…as appointments, minimum wage local govts divide stakeholders
By OLUSESAN LAOYE
With barely three weeks to the change of guard to usher in the Governor-elect in Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) from the out-going Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi of the All progressive Congress (APC) all seem not to be well in the state, especially among the key players and the stakeholders. In the last few weeks, there has been serious cold war among the key players and this has resulted into a war of words between them.
The political big wigs whose influence count in Oyo politics and who are now embroiled in war with the incoming governor are Senator Ajimobi and Senator Rashidi Ladoja, who hurriedly left the DDP to join the African Democratic Party (ADC) few weeks to the last general elections, which he ditched ADC for the Zenith Labour Party .
Although both of ttem are alleged to be angry with Makinde, they have different reasons for this.
Ladoja’s initial grouse with Makinde stemmed from quest of who controls the PDP after the harmonisation of members which was Initiated by the present national chairman of the party Uche Secondus.
After the exercise, Ladoja was seen as the head of the party in Oyo State but his actions were allegedly detested by the Makinde group who felt that his dominance would affect them. His stand on who takes what led to a big crisis which could not be resolved in the state and at the national office of the party in Abuja, led to the second exit of Ladoja from the PDP to the ADC, having realised that Makinde was favoured by Abuja.
That was the situation few weeks to the election when a coalition was formed to chase out the APC from power. The coalition of political parties brought Makinde and Ladoja back as father and son to fight their common enemy.
But the romance did not last as the Ladoja group did not like the composition of the transition committee which it believed disdained their group. Even the sharing formula of appointment by Makinde’s committee did not go down well with the Ladoja group in the Zenith Labour Party.
According to the sharing formula, PDP, 50, ADC 30, Ladoja’s ZLP, 15, while the Makinde’s former party, the Social Democratic Party SDP five. The notion is that the slot given to SDP belongs to the PDP which they believed is still Makinde’s party since he has been carrying it along after leaving the party.
What is also trending now is the positions of the secretary to the government, (SSG), Chief of Staff, and the Deputy Chief of Staff. While it was the intention of Makinde to share these positions with other political parties, strong voices in PDP are warning that these sensitive posts should not be shared to those who are not loyal to him and the party and they are mounting pressure on him not to succumb to the pressure from outside on this.
BusinessHallmark learnt that as a sign that the Ladoja’s group is not pleased with the present arrangements, one of his diehard loyalists from Oke Ogun area of the state who was offered one of the three key positions in government preferentially by Chief Hosia Agboola who is the Chairman of the Makinde’s transition committee, and happens to be from the same place with him, rejected the offer, on the ground that his boss Ladoja was not informed.
The imbroglio between Ladoja and the governor-elect is still going on and no one is sure how this would be resolved before May 29 when Makinde would take over. But political observers believed that it would be inimical to the PDP government to start on this note with those who were instrumental to its success.
The Ajimobi saga with Makinde too began during the election when the APC and the PDP saw the election as a war. This dragged on till the election was fought and won by Makinde.
After the election, there were insinuations that the outgoing APC government was looting the treasury through payment of contractors and award of last minutes contracts. This was seen by the in-coming PDP as a ploy to create problems for it. Makinde’s men cried out and since then, there had been one thing or the other triggering verbal war between the two, which is now virtually on a daily basis.
What is currently causing the crisis between Makinde and Ajimobi are the issues of probe, the minimum wage and the dissolution of the local government. While some people in Makinde’s group want Ajimobi to be probed after leaving office, but though he has not made any pronouncement about this, his body language is showing that he is likely to consider the Ibadan solidarity and may not probe Ajimobi, despite the immense pressure to do so.
The issue which is now a major concern to Makinde is that of the minimum wage which the Ajimobi government is negotiating with the workers.
While Makinde believed that the out-going government should have allowed him to do the negotiation, as he described the action of government as a bobby trap to cause early disaffection between his government and workers, the Ajimobi’s government stated that it was in order to open the negotiation being the one presently in power when the President signed the minimum wage bill into law, saying, that governance is a continuum.
Makinde who is worried about the development declared openly in Abujà that he was not sure if he would be able to cope with the minimum wage. The APC in Oyo instantly took him up and said that he was going back on his words during the electioneering campaign that he only used the issue of workers salary as a bait to cajole workers to vote for him. He was described as a person who deceived the people and the workers.
The APC publicity secretary Dr. AbdulAzeez Olatunde said that there was no basis for Makinde to cry wolf where there is none, saying that Ajimobi as the sitting governor has every right to negotiate with workers as it was even, the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC that called on the government for negotiations, adding that no responsible government would disregard a bill signed to law by the President and that only irresponsible government would disobey the directive of Mr. President. He argued that it was wrong to insinuate that Ajimobi wanted to set a bobby trap for Makinde over the minimum wage matter.
Prince Dotun Oyelade who reacted for Makinde insisted that Ajimobi wanted to start early problems for the incoming PDP government and doubted the sincerity of Ajimobi on the negotiation. Also the Socialist Democratic Party of Nigeria ,(SDPN) cautioned the NLC not to honour Ajumobi’s negotiation, saying that it was not in good faith.
But the Oyo NLC warned the two parties involved not to play politics with the workers’ welfare, saying that there was no basis for both Ajimobi and Makinde to think that the minimum wage would not be paid.
The secretary of the Congress in the State Comrade Ibrahim Mohammed expressed concern that the issue of workers has been politicised and called on government to find means of clearing the outstanding backlog of salaries and entitlements.
One other matter causing crisis between Makinde and Ajimobi is the issue of dissolution of the local governments. A court in Ibadan had ruled that the incoming government of Makinde should not dissolve them.
The argument was that it was the present government that engineered the suit against Makinde to still keep Ajimobi’s loyalists in power at the local governments, whereas Ajimobi himself as soon as he came to power immediately did away with the elected local governments put in place by Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala to appoint his men as caretakers in the councils..
It was however believed that giving all variables Makinde in his wisdom would know how to manage the situation to avert early crisis when he gets to power. What is also going to stand in his favour is the comfortable majority which his party PDP has in the state Assembly.