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Guber Polls: Intense Horse-Trading In States

Guber Polls: Intense Horse-Trading In States %Post Title
AS preparations hot up for next Saturday’s governorship election, intense political horse-trading has gripped most states of the federation, with candidates and their parties’ stakeholders putting finishing touches to their plans to secure victory.

Up till the weekend, there were covert and overt moves of alliances and consensus building among the major political parties.

In Oyo State, after series of meetings and political give-and-take, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the governorship election, Mr Seyi Makinde, emerged the candidate to be supported by the coalition of political parties seeking to stop ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

Similar to the political intrigues that characterise the battle for the souls of the states towards next Saturday’s election across the country, it took the Oyo stakeholders days to arrive at a consensus.

The outcome was announced by the spokesperson of the coalition and governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, on Saturday evening while addressing journalists at the Bodija home of the former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Ayorinde said the decision was “an open book” for other parties “to plug into” after concluding their various meetings with their caucuses and stakeholders any moment from yesterday.

Earlier on Friday, Chief Ayorinde had hinted that a document had been prepared for concerned stakeholders for perusal and to be signed later as grey areas had been sorted out among the stakeholders in the meeting.

But as events unfolded, sources informed Sunday Tribune that other parties were bent on further consultation with their hierarchies and other stakeholders before taking their final decision.

Against public expectations that the draft agreement would be signed by Friday, the coalition, Saturday afternoon, failed to reach a compromise and had to schedule another meeting for Bodija home of Senator Ladoja, at 5:00 p.m.

Journalists, party faithful and other stakeholders who had stormed Ladoja’s residence as early as 10:00 a.m. on Saturday were disappointed as a source privy to the discussions, then ongoing behind closed doors, said the parties had yet to agree on a decision.

The meeting was attended by four governorship candidates, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Makinde, Sharafadeen Alli of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Chief Ayorinde, in the presence of former Governor Ladoja.

A source who pleaded anonymity said based on the inability of the meeting to reach a conclusion, the sitting was adjourned till 5:00 p.m.  with the hope of finalising talks.

However, sources had hinted many of the opposition parties were being wooed by agents of the ruling APC, a development some people said had made the coalition defy expectations.

After over an hour that the deliberations resumed Saturday evening, Chief Ayorinde and Mr Makinde resurfaced, smiling alongside other stakeholders, to address the press.

Chief Ayorinde said: “with the development, as you can see, Engineer Seyi Makinde is here, smiling. I am here I am smiling. Some of our other colleagues are possibly still with their caucuses and I believe they are also smiling.

“The outcome of our meeting, we are moving forward. We in the SDP have resolved to work with the PDP in Oyo State. And we shall be supporting Engineer Seyi Makinde for governor.

“The parties remain the same as what they are, but for the governorship election on the March 9, we have all resolved to work for the candidate of PDP.”

On the number of parties that adopted Makinde, Ayorinde said “we have so many parties in Oyo State. We have an open book and everybody is plugging into that book. It’s a developing story.

“By now, if I say we are five, by the time we finish talking to you, we may be seven, we may be eight. Every minute, we have been talking on how to come together as a government of unity in Oyo State. It is an open book. We are expecting more and more people to join.”

Makinde, who expressed optimism that the people of the state were ready to vote him as the next governor of the state, corroborated Ayorinde’s claim that the book was not closed against the ADC and ZLP, because they had to “sort things out with their various caucuses at the moment.”

According to Makinde, “like the learned silk mentioned, it’s an open book. People are free to plug in. SDP and Alliance for Democracy (AD) have declared before now. They have been working with us and this is the governorship candidate of the SDP who has also declared his support for us and for unity government in Oyo State.

On the position of the ADC and ZLP on the coalition, he said “we understand they are currently meeting with their caucuses. May be tomorrow, maybe a day before election, they could also plug in. We leave everything open for now.”

Speaking on former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala who pitched his tent with the ruling APC, Makinde said “it’s a free world and I believe this election is about godfathers versus the masses. And I can tell you clearly that the masses will prevail.” (Nigerian Tribune)
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