied” before now. He came to re-energize the zeal to deliver.”

“Everything about coalition won’t be in print for now,” he said.

In a similar event, Folarin met with two candidates from Ogbomoso zone that lost their bid to represent Ogooluwa/Surulere federal constituency in the last Saturday election. The two candidates, Hon. Elder Abioye Matthew and Hon. Sarafadeen Mohammed of NNPP and Accord Party respectively was formerly in the PDP.

Folarin with aggrieved PDP members

The aggrieved leaders that campaigned and worked for the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential Candidate of PDP are another turning point for APC governorship candidates.

He has met with some of these aggrieved members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form an alliance – a replica of what Makinde did in 2019.

The aggrieved group led by Hazeem Gbolarumi, Femi Babalola (Jogor) and Festus Adegoke are likely going to be another joker in the election.

The PDP G-5 Governors’ effects

Recall, Governor Makinde was part of the G-5 Governors in PDP who stood their ground against the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential flag bearer of the party.

That no truce was reached before the election, Atiku eventually lost the G-5 Governor’s States to other parties.

In Oyo State where Governor Makinde holds sway, it was a total victory for APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Was that a coincidence? Did Governor Seyi Makinde make any political deal with Bola Tinubu to deliver Oyo State to him? Only time will tell.

The victory of Tinubu in Oyo State has enlivened the narrative that Makinde purportedly made a deal to deliver the State for Tinubu and will in turn have the support of Tinubu to return as Governor.

According to political pundits, Makinde had played the card of the deal on the South West Agenda for Tinubu and also on the heels of the G-5 Governor against Atiku.

Oyo APC Presidential campaign committee statement and Makinde’s deal with Tinubu

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Committee in Oyo State has however denied having a standing agreement with the state Governor, Seyi Makinde, as believed in some quarters.

A member of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Committee in Oyo state, Nike Ajagbe claimed that president-elect, Bola Tinubu, was a party man, who cannot joke with the success of APC across the country, especially the South-West which he regarded as his stronghold.

Makinde will return to office – PDP Stalwart

A People’s Democratic Party (PDP) canvasser in Oyo State believes that Governor Seyi Makinde will be re-elected by the people of the state.

Balogun Ridwan Fasasi noted that the PDP remains unmoved by Senator Folarin’s move on a coalition. He opined that his coalition plans will translate into a horse race for the sitting governor.

“Yes(sic), as a politician, that’s(coalition) expected of him. Reading through (sic) the political situation of things, it signals into a horse race for the sitting governor”

Asked if Makinde will survive a coalition of other small parties, Fasasi expressed the belief that he stands a high chance of being re-elected despite his scorecard.

“Let the voters decide via the poll, but I’m confident of victory for the ruling party,” he said.

SDP: Two factions?

Another member of the PDP in the state, Honorable Blessing Afolabi, ruled that Senator Folarin’s visitation to Mulikat Adeola didn’t portend a threat to Makinde’s re-election bid.

He claimed that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has two factions, and the Governor has reached out to the other faction under the auspices of Captain Jacob Adejumo.

“We’re for the best. Governor Seyi Makinde has called Captain Adejumo already,” he enthused.

The last lap and the curse from history

Late Abiola Ajimobi was the only governor who ruled Oyo State for two terms. While that precedent had been set, the March 11 gubernatorial elections in Oyo State is definitely going to be a poll like no other. Indeed, another history beckons.

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