With the Osun State governorship election fast approaching, the gladiators in the state have begun strategising. The war of words is on as the political juggernauts are warming up with the battle line drawn. ADEOLU ADEYEMO, in this analysis x-rays some outstanding governorship contenders and their chances
From all indications, there are many gubernatorial candidates from different political parties that are ready to govern the state after the exit of the outgoing governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola early next year. As a result of this, many contenders from these political parties are all out to outsmart one another in the forthcoming race.
Out of these contestants, however, there are four outstanding political parties with seasoned gubernatorial candidates who can stand the test of time before, during and after the election. They are Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Fatai Akinade Akinbade, African Democratic Congress (ADC), Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress.
However, there are multi-billion naira questions like do they really have the wherewithal to raise their head above water in the fierce gubernatorial race? Do they have the strength? What are their antecedents in the state politics and politicking? Who are the financiers to ensure their victory at the poll? Are they men of integrity? Do they have the ability and strength truly to govern the state? What are their pedigrees on the lips of many political watchers in the state and outside the state?
Iyiola Omisore (SDP)
A chartered engineer and seasoned administrator, Iyiola Omisore emerged as the SDP candidate in the election. Fondly referred to as ‘Otunba’ or ‘Apesin’ by his friends he had served as the elected deputy governor of Osun State from 1999-2002 on the platform of AD and also as senator from Osun East district from 2003-2011. To his strengths, Senator Omisore seems to have the backing of some notable politicians from Abuja.
Omisore has a very massive grassroots support in the state and his victory would bring together all the disgruntled elements and his emergence as the governor would re-harmonize the Osun SDP and as a remarkable financier of the SDP in the state. He will be ready to provide the needed financial muzzle to withstand the APC and PDP money bags. Since Omisore had once occupied the deputy governorship seat of the state and had once been in power, the influence they will wield on the electorate is inexplicable.
It should be noted that Senator Omisore is very strong as he has the ears of the “Who-is-who” that is believed to be in line with his political tactics.
With his closeness with powerful politicians in the country and Osun State, his stints at the senate and presidency have made him to be the outstanding and an exposed politician in the field of politics. His campaign train is also moving fast to all nook and cranny of the state to convince the electorate that SDP is the only political party that has the chances of winning the forthcoming election in the state.
Also, his structure and followership are his greatest source of influence and power. Omisore’s has direct access to the people in power; his impeccable antecedents at the Senate, his romance with some political leadership are bases of his influence and power. It should be noted that his presence would cause a stir in the camp of the opposition during the election and as such we cannot but say he is a very strong personality to be reckoned with in Osun 2018 polls.
However, the age-long unsubstantiated allegation of his alleged involvement in the murder of late Chief Bola Ige may be his albatross, even though the court has vindicated him.
Moshood Adeoti (ADP)
Alhaji Moshood Adeoti graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1984 from the University of Benin. He was the State Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), in 2003 and later the State Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2006. Alhaji Adeoti was a one-time Chairman, Iwo Local Government and on January 7, 2011, Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola appointed him the Secretary to the State Government.
Born in Iwo, Adeoti is political father and grandfather to many politicians in the state.
He is an experience politician who understands the way politics is played in the state and having him in any political circle, is an added advantage to the party because he has all it takes to influence and add values to his victory and that of the party in the Osun 2018 governorship election.
His exit from the All Progressives Congress (APC) is now causing ripples within the circle as his political followers are moving out of the party in thousands also to join his ambition in the ADP.
Adeoti is a politician of note who has written his name in the annals of Osun politics and he has high influence on his political followers. While in power on the platform of APC, he has made connection of highly influential politicians that could enhance his emergence as the state governor.
Adeoti strength stands as solid as ever in Osun politics because he knows his onions and understands the rudiments of state politics. His strength stands him out as one of the leading politicians in the state.
It is believed that he had the backing of some notable political bigwigs within APC before decamping to ADP. He can as well influence his ambition due to the fact that, his political structure still remains intact in the state. After joining ADP, Adeoti has taken many disciples away from the APC and this has been giving the party sleepless nights.
Senator Ademola Adeleke (PDP)
He is not known in Osun politics and people even described him as a politician of circumstance. In the field of politics he is yet to learn all the rudiments in the political field but as fate would have it, after the demise of his elder brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, he contested for the vacant position and won as electorate transferred the love they had for the late brother to him and ensured he emerged as Senator representing Osun West senatorial district at the upper chamber.
As a result of this, politically, he is still at the infancy stage but his late brother and living elder brother, Deji Adeleke’s antecedents could help him to emerge as the next governor of the state.
For instance, his late brother’ Senator Isiaka Adeleke was a native of Ede and was popularly known and called ‘Serubawon Osun’ simply because he was a political guru and tactician. He earned the appellation when he contested and won gubernatorial poll under the SDP of Ibrahim Babangida’s two party system.
Today it is on record that Senator Adeleke was the first executive and the youngest serving governor of Osun State. Before his death, the older Adeleke was a power broker and an astute politician. He was a force to reckon with as he was in firm grip of his constituency and he spread political tentacles across the state with large supporters, something his brother has inherited.
Apart from the fact that Ademola is a serving senator who has the resources to pursue his political ambition, he is blessed with his elderly ones like Deji and Dupe Adelekes who have very deep pockets to back him financially for the exercise without stress.
