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Genuine Reconciliation Will Ensure APC Victory In Osun Come 2026 – Makinde

Rotimi Makinde is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former member of the House of Representatives. In this interview, he speaks on President Bola Tinubu’s administration, Osun State politics, and how APC can bounce back stronger and defeat the Governor Ademola Adeleke-led government in 2026, ANAYO EZUGWU reports

President Bola Tinubu is celebrating his first anniversary in office. As one of the key figures who vigorously campaigned for him, how would you assess his administration given that the country seems to be bleeding?

Well, there is no doubt that Nigerians are witnessing harsh economic realities and other challenges but we must be fair to this government led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He came to power at a critical moment and must lay the foundations needed to drive the economy and other sectors.

By the time he took over, we knew where Nigeria was and it was not going to be that easy. My only consolation is that he can turn this country around to an enviable status, so Nigerians need to be patient with him. Even the best of reforms will not produce benefits overnight; we still need a bit of time for the reforms to mature.

It’s not easy for anybody now but there is hope that things will not continue this way without an end. I am hopeful that President Tinubu will fix this country. One year is not enough for an objective assessment given the rot he inherited but he is not folding his hands, his government is working and doing the needful but we need to have more patience. It’s a sacrifice we all have to make.

The hardship is becoming unbearable and organised labour is kicking with the nationwide strike; what can you say about it?

Nobody is saying that all is well but something is being done. They are putting up palliatives although the type of palliatives I had expected was not to give out money but to intervene in critical areas, for instance, providing relevant amenities for farmers for their agricultural activities, interventions on transportation, communication, ensuring safety and all that.

Across Nigeria, a general strike demanding higher wages has brought the country to a standstill and you ask: Is that the best solution? The protester’s voices are loud and clear; the economic reforms, they say, have nudged more people into the abyss of poverty. There seems to be a tug-of-war between the government and labour unions.

The striking workers’ demand for higher wages is a response to the hardship, a call for immediate relief in the face of the rising cost of living but the increment must be cautiously done else you inflate the economy more and more.

I know that the reforms over time are indispensable for the nation’s fiscal health. I think that these reforms have resulted in short-term hardship for many Nigerians. For us, strikes have become a recurrent decimal, an unpleasant reality we’re forced to grapple with.

Sadly, essential services have become bargaining chips in high-stakes negotiations. The truth is that the increase demanded by labour is likely to inflate the government wage bill by at least N9.5 trillion ($6.3 billion).

My take is that both the government and labour must be realistic in the negotiations, be transparent and let empathy, wisdom and resilience be our compass. I trust that the man in the driver’s seat will deliver the needed democracy dividend that will take this country to a greater level.

You are one of the arrowheads of a movement called the South West Agenda (SWAGA) that was as far back as 2020 campaigning for the President. What’s your group’s fate in his government?

It is the truth that no one can murder and the role played by SWAGA led by Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Soji Akanbi, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Hon Bosun Oladele, myself and others.

We are still committed to our confidence that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed will deliver, we remain hopeful and believe our principal is a man that never overlooks good deeds as well. We are happy our journey was never in vain and we shall continue to wish Mr. President well.

Your party, APC is the main opposition in your state, Osun, today. What is the fate of the party?

I want to tell you that the future of APC in the state is very bright especially if we adopt genuine reconciliation and allow unity to be our watchword. Failure to do just that would be a further disaster for Osun APC.

We shot ourselves on the foot in 2022. PDP was never our match but Internal crisis and lack of commitment cost us unnecessary and avoidable electoral misfortune even though our party performed creditably well.

There are factions in Osun APC, which of the two major groups do you belong to, Ileri-Oluwa or the Omoluabi?

I am more of pro-APC as a party and former Governor Gboyega Oyetola is the face of APC. I am a party man to the core; there’s no controversy about where I stand, call it IleriOluwa, I don’t care, but mind you that was the option before me as ex-Governor Rauf Aregbesola was seen to have distanced himself and I was left at crossroads. Remember, Oyetola is my inlaw, I married from Iragbiji, so that was the only sensible option before me.

How can you also assess Aregbesola as a leader of the party?

I will forever be grateful to Ogbeni Aregbesola for so many reasons and I never shall be seen to disrespect him as my leader and as a mentor. But I am not happy with the turn of events.

That is my principle towards any of my benefactors, of course without being economical with some grievances in my heart, I feel bitter towards him because for his sake, I had so many enemies for myself, especially in Ile-Ife, when he contested for his second term and won the 2014 election against Senator Iyiola Omisore who is from my local government.

But thereafter, he had the state machinery to support me, I was unprotected when it was the turn for my election barely six months later. I had to face a lot of challenges which also included security. Late Oba Sijuade, may his soul rest in peace, was so unhappy with me despite my closeness to him.

He was so keen to have an Ife born as governor but I had to be loyal to my party. Baba told me I may not win the election before the election day and he gave me a genuine reason. He said: Rotimi, you are too hard on Omisore.

Having lost the election in 2015; was there any compensation for you from your governorship candidate, who won?

That is the irony of politics and what I continue to see as a big lesson I got in politics and what I termed as a sin done on me. The same Aregbesola to whom I laboured so much for couldn’t protect me when it mattered most or save me from total ridicule in my community at least compensate me with a good position.

Three of us who could not make our return to the National Assembly expected so much as he began his second term. APC is very funny when it comes to rewards.

Even though we were there for him wholeheartedly and I made so many enemies at home, not a single reward came for almost three years in his second term and I saw hell.

He preferred to govern our state without a cabinet for almost three years. He abandoned most of us who put our lives on the line to ensure he was victorious.

He never made a case for my former colleagues from Osun State who also couldn’t return in 2015. Hon Nathaniel Agunbiade, Hon Adetunji Ajagbe and myself were left in the cold.

I honestly felt that wasn’t fair enough. We were ready to work even without pay. No one can change this fact in history; it is on record that he governed our dear state with such an unprecedented record and without a cabinet for close to three solid years.

I guess that prompted why a law was passed by our colleagues in the 8th assembly that now made it mandatory and with a specific time frame for an elected executive to form a cabinet.

Having lost the election in 2015; was there any compensation for you from your governorship candidate, who won? That is the irony of politics and what I continue to see as a big lesson I got in politics and what I termed as a sin done on me.

The same Aregbesola to whom I laboured so much for couldn’t protect me when it mattered most or save me from total ridicule in my community at least compensate me with a good position.

Three of us who could not make our return to the National Assembly expected so much as he began his second term. APC is very funny when it comes to rewards.

Even though we were there for him wholeheartedly and I made so many enemies at home, not a single reward came for almost three years in his second term and I saw hell.

He preferred to govern our state without a cabinet for almost three years. He abandoned most of us who put our lives on the line to ensure he was victorious.

He never made a case for my former colleagues from Osun State who also couldn’t return in 2015. Hon Nathaniel Agunbiade, Hon Adetunji Ajagbe and myself were left in the cold.

I honestly felt that wasn’t fair enough. We were ready to work even without pay. No one can change this fact in history; it is on record that he governed our dear state with such an unprecedented record and without a cabinet for close to three solid years.

I guess that prompted why a law was passed by our colleagues in the 8th assembly that now made it mandatory and with a specific time frame for an elected executive to form a cabinet.

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