Home » Atiku, Makinde Clash Over Ibadan Explosion Response

Atiku, Makinde Clash Over Ibadan Explosion Response

Former presidential candidate and Oyo governor disagree on condolence message

by Victor Adetimilehin

The former presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, have engaged in a war of words over the latter’s claim that Atiku did not commiserate with the state over the recent explosion in Ibadan.

The explosion, which occurred on January 16, killed several people, injured many others, and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.


Makinde’s accusation

Makinde made the accusation on Monday, while hosting the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, at the Governor’s Office in Ibadan. He said that unlike other leaders, Atiku had not called or sent a message to sympathize with the people of the state over the tragedy.

He said, “I am particularly grateful because the musketeers that went for the presidential election have reached out to me. The president has called me, and you have reached out to me, but my party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has not called or even sent a text message.

“And I am saying it openly, so that our leaders will know that there is time for politics, you have a time for governance and you have a time for humanity. So, we want to say thank you so much, sir. We appreciate this visit.”


Atiku’s rebuttal

Atiku, however, denied Makinde’s allegation in a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, on Monday. He said that he had sent a condolence message to the victims, the people, and the government of Oyo State less than 24 hours after the incident, and that Makinde might have been too busy to keep track of media reports.

The statement read in part, “With due respect to Governor Seyi Makinde, we wish to correct his expression about the response of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar to the recent explosion in the city of Ibadan.

“Atiku Abubakar made a condolence message about the Ibadan explosion, less than 24 hours after its occurrence, where he shared his commiseration and empathy with the good people and government of Oyo State over the incident.

“Perhaps the Governor has been too busy to take track of media reports on the incident. But we wish to put on record that on the 17th of January, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar did make a widely available message on the Ibadan incident.”

A verification by our correspondent confirmed that Atiku had posted a message on his verified Facebook page on January 17, expressing his sympathy to the people and government of Oyo State over the blast.


A political rift?

The public spat between Atiku and Makinde has raised questions about the state of their relationship, especially as both are prominent members of the PDP and potential contenders for the 2023 presidential election.

Some political analysts have suggested that Makinde’s accusation was a deliberate attempt to undermine Atiku’s popularity and credibility in the South-West region, where he enjoys considerable support.

Others have argued that Makinde was merely expressing his disappointment and frustration with Atiku’s perceived lack of empathy and solidarity, and that his statement was not meant to cause any rift within the party.

Regardless of the motives behind the clash, some stakeholders have called on both leaders to bury their differences and work together for the interest of the party and the nation.

They have urged them to focus on the welfare and security of the people, especially in the face of the challenges posed by the explosion and other issues affecting the country.

They have expressed hope that the incident will not affect the unity and harmony of the PDP, and that the party will remain a formidable force in the Nigerian political landscape.

Source: Punch

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