For today’s governorship election in Osun State, 48 candidates are expected to take part in the exercise, but there is no doubt that their respective hope of succeeding Governor Rauf Aregbesola is attached to major political gladiators and some eminent personalities within and outside the state. They include Governor Aregbesola; National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; former governors of the state, Chief Bisi Akande and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi; Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Speaker of Osun State House of As sembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam and the Adeleke dynasty, among others.
The incumbent governor of Osun State is doing everything possible to ensure that the outcome of tomorrow’s election is in his favour and in the interest of the ruling APC. Having spent two terms in office, Aregbesola is out to install his successor. The governor is solidly behind his former Chief of Staff, Gboyega Oyetola, who is flying his party’s flag. Aregbesola is not a novice in Osun politics having been in the terrain for over 12 years. The governor was at the centre of the state politics in 2007, when he contested against the then incumbent governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Oyinlola winner of the election, Aregbesola after over three years of legal tussle to reclaim his mandate, was declared winner by a Court of Appeal. He was re-elected in 2014 despite tough opposition from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The governor is from Ilesha in Osun East Senatorial district and the APC will be counting on him to deliver his senatorial district to decimate the influence of the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Senator Iyiola Omisore in the zone. Apart from delivering his senatorial district, the governor is also expected to motivate his aides and other party members to ensure that APC wins the state.
The Osun State governorship election is very crucial to the APC national leader, who is regarded as the leader of the party in South-West. Tinubu will do everything possible within his power to ensure that the ruling party does not lose the state. Winning Osun State will be a plus for the progressives’ camp, who are still celebrating APC’s victory in the July governorship election in Ekiti State, which it possible for the party to reclaim the six states of the South-West. Tinubu has a lot of stake in Osun State governorship election. The APC governorship candidate, Gboyega Oyetola is his cousin while Governor Aregbesola is one of his trusted associates. Therefore, it is believed that besides campaigning for Oyetola, he will do everything humanly possible to ensure that his party has a good outing in the election to consolidate his strength in South-West politics.
The Senate President is leading the PDP campaign council for the governorship election. He is not a stranger to politics and having run for governorship elections on two occasions and also edged out his father, Dr. Olusola Saraki,who is regarded as the godfather of Kwara politics, to install his successor during the 2011 governorship election; Saraki will definitely use the Osun poll to prove a point. There is no doubt that Osun State is very crucial to the PDP as its leaders believe that winning the state will provide the opposition party a window to make an inroad in the South-West, which is the stronghold of APC in the 2019 general elections. Besides this, Saraki is eyeing the residential ticket of the PDP, so a win for the party in Osun, will give him some edge over other aspirants.
As a sitting deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yusuf Lasun, is the highest ranking member of APC in government from Osun State. He will therefore do his best to ensure that he join other party chieftains in his federal constituency and senatorial district to ensure that the party has a landslide victory in today’s election.
Chief Bisi Akande is a respected elder statesman, who have paid his dues not only in Osun State, where he served as governor between 1999 and 2003, but also in Nigeria, as National Chairman of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and interim National Chairman of APC. Akande did a lot for the people of Osun State during his tenure as governor and many people believe that as a respected party chieftain, he has what it takes to ensure victory for his party in Ila Orangun and the entire Osun Central, where the party’s candidate, Oyetola hails from.
He is the leader of African Democratic Congress (ADC), a political party linked to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The former Osun State governor and ex-PDP National Secretary, has played active roles in Osun elections since 2007, when he contested as the PDP gubernatorial candidate. He is going to lead ADC’s onslaught against the ruling party and being a Prince of Okuku, the retired military officer will do his best to deliver his town and local government to his new party.
Ooni of Ife and Olu of Iwo
Traditional rulers play crucial roles during elections. Being the closest leaders to the people at the grassroots, some of them, have in the past decided the fate of candidates during polls. Among traditional rulers whose views will shape today’s election are the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi. Both have being vocal on the need for a free, fair and credible election. The Oluwo of Iwo was in the news recently, when he kicked against the idea of calling some Osun State indigenes ‘Ajele,’ which means strangers.
Hon. Salaam, the Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, popularly called Iwaloye (proven character is royal) hails from Ejigbo in Osun West senatorial district. He is a grassroots politician, who has paid his dues in the politics of the state. With his popularity, political acceptability and support throughout Ejigbo, the APC will be relying on him to break the ranks of the opposition parties in his local government and senatorial district.
Though he is a technocrat, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, will ensure that he contributes his quota to the success of his party, APC, in the gubernatorial election. He hails from Ilesha with Governor Aregbesola.
Olaoluwa is the former chairman of PDP in Osun State. He is a grassroots mobiliser, who can win many votes for his party, especially in Osogbo, the state capital where he hails from.
In the political history of Osun State, the Adeleke family name rings a bell, considering the role they have played at the national and state level, politically. The Adelekes have produced a governor and three senators. The PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke is a brother to the first civilian governor of the state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke. Their father also served as a senator. The Adelekes are rich and they have a lot of influence in determining the voting direction of the people of Ede, which has two local government areas. The family is working hard to ensure that they produce another governor, so it is expected that they will throw in everything needed to ensure that Senator Adeleke emerged tops in today’s election.
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