Former VP Atiku, Oyo Governor Makinde Trade Words Over Ibadan Explosion


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Monday, squabbled over alleged insensitivity of the former to the explosion that rocked the state some weeks ago.

Equally, on Monday, the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi, paid a condolence visit to the state over the explosion, and Afenifere commiserated with Makinde and the people of Oyo State.

A huge explosion occurred on January 16 at Dejo Oyelese Street, near Old Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija Estate, Ibadan, leaving more than five persons dead, 77 persons injured, and scores of houses partially or completely damaged.

Makinde, on Monday, came down hard on Atiku for failing to reach out and offer condolences to the government, victims, and people of the state following the explosion.

The governor, while receiving Obi in Ibadan, thanked him for visiting the state and prioritising the wellbeing of the citizens over political gain. He said Obi was unlike his own party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Atiku, who had yet to visit the state.

Makinde stated that there were three major presidential candidates in the 2023 elections. He said President Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Obi of LP had reached out to commiserate with him and the people of Oyo State, while Atiku of PDP was yet to extend such sympathy.

The governor said, “I should use this opportunity on behalf of the good people of Oyo State to thank His Excellency, Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State and also the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last election.

“I thank you because politics didn’t sip into this; you came to commiserate with us over the explosion. Actually, investigation is still going on, it was simply illegal miners storing explosives in an environment where they shouldn’t be, a place meant for people to live, it’s not a mining site.

“So, all the lapses that allowed such to happen are being looked into. I’m particularly grateful because the president called me, we have three musketeers that went for that election.

“The president has reached out to me, you have reached out to me, but my own party candidate, not even a call or text message.

“I’m saying this openly so that our leaders would know that, yeah, you have time for politics, you have time for governance, and you have time for humanity. So, we want to say thank you so much. We appreciate this visit.”

But Atiku, in a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, in Abuja, said, “With due respect to Governor Seyi Makinde, we wish to correct his expression about the response of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar to the recent explosion in the city of Ibadan.

“Atiku Abubakar made a condolence message about the Ibadan explosion, less than 24 hours of its occurrence, where he shared his commiseration and empathy with the good people and government of Oyo State over the incident.

“Perhaps, the governor has been too busy to take track of media reports on the incident. But we wish to put on record that on the 17th of January, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar did make a widely available message on the Ibadan incident, which reads as follows:

‘I wish to express my condolences to the good people and government of Oyo State over the explosion that rocked the capital city of Ibadan late on Monday night.

‘While the government continues to provide humanitarian support to victims of the explosion, I commiserate with the families of those who might have lost their lives and property to the explosion.’”

During the visit, Obi, who was accompanied by some of his supporters, including Aisha Yesufu, expressed his condolences to the victims and families affected by the Ibadan explosion, and prayed for comfort in their time of grief.

He commended Makinde for his swift response to the situation, saying, “It is necessary that when things like what happened here in Ibadan happen, and government responds in a manner government should respond, that everybody come to participate and commend them for doing the right thing and that we all do the right thing.”

Answering questions from journalists after the visit, Obi told the federal government under Tinubu that the high cost of governance was unacceptable, because it had limited the capacity of the government to prioritise critical areas, such as education, health, and pulling people out of poverty.

Obi said, “All of us are now involved and all of us should work hard and make the necessary sacrifice to see that we turn around the situation. And that is why it is necessary when things that happened here happen, and the government responds in a manner government should respond, and everybody comes to participate and commend them for doing the right thing.

“It is a matter of sacrifice. Today, elections are over, governance is the key thing and what is required, for me, is to cut down on the cost of governance, especially at the federal level. It is unacceptable the way it is going. We need to prioritise critical areas, such as education, health, and pulling people out of poverty.”

Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mogaji Adejumo, said the delegation led by Deputy Leader, Oba Oladipo Olaitan, representing Pa Adebanjo, visited Ibadan on Wednesday, January 24, to commiserate with Makinde and the people of Oyo State.

It stated that the leader of the delegation, Kabiesi Oba Oladipo Olaitan, delivered the goodwill message from the leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, to the governor, in particular, and to the good people of Oyo State, in general.

Olaitan spoke of the exemplary leadership qualities of Makinde as a true patriot, and his ability to handle situations capable of distracting lesser prepared leaders with distinction.

He extolled the virtues of Omoluwabi (a person of honour) in Makinde, who had led Oyo State with distinction.

In his response, according to the statement, the governor thanked Pa Adebanjo for raising the delegation that included all the national officers of Afenifere, and deeming it fit to identify with him and with the people of Oyo State in their trying moment.

The governor used the opportunity to explain his stand on many national issues, including the restructuring of the polity, which he said was of utmost importance to the Afenifere.

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