Foremost traditional ruler from Ogbomosoland, the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Sunday Oyediran, Part II chiefs in Ibadanland, Ibadan family heads popularly known as Mogajis have declared their support for the re-election bid of the Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde.
Others who threw their weight behind the governor ahead of the Saturday, March 18 governorship election, were the market men and women association in the state, traders and artisans, the Nigerian Union of Teachers and Youth groups.
The different groups gave this indication late on Saturday at the Ilaji Hotels and Resort, Akanran, Ibadan, when Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, paid a visit to the Chairman of Ilaji Hotels and Resort and Otun Apesinola of Ibadanland, Mogaji (Engr.) Dotun Sanusi.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that leaders of the different groups declared their support for the governor’s re-election during the visit, as they declared that their decisions were based on the interventions by the Ilaji Resort chairman, whom they said had made it clear that he was supporting the governor’s re-election bid.
Sanusi, who gave a short address to welcome the visitors, said that he was supporting Makinde’s re-election after the governor had mobilised support for the election of Nigeria’s President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in penultimate Saturday’s presidential election.
Governor Makinde, in his response, appreciated Engr. Sanusi, whom he described as his friend and colleague from the Oil and Gas Industry, stating that he has learnt many lessons with regards to stakeholders’ engagement and that things would be better off when he is re-elected.
The governor also used the occasion to reiterate that upon his re-election, he would complete the Beere-Akanran-Dagbolu Road, adding that the road will greatly impact on the economy of axis.
Makinde, who addressed the Ibadan Baales and Mogajis at the meeting, reiterated that his administration would not approve any reform to the Ibadan chieftaincy system without due diligence, noting that his position remains that whatever review will be done to the system must come from within the system.
He added that his proudest moment in office was when he saved the Olubadan Chieftaincy System from crisis, saying: “if the crisis rocking the Olubadan-in-Council was not managed and resolved, Ibadanland, for many years would not have any king on the throne, which would have made our traditional institution to be in shambles.
“I took a bold decision to save that institution, and it is one of the proudest moments for me as a governor.”
The governor, who appreciated the traditional heads, market and artisanal groups for their support, stated that he has committed his re-election into the hands of God and that he is assured that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would record a landslide victory in Saturday’s polls.
He, however, called on residents of the state to not only focus on re-electing him but to also vote for PDP House of Assembly candidates, a development which he noted would help him deliver more under Omituntun 2.0.
He said: “I want to thank my brother, Engr. Dotun Sanusi. Just like he said, I am from the Oil and Gas Industry, and I came out in 2007 to contest for the first time. But I didn’t care whether or not I won the election, as I just wanted to participate.
“One unique thing about where I was coming from is that it is all about your focus, your bottom-line. You assume your stakeholders are behind your common goal, and that is exactly how Oil and Gas industry is.
“I have never held any political position. My first public service is the position of governor, which I am currently occupying, and I had to learn. I came in and focused on the goals to achieve the set targets and ensure I deliver on them. Where I was coming from, I assumed that the stakeholders and I are after the same target. But in the past three plus years, I have come to understand that one has to pay attention to stakeholders’ engagement.”
The governor equally clarified that insinuations that he had issues with the Ilaji Resort chairman were untrue.
“Some people are insinuating that I don’t like my brother, Sanusi, and that that is why I have not fixed the road leading to Ilaji Resort. I came here after I became governor more than two times and I know the impact the road will have on the economy of Oyo State but there are constraints.
“The road coming from Beere through Akanran to Dagbolu was awarded before I came into government and we were managing the contractor, because 30 per cent had already been paid to the contractor, who has not done up to 10 per cent. I didn’t want Oyo State to lose any money. So, we looked at the matter to see if he could execute the projects he was paid for, but it took almost two years. In the end, I had to terminate the project.
“I am sure you would have seen the bridge they are constructing at Olorunsogo, which is being handled by a new contractor because we had to pay twice. There is another road we are constructing from Ajia junction with a spur to Amuloko and we had this place in mind.
“Our aim is to have a stress-free journey from the Ibadan Airport down to this place. But we have limited resources here. The work is ongoing, and we passed through the road on our way down here and I saw visible progress. So, I am giving you the assurance that it will be done,” he added.
The governor also charged residents of the state to ignore those trying to mix politics and religion, noting that he would continue to be fair, just and equitable to all religions.
Earlier, the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Oyediran, had called on Ibadan Baales, Mogajis and market and artisanal groups at the meeting to look at the governor’s achievements in the last three years and seven months, stating that Makinde had been exceptional and thus deserved to be re-elected for another term.
According to the royal father, all traditional rulers in the state decided to support the governor because they have all seen the unprecedented developments he has brought to bear on the state across different sectors.
He added that royal fathers were not ashamed to publicly support the governor for another term.
“I have not been on the throne for too long; but in my 24 years on the throne, I have seen many governors in this state, and I can tell you that Governor Seyi Makinde is the best we have had so far. We should allow him to spend his full term of eight years.
“If you say Obas are campaigning; yes, we are. This is our own governor. If he had been governor of this state before now when there were abundant resources, Oyo State people would have seen a huge difference. But now, despite the paucity of funds, we can all see the wonders he is doing.”
Oba Oyediran pleaded with the leadership of Ibadan to rally behind Makinde, stating that the rest of the state would support him with their votes.
He equally hailed the chairman of Ilaji Hotels for the effort he made in convening the august meeting.
Similarly, the President of Association of Mogajis in Ibadanland, Mogaji Asimiyu Ariori, hailed Mogaji Sanusi for the role he played in ending the street wars in Ibadan, while also commending the governor for the great part his administration played in bringing stability to the city through the setting up of committees to address gang wars and land-grabbing.
The Ologbere of Ogbere, who is also the head of Part II Chiefs in Ibadanland and the Oniladuntan of Laduntan, called on all Ibadan sons and daughters to come out and work for the governor’s re-election.
According to Oniladuntan, Governor Makinde “is a true son of Ona Ara and he has not brought shame to us. He will continue in office beyond four years. Our votes in Ona Ara will be the highest.
“We also appreciate Ilaji [Dotun Sanusi]. He is our Arisekola in Ona Ara and Ibadanland and we assure you, the governor, on behalf of Ilaji, that we will deliver the votes.”
The Babaloja-General of Oyo State, Alhaji Y.K. Abass, Iyaloja Saratu Aduke, president of Oyo State Traders and Artisans, president of Oyo State Cow Sellers and the state chairman of the NUT all commended the governor’s good works in the last four years.
They unanimously declared that since Mogaji Sanusi has declared his support for the governor, their individual associations, some of which have Sanusi as patron or have been receiving his support over the years, will support Governor Makinde to consolidate on the good works he started.