The settlement of differences between Ademola Adeleke and his keen contestant in the party primary election, Akin Ogunbiyi is a plus for his political chances in winning the state because they have now teamed up as an indivisible force to wrestle power from the ruling party in the state.
Adeleke enjoys the support of Honourable Adejare Bello, who is a native of Ede in Ede North Local Government Area of Osun State particularly in Osun West Senatorial District. He is a Barrister at Law and former Minority Leader of the Osun State House of Assembly as APP member representing Ede North Local Government in 1999-2003 during Bisi Akande’s regime.
A former and longest serving Speaker of the Osun House of Assembly for eight uninterrupted years- 2003-2011- and he is an active member of PDP in the state who has brought his political doggedness, experience and versatility into Osun politics in 2018 ahead of guber polls and also in 2019 general elections period for Adeleke.
As a longest serving speaker having spent 12 years in the State House of Assembly has made him to be so influential among the people both old and young men and women most especially among the traditional rulers who have confidence in his ability to perform and excel.
His vision is for the PDP candidate to Adeleke emerge the winner of September 22, 2018 gubernatorial poll in Osun. If the observation of political analysts is anything to go by Hon. Adejare Bello would not want to be beaten politically in his abode.
Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola (APC)
Until his emergence as APC candidate in the state, Oyetola was the Chief of Staff (COS) to Governor Rauf Aregbesola. But he is a “foreign” politician who does not have his political roots in Osun State.
Born in Iragbiji of Boripe Local Government of the state of on September 29, 1954 he attended University of Lagos, where he bagged Bachelor of Science and Master Degrees in Business Administration with specialisation in Finance from the same University of Lagos in 1990. He is a successful insurance magnate and was appointed as the Chief of Staff by Governor Rauf Aregbesola on January 7, 2011. It is being rumored that he is Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s first cousin.
His influence and weight in his home town remain cloudy, dicey and un-predictable as he is still learning the politics of the state.
However, his political backer and mentor – Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola- who has achieved greatly in giving dividends of democracy to the people of the state could be considered as his ladder to the Osun State helm of affairs.
The outgoing governor would not want to lose at the poll but to win to boost the chances of APC in Osun State for another four years after expiration of his tenure. The party’s victory in the state will soften the ground for further elections in 2019 and at the same time plant his political machinery on ground to dismantle any opposition.
The influence Aregbesola and power of incumbency which he wields so strongly is a strong factor and the governor in his hometown Ilesha, can convince his kinsmen so easily and this will help him sell APC to them bearing in mind that his constituency is one of the largest voting zones which dictate who governs the state.
From all indications, his dream of planting his successor on the seat may be realized since he has a structure on ground, he continues with such. His vision for qualitative education, health, agriculture and roads will be better intensified if re-elected.
Without mincing words, Ogbeni Aregbesola is a strong political APC stalwart and as the governor, he is a grassroots mobiliser. His affinity to Asiwaju Tinubu is a plus for him and this will definitely boost successor ego. The financial wherewithal is no problem for him, as the incumbent, he has access to resources to face anyone.
Another dream of Ogbeni Aregbesola is a matter of continuity as he would work so assiduously to retain the seat for his successor to ensure that all his projects and legacies are not rubbished by any successive government; knowing full well that he was the initiator of such projects.
Of equal importance is the federal might and supports of neigbouring states in the South-West. On Thursday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led several governors and party leaders to the state rally to boost his moral with the broom revolution.
But considering the fact that he is from Ilesha, he is definitely going to meet a very stiff opposition in the likes of Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Erelu Olusola Obada, who are from the same place with him. The Ilesha people may definitely split their votes for these giant politicians. Since he is vying for governorship, people tend to see other politicians from the zone as home based while Ogbeni is seen as an ‘imported’ politician from Lagos who did not actually spend most of his life at the grassroots.
But to his credit, his educational and infrastructure reforms are to certain extent-remarkable only that his classification exercise married its achievements relatively. Summarily, Governor Aregbesola is a strong APC stalwart with former Governors Bisi Akande and Ahmed Tinubu being his mentors and godfathers. His popularity amongst civil servants hangs in the middle as the pacts with Osun labour unions have not been fully implemented.
Non-payment of workers’ full salaries is a major hindrance. Of course, this could be a major reason why his candidate may be voted out on election day. Osun is a civil servants’ state and if the workers determine not to vote for his successor, it means, the party and the candidate would lose during the exercises.
Also, failure of the government to pay compensation to many of the people rendered homeless by government through its urban renewal policy and still squatting in friends’ houses is a major problem. As a result of this, they might not vote for his candidate at the poll.
There are so many aggrieved party members who were opposed to the emergence of Oyetola as the party flag bearer for the race. Out of these members, thousands had defected to other political parties while some are believed to remain in APC to serve as spy for those who had already left. This development may cripple APC chances at the poll.
Some indigenes of the state who are members of the APC are said to be opposed to his candidacy for eight reasons. They said though the voted for Aregbesola four years ago because they were convinced he was the best candidate, today, they simply not convinced that Alhaji Oyetola has what it takes to make a positive difference.
They said the continuity agenda indicated that Oyetola wants to perpetuate current government’s “heritage of half salaries, non-payment of pensions and arrogance of ignorance that pervades the land, conflict of interest in the collection of the state’s IGR and lack of preparedness on the part of the candidate.” They also fear that Oyetola, who is from Iragbiji might turn out working for a surrogate governor in Lagos.
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