IT is no longer news that Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the governorship election in Oyo State, having polled a total of 515,621 votes as against the 357,982 votes scored by his closest rival, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP candidate, according to INEC, won in 28 local government areas, out of the 33 local councils in the state, defeating his APC counterpart with a margin of 157, 639 votes.
This is no mean achievement, considering the fact that you not only won in almost all the entire local government areas in Ibadan (his place of birth), but also the first time PDP had swept the governorship poll especially in Iseyin, a local council that has always been seen as an exclusive preserve of the progressives.
For you, it has been over one decade of patiently, but steadily and firmly pursuing a conviction- several years of waiting, toiling and crisscrossing, virtually the entire landscape, holding long enduring meetings, mostly at inconvenient hours. More than anyone else, you are the one who will really know and feel the depth, intensity and impact of the burning furnace you went through before coming to the present reality.
While it is not out of place to celebrate this hard-won victory, it is apposite to sound a note of warning here: the merriment should be done with caution, laced with deep, sober reflections. The truth is that a heavy burden has been placed on your shoulders as the Oyo governor-elect and there is no room for complacency. The entire people and residents of the state are looking up to you and your incoming administration with great expectations, hopes and aspirations.
The groundswell of support for you from across the state, from the buildup to the election and in the course of the poll, was massive; the outcome of the exercise was indeed a testimony to the will of a people who gave their all to ensure that the candidate of their choice emerge the winner.
Our dear governor-elect, this time calls for more introspection. You cannot afford to let the people and residents of the state down. Yours is a victory for all: it came at a point when some Nigerians (arguably in the majority) have lost faith in PDP. Your electoral victory was not as a result of party affiliation but simply because your people have absolute trust in you and in your person.
For more than a decade, you have been on ground, providing and giving succour to thousands of hapless and poor people at your individual level. You have proved yourself to be a great humanist and selfless philanthropist who is deeply concerned about the poor and degrading inhuman situation of his fellow man. More than ever, now is the time to show and prove it that the milk of kindness flowing in you is no fluke or a means to an end, aimed at getting to the top, using the weaknesses that abound in the poor.
Without any iota of doubt, your outgoing predecessor has elevated governance in the state. The onus rests on you to take up the challenges and strive to take Oyo to a greater pedestal. Bring the state back and up to its appellation – Ajise Bi Oyo Laari. Let Oyo, once again, be the shining example unto other states in the South-West, nay the entire country. Let the people know that the Seyi they have known all these years is real.
From thenceforth, see yourself as the father and governor of all, irrespective of party leanings. Let all the people of the state, both those voted for you and those who did not, feel the positive impact of your government. While it will be extremely difficult to find acceptance from all, it will not be out of place for you to seek to promote the happiness and welfare of the greatest number. As your slogan, Omi Titun, implies, let the entire people of the state drink from freshness of water that will be oozing out of your administration.
As the saying goes, success has many children, but please be wary of sycophants who will be milling around you in droves, only seeking for your attention and currying your favour. Many of them are fair-weather friends who are out for pecuniary and relevance. Nothing hastens the fall of a man in power faster than surrounding himself with ego massagers.
The swearing in is on May 29 but start implementing now your marshal plans and compact policies for the corporate interest of the state. But in doing this, please also do this one thing: align yourself to and with the people, the masses, who brought you to power. They have been with you through the thick and the thin; under the sun and in the cold.
Four years is a long journey, seemingly far, but very near. The time to start working is now. Our dear Governor-elect, there is no time to waste, please hit the ground and start running now. All eyes (both friends and foes alike) are on you. Be as gentle as a dove and as wise as a serpent.
History beckons and you must start writing your own now, and in gold. You cannot afford to fritter away the massive goodwill on the altar of complacency. The task, no doubt, is challenging but not insurmountable.
- Falade is on the staff of the Nigerian Tribune.