By Adeola Oladele & Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Major opposition parties in Oyo State have adopted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Mr. Seyi Makinde, as their consensus candidate in the March 9, gubernatorial poll in the State.
This is coming after a meeting attended by the four governorship candidates, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (ADC), Seyi Makinde (PDP), Sharafadeen Alli (ZLP) and Bolaji Ayorinde (SDP) in the presence of ex-Governor Rashidi Ladoja, at his Bodija residence on Saturday.
Briefing journalists after the over one hour closed-door meeting, Ayorinde, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, however, said other opposition parties would join before the meeting would end.
After series of robust and extensive meeting of coalition of political parties in the state, they agreed to adopt Makinde to be able to form government of unity in the state.
Ayorinde said the decision was ‘an open book’ for other parties to plug in after concluding their various meetings with their caucuses and stakeholders any moment from today.
Earlier on Friday, Chief Ayorinde had hinted that a document had been prepared for all concerned stakeholders for perusal and to be later signed as grey areas had been sorted out between the stakeholders at the meeting.
But as events unfolded, sources said other parties were hellbent on further consultation with their party heirarchy and other stakeholders before they could take their final decision.
On Saturday, and against expectations, the meeting slated for 12 noon was later adjourned till 5pm for final decision. This, sources informed that other parties involved were meeting with their supporters to take a final decision.
By the time the meeting resumed on Saturday evening, Ayorinde and Makinde returned for the meeting which lasted for over an hour before the two came out smiling with other stakeholders to address the press.
Coming out of the meeting, 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.
“With the outcome of our meeting; we are moving forward. We in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) have resolved to work with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state. And we shall be supporting Engineer Seyi Makinde for Governor.
“The parties remain the same and the parties they are. But for the governorship election on the 9th of March, Saturday next week, we have all resolved to work for the candidate of PDP.”
On the number of parties that have adopted Makinde, Ayorinde said: “We have so many parties in Oyo State, there are so many of them. We have an open book and everybody is plugging into that book. It’s a developing stories.
“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.”
Engineer 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 is not closed against ADC and ZLP because they have to sort things out with their various caucuses at the moment.
According to Makinde, “Like the learned silk mentioned, its an open book, people are free to plug in. SDP, 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 ADC, ZLP’s position about the coalition, “We understand they are currently meeting with their caucuses. It’s an open book, maybe tomorrow, maybe a day before election, they could also plug in. We leave everything open for now.”
On the ex-governor Alao-Akala who has pitched his tent with the ruling party, 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.”