The senator representing Oyo South Dr. Kola Balogun has challenged Governor Seyi Makinde to publicly confirm that he withdrew his ticket because of poor performance and failure to relate with party leaders in the senatorial district.
The governor had reportedly endorsed Mogaji Joseph Tegbe who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ticket.
Media reports had claimed that Makinde turned his back against Sen. Balogun because of alleged poor performance, failure to bind with party leaders in the district and the need to poach a popular opposition politician to strengthen PDP’s chances in the next year election.
The governor also reportedly reasoned that he poached Sen. Balogun from the APC the same way in 2019 to weaken APC’s chances in the election. The senator was a governorship aspirant who later defected to African Democratic Congress (ADC) on realizing that his chances of picking the governorship ticket in APC were slim. But he won the senatorial election, historically defeating the then sitting governor the late Abiola Ajimobi.
But Balogun, who is a younger brother to the Olubadan Oba Lekan Balogun, revealed on Friday that he was denied return ticket because Governor Makinde was pressured to believe that the combination of a sitting Olubadan and a brother senator would be too hard for him to control.
He said some informal party leaders who surround Makinde made him fear that his return to the Senate would make the Balogun family too powerful for the governor.
Balogun, in a statement entitled: ‘Real facts why Makinde denied Olubadan’s brother a second term ticket’ on Friday, explained that the governor was initially against the idea of dropping him as a senator but later caved in to the pressure.
It reads: “At the initial stage of preparation for the coronation of the Olubadan, the governor was unyielding but a group within his house impressed upon him the implications of having two Balogun brothers as the Olubadan and as a senator.
“He initially rejected the suggestion by this group. A very prominent resident of Ibadan was with the governor on a pressing state matter when this same set of people came back to further convince him to stop my second term ticket.
“He also rejected the suggestion for the second time. But subsequent efforts of these people brought in a former senator from the state and they made him cave in to their demand.
“Governor Makinde reportedly made some claims that I am not performing and that I am not taking care of the party leaders in the nine local government areas in Oyo South Senatorial District.
“As a Christian, can he swear with the Holy Bible and with his life that those were the real and principal reasons he took that decision?
“I challenge him to publicly swear before the PDP stakeholders; before the people of Ibadan, Oyo South Senatorial District and the entire state that he took that decision solely because of the reasons stated in the report. If he can do this, I will come back to openly apologise to him.
“The allegation of non-performance against me is puerile. The record of my performance and achievements is in the public domain and it is hereby attached to this piece.”
Listing his performance in the last three years and how he fitly bonded with party leaders, Sen. Balogun also challenged the governor to publicly disclose the party leaders in Oyo South Senatorial District who alleged that he is not reaching out to them.
He wrote: “In Oyo PDP, under the leadership of Governor Makinde, we have two categories of party leadership. We have the formal leaders from the ward to the state levels, plus other recognised leaders.
“We have been relating with this category of party leaders in the course of my duty as a senator, both collectively and individually. The records are there for all to see.
“The party leaders in the senatorial district, including the nine local party chairmen, women leaders and youth leaders, among others, are all involved in the various projects, training and empowerment programmes initiated, sponsored or facilitated by me.
“If the allegation is true that I don’t relate with them, why would these party leaders be angry with the governor for denying me a second term ticket? Why would the local government chairmen of the party write to him, asking him to endorse me?
“We however concede to him that there are some informal leaders who are landlords in his Guest House. These people have constituted themselves into a very powerful and influential cartel.
“These informal leaders may be the ones who are complaining because some people who are seeking one favour or the other must go through them in order to get the attention of the governor.
“I don’t think that it is normal for me, as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to have a political relationship with the governor, and having to go through these informal leaders in his Guest House.
“So, they may be the ones complaining that I don’t give them anything. But I have absolutely no apologies to make in that regard.
“Even at that, I don’t part with less than between N100,000 and N200, 000 each time I visit the governor, either at his Abuja residence, Ibadan residence or the Governor’s Office in Ibadan. What else does this governor want from me?”
“At the last PDP stakeholders’ meeting that he called, I gave out the sum of N5 million; N4.5million at N500,000 per local council for the leaders and stakeholders’ from the senatorial district in attendance at the meeting, while the remaining N500,000 was for logistics for those who handled the money.
“On the same occasion, I gave some of his staff who were around that day the sum of N100,000. The same night, the nine local government chairmen in the senatorial district sought to hold a meeting with me.
“I met with them and I also gave them money. So from where did this governor get all these spurious allegations that he is spinning around? The facts are there.
“Our conclusion from all of these is that these allegations are not only spurious, they are also pure lies from the pit of hell.
“Governor Makinde should remember that all power belongs to God and He gives it to whoever He chooses. The battle is still on and the final judgment is of the Lord.”
He rolled out his achievements to include facilitating revolving loans for cooperative societies, loans for youths and women, capacity building for agric entrepreneurs, and facilitating over N350 million COVID-19 loan to over 450 different trade groups, big markets, and other stakeholders in the district.
Others include infrastructural projects, school classrooms, study materials, and boreholes sunk across the district.
Besides, Balogun said he sponsored four bills, submitted a memorandum for the creation of Ibadan State, moved two motions, and submitted a petition against the Nigerian Customs Service for breaking into shops in Ibadan and forcefully taking away stocks of hapless traders.
He added that he supported the motion for the revitalization of the Nigerian textile industry, supported the clearing of Sunday Dare as a minister, and pushed for increased budgetary allocation to Education during the debate on the 2020 appropriation.
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