OPINION: Makinde, Oyo Voters And The ‘Ides Of March’ | By Moses Alao

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Popular Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, rose to the zenith of power and splendour, having transformed Rome from a republic to an empire. He fought and won many wars and gave hope to thousands as a hero, leader and visionary.

Around March of BC 44, Caesar was told by a soothsayer named Spurrina that his life might be in danger in the next 30 days, and on March 15, the elephant was felled through the hands of his trusted allies in the Roman Senate. He was stabbed countless times and murdered. It is from this historical experience that the popular warning, ‘beware of the Ides of March,’ originated. It means beware of the 15th of March.

I am not about to teach Literature or tell the Julius Caesar story, which I presume you all know or can read in William Shakespeare’s eponymous play, Julius Caesar. And no, there is nothing to be scared of about the 15th of March; the only date residents of Oyo State must be wary of is the 18th of March, 2023, the date set for the governorship and State House of Assembly election across the country. And, they in all honesty, must be wary of politicians working round the clock, to murder Caesar again by unseating ‘Seyi Makinde, a governor who has worked hard and well for his people and has earned worthy accolades as one of the finest governors around in recent times.

I am simply saying that the coming days are important to Oyo State people and the decisions to be taken therein would have great implications for the state, its teeming people and their future. Dear people of Oyo State, kindly do beware of the ‘Ides of March’ nay, beware of the 18th of March and be wary of some politicians, who are now sharing money, sharing foods and giving false hopes and promising things they will not fulfil.

At every election period, politicians without good antecedents; individuals who have held countless positions or have had opportunities in the past but have no tangible impact on lives, always package themselves as friends of the masses. Of a truth, most of them are sheep in wolves’ clothing and it is imperative for the voters to be wary and cautious in trusting such individuals. Yes, residents of the state must be wary of religious opportunists and pretenders, who are now playing religious cards in order to derail the good works of the incumbent governor and stop his re-election.

From outright lies about religious inbalance in appointments made by Governor Seyi Makinde to trying to incite Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members against the governor, the APC camp has revved up its propaganda machinery with a view to taking power by all means, despite apparently having no plans or good intentions for the people of the state. Therefore, Oyo State voters must beware of their Ides of March. They must be wary of individuals who have 12 years experience in the Senate but not a single major achievement has been attracted to Oyo State through them. Yes, if Teslim Folarin comes by your house, ask him to tell you the single biggest achievement he attracted to his state or his Ona-Ara Local Government and if it is Adelabu, ask him what Oyo State benefited from his years as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The opposition parties in the state have been all talks and promises with no tangible pathway or action plans for achieving their grandiose promises and highfalutin campaign commitments. Ask them why and how did the previous APC government leave over N55 Billion unpaid gratuity arrears from 2011 and how Makinde has been able to pay close to N20 Billion of the debts, the individuals parading themselves as leading candidates will go blank. Ask them what they will do differently from what Makinde has done to reduce Oyo State’s dependence on federal allocations to only 50 per cent, they will tell you nothing practical. Ask them where they will get the funds to drive the empty promises they have been making to Oyo State people, they will not tell you about the financial difficulty most states are facing and how Governor Makinde has been doing wonderfully well with the progressive growth of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue.

In these past days, especially since the conclusion of the presidential election, opposition parties have re-oiled their falsehood machinery and anti-Makinde antics, throwing darts but firing blank. They tried to whip up religious sentiments, trying hard to convince the Muslim Ummah in Oyo State, though too late, that they are what they have never been all their lives. These individuals, who only become committed Muslims during election periods, have been all over the place telling whoever cares to listen about how Makinde is not ‘one of them.’ They have paid tech-savvy youths to design graphics to spin false narratives about the governor, including that some Christian groups have endorsed him and that a PDP platform has asked party loyalists to vote for another party’s candidates. They once also listed names of PDP members, who served in the Atiku presidential campaign council, as supporting the same candidate. But all these are lies and residents of Oyo State must be cautious not to fall for lies from Folarin, Adelabu and their spinners.

With less than a week to the governorship election, opposition candidates, especially APC’s Folarin, seem to believe more in peddling lies than campaigning to Oyo State voters. This is why the voters must be wary of them. Agbara ojo o ni so pe oun o ni wo’le, onile ni o nii gba fun, Oyo State people must prepare for the avalanche of waters that may threaten the core of the building; this great building that is our dear state and which Makinde, the Engineer of Modern Oyo State has guided and improved jealously with solid policies and programmes.

At this point, residents and voters in Oyo State must stand up to the lies of the opposition candidates by telling them that every politics is local and that though the APC won the presidential election; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s victory cannot cleanse Folarin’s years of dirt and politics of desperation. If they happen to pass by your house, to share money and deceive you to vote for the APC on Saturday, saying that because their party has won the Presidency, ask them whether PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan disturbed former Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the APC from operating freely.

Saturday will present Oyo State with the golden opportunity to say Makinde is okay; others can wait till 2027. We cannot afford to miss the golden opportunity to solidify the gains of Omituntun 1.0 as evident in the hundreds of kilometres of completed and ongoing road projects, renovation and equipment of 250 Primary Healthcare Centres, expansion of the state’s economy and the growth of its IGR and prompt payment of salaries and pensions, among others.

*Alao is the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde.

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