By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Less than 24 hours after the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan affirmed the victory of Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde at the March 9, 2019 governorship election, thousands of Ibadan residents on Tuesday marched to the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, in solidarity with the Governor.
The coalition of Non-Governmental Groups (NGOs) including the Save Oyo; Oyo Mandate Group; Mekunnu Koya; Oyo Dotun; Women Voice and the Oyo State Youth Grand Alliance, at the rally, told Governor Makinde that the people were solidly behind him.
Leaders of the peaceful protest displayed placards, which praised the service delivery agenda of the Makinde administration.
While addressing the crowd, the Governor restated his commitment to serving the people of the State, noting that nothing could happen to the mandate the people gave him on March 9, 2019.
The Governor added that ever since he was elected by popular votes, he had been serving the people, promising not to relent in serving the people and providing the dividends of democracy.
He said: “In Oyo State, we say A ji se bi Oyo laari, Oyo kii se bi baba enikan. We are a unique state, we cannot be cowed into submission, so you all need to be calm. Your votes brought us in and, since we assumed office, we have been serving you, the good people of Oyo State. They cannot pour sands into our garri.
“Nothing will go wrong with your mandate. Your mandate is intact. If they say they have won, why didn’t they come to the Government House this morning?
“They were rejected everywhere in Oyo State. The Ibadan people rejected them, in Ibarapa, Oke-Ogun and Oyo, they were rejected. The same thing equally happened in Ogbomoso. So, what else can they do?
“Please, I beg of you to be law-abiding and go about your daily businesses without being afraid. Let’s exercise calmness as we continue to deliver dividends of democracy to you.”
The coalition of groups, which brought together artisans, market women, student groups and other professionals, sang and danced jubilantly, noting that the refusal of the Court to grant the prayers of the APC to nullify the results of the governorship election, call for fresh election or order a retrial of the election petition was a vindication of the people’s mandate freely given to Governor Makinde.
They urged the Governor not to be distracted by the Court’s decision to allow the appeal of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal to stand, noting that the “contrived judgement, which is against the people of Oyo State” cannot stand the test of time.
Speaking on behalf of the crowd, Comrade Najimdeen Kayode, who is the convener of the Oyo State Youth Grand Alliance, lauded Governor Makinde for his achievements in the last five months, noting that his policies on education, health, security and other areas were already turning around the State and that the people of the State would not watch and allow them to be truncated.
“We are residents of Oyo State drawn from all walks of life and we are here to celebrate with our Governor. We are happy that God gave us Governor Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State and we want to tell you that everyone is with you. We are also protesting against the attempt to snatch the mandate given to you by the people and we will continue the rally until the Supreme Court settles this matter in favour of the good people of Oyo State, who voted for you massively.
“Do not allow the judgment of the Appeal Court to distract you. That judgment is against the people of Oyo State who voted for you in their thousands and are happy with your policies and achievements since you took office. That judgment cannot stand, because the people do not want a return to the dark past.” He said.
Similarly, a female representative from the crowd added that “we appreciate your works. We thank you for everything you have been doing as governor of Oyo State; free education, prompt payment of salaries, improvement of the health sector and the expansion of the Oyo State economy. We see and appreciate what you are doing across Oyo State, from Ibadan to Ogbomoso to Saki.”