OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR SEYI MAKINDE AND ALL POLITICAL STAKEHOLDERS IN OYO STATE
“When marginalised people gain their voice and center it on their own experiences, things begin to change”
I write as a concerned indigene of Oke Ogun to appeal to the governor and all other relevant stakeholders across the major political parties with regards to the subtle marginalisation of the Oke Ogun people with respect to the Oyo North senatorial district.
It is a well-known fact that this senatorial constituency is comprises 13 local government areas, 10 out of which belong to the people of Oke Ogun and 3 to Ogbomosho and the voting population in these local governments are a reflection of grassroot numbers.
It is also a political fact that this senatorial seat, despite the obvious superiority of Oke Ogun numbers has been alternated between these two regional blocs overtime. The seat has been occupied by various people in the following order: Senator Brimmo Yusuf from Ogbomosho (1999 – 2003), Chief Robert Koleosho from Saki (2003 – 2007), Senator Andrew Babalola from Oke Ogun (2007-2011), Senator Hosea Agboola (Alleluyah) from Itesiwaju (20011-2015), and the incumbent Senator Fatai Buhari representing the senatorial district since 2015 till date.
Representatives from Oke Ogun (Senators Koleosho, Babalola and Agboola) spent one term each totalling twelve years. Senators Brimmo Yusuf and Fatai Buhari have spent one and two terms respectively equalling the number of years spent by Oke Ogun representatives since the return of democracy in 1999. This is the height of fairness between a district that has more than three times the number of local government areas and another.
Recent political developments in Oyo state especially with regards to the Oyo North senatorial district has been a source of worry and concern to sons and daughters of Oke Ogun and indeed impartial observers of political developments in the state and the country at large.
Granted that Senator Fatai Buhari has performed arguably well as the representative for our beloved constituency. But could that suffice as a ground for the continual domination of 10 Local government areas by 3? Could it be regarded as an indictment that Oke Ogun has no qualified citizen to present for election into the red chamber?
The actions of the major political parties in the state are now adding insult to the sore injury of Oke Ogun indigenes. The People’s Democratic Party recently conducted its consensus arrangement where the ticket of this senatorial district was reportedly handed over to another Ogbomosho indigene and feelers from the camp of the All Progressives Congress has it that the party is about to hand its ticket to the incumbent, Senator Fatai Buhari.
May I at this juncture restate the electoral make up of Oyo state for the timely reminder of political players and watchers of the ongoing chess game, that after Ibadan with 11 local governments out of 33, Oke Ogun comes next with 10 and that is why Ibadan has constantly occupied the Agodi government house and even Ogbomosho with 3 local governments has also enjoyed time in the seat of power. Oke Ogun, despite being the base of the second highest voters in the state has agitated endlessly for a shot at the governorship. Now the two major political parties are out to clear Oke Ogun out of the parliamentary representation that it more than deserves, given that in no sane political climate does a region with 10 local governments share political power on equal basis with another with less than a third of what it has.
This is a clarion call and a timely reminder of the importance of the Oke Ogun voting population to the political fortune of any political party in the pace setters state and to set the records straight that the current political arrangements by the two major parties with regards to Oyo North senatorial district is not in the least acceptable to sons and daughters of Oke Ogun.
MICHAEL OLABISI AFOLABI Is an ex-student leader and an aspirant to the Nigerian Bar.