Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has provided insight into his deliberations with his people in the light of the controversy trailing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign.
Makinde made the disclosure on the backdrop of his landslide re-election in Saturday’s governorship elections, earning 563,756 votes to defeat runner-up Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 256,685 votes.
At the February 25 presidential election, the APC’s Bola Tinubu had defeated Atiku Abubakar of the PDP in Oyo and went on to be declared the President-elect.
Tinubu’s victory in the state followed Makinde’s refusal to support Atiku, a northerner, on the PDP’s zoning principles.
The Oyo governor’s partnership with four other aggrieved governors in the party known as the G5 later fuelled speculation that he was supporting southerner Tinubu’s bid across party lines.
But the governor pushed back against the speculation during a live appearance on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict on Sunday.
“Governor Mai Mala Buni just won his own re-election under APC,” he said. “But at the presidential election, PDP carried Yobe State. Does it mean Governor Buni worked for PDP?”
According to him, the reality is that people will make their choices.
“At the end of the day, the decision of who they voted for rested with the people. In all fairness, I told our people, ‘You must not do anything that will threaten the unity of this country’,” he said.
“‘We should be pushing in a direction where we’ll foster a united Nigeria, an inclusive Nigeria.’”
Arguing that the people of Oyo State could not be led blindly, the governor stated that they were “quite sophisticated”, adding that “that is behind us now”.
Makinde said before Nigerians is a president-elect who has emerged, adding that “we must support him [and] work with him for a better country”.
He reiterated that the agitation of the G5 did not place the individual careers of the governors as a major consideration.
“We thought we were going to fight for what is right, what is just for this country and for our party. We said, ‘We prefer to see a PDP that will obey its own constitution’ because rotation and zoning of government and party offices is there; it’s part of PDP’s constitution,” he said.
“None of us ever thought, ‘We’re playing a survival game.’ No. We were just basically saying, ‘Do what is right. Do what is just. Have inclusivity as something that is central in our party and in our country and don’t do anything that can threaten the unity of this country.’ There’s no regret.”