The simple truth is that Governor Seyi Makindeís factionís victory in Oshogbo today will put the PDP in a far better position to challenge the APCís hegemony in the SouthWest. Itís no surprise, therefore, that the opposition seems bent on seeing him and his candidates fail.
The Southwest is almost becoming a one-party enclave and anyone concerned about the beauty of democracy (premised largely on the contest of ideas and availability of alternative options) would prefer a stronger opposition that would act as check against the ruling party in the region. The Eddy Olafeso faction has been alleged to have strong links with the ruling party, with even stronger allegations it worked for the opposition in past elections. Iím not sure the emergence of that faction is good for the region.
The argument that all heads must be in the same direction across the region before we can have regional integration and genuine development has been proven to be weak, to my mind. Time has shown us that so long we elect folks who can separate governance from partisan politics irrespective of their political parties, the region would record genuine growth and development. The excellent synergy between Governors Makinde and Gboyega Oyetola on the issue of LAUTECH is a case study. (Oh yeah, even if the time and context may differ, itís quite commendable that both individuals from opposing parties did what folks from the same parties couldnít do for aeons.)
Iíve listened to Governor Makindeís candidate (Ambassador Taofiki Arapaja) speak on a number of occassions. My take-away is that he isnít really at home with policy discourse and all of that but he has a far better grasp of politicking, ostensibly because he was a by-product of the Adedibu School of Politics and Intrigues.
Should Governor Makindeís faction emerge victorious (itís the shoo-in), I reckon now that the biggest test of Makindeís leadership credential would come from his (in)ability to unite the rancorous factions in the party across the region. Iím not sure he has done this quite well thus far, particularly in his immediate domain. (To be sure, I have strong reservations for some of the ridiculous demands put forward by those against him in Oyo PDP but thatís by the way).
Ultimately, how well he is able to navigate these murky waters would determine how efficient the party can indeed act as check against the rampaging APC in the region.
The point that both factions merely represent six and half a dozen remains salient. To be sure, Governor Makinde himself has been rumoured to be fraternising with the Oyo APC, a claim he has denied. But if what we know about politicians remains, it wonít be surprising if the claims are indeed true.
This notwithstanding, some of these concerns could as well be downplayed somewhat. For one, the link between the Arapaja/Makinde faction and the APC isnít as strong as that of the Eddy faction, if what seemingly aloof party members say is anything to go by.
More importantly, much more than the Eddys of this world, Governor Makinde has more to lose, both in political capital and public perception, if he joins the APC today. Thatís in addition to the optics of being an incumbent governor with considerable financial muscle to stabilise the party.
Now, Iím under no delusion that there is any sound ideological motivation for these politicians struggling to outshine one another in all of this. No! Afterall, Arapaja was at some point a fly-by-night APC stalwart. Itís needless putting ideology at the centre of contemporary Nigerian political discourse. Itís a flawed decision through and through.
YET, we canít afford to ignore politics in its entirety ostensibly because of the absence of ideology, especially because no matter how sweet our governance/development ideas are, those who would implement these ideas will spring up from the ideologically-deficient political system. And because of the interface of politics and governance (which affect the mass of our impoverished people) whatever happens in PDP today would rub off on the regionís developmental stride going forward, even if marginally.
For me, the ultimate beauty of democracy is the availability of choices. A stronger opposition can never be bad for the Southwest region. Nothing brings docility (and ultimately, crass mediocrity) than the absence of opposition. And the ripple effect will be felt in the area of governance and sustainable development.