Ahead of the governorship election in Osun State next weekend, AYOBAMI AGBOOLA looks at the various candidates, their chances and permutations in the quest for the soul of the state referred to as the Land of Virtue
As the governorship election in Osun State gathers momentum, the gladiators are up in arms in the fight to sell their programmes to gain the votes of the close to 2, 000, 000 voters in the state.
In view of the state’s history of electoral violence as witnessed in the 2018 election and others, scores of supporters, interest groups, traditional institutions, civil society organizations are coming out to stress the need for the gladiators to give peace a chance and never to see politics as a do or die affair.
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has put the number of political parties contesting the election at 15 and their candidates are expected to comply with the requirements set by the electoral umpire.
Osun State has 30 local governments areas with 3,763 polling units, 332 register areas and 1,955,657 voters, and of the 15 political parties participating in the election, about five are seen to be the major parties who have what it takes to win the election. The parties are the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), Accord Party, (AP), and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Contestants and their names and parties for Osun gubernatorial elections area namely: Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Party (APC), Senator Ademola Adeleke, (PDP), Akin Ogunbiyi of Accord Party (AA), Lasun Yessuf of Labour Party (LP) and Arc Akinrinuola Omigbodun of Social Democratic Party (SDP). However, the July 16 gubernatorial election will be a straight battle between arch rivals, the incumbent Governor, Gboyega Oyetola of the APC and Senator Ademola Adeleke PDP.
The National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, inaugurated an 86-man National Campaign Council for Osun Governorship election with a stern warning that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party under his leadership has zero tolerance for failure. Shortly before then, the ruling party had recorded a smooth victory in the Ekiti State governorship election held on June 18 with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaring the immediate past Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Biodun Oyebanji, as the winner of the contest.
It was against this background that Adamu gave a marching order to the campaign council to do everything possible within the law to win the election. He further stated that the campaign council should not come back crying as failure is not an option. “I was told that the governorship candidate of the opposition is a money bag. So we must be prepared to face him eyeball to eyeball.
We are going there to win and that plan to win, the ability to execute the plan rests with the leadership that this council is going to provide in the campaign efforts. “I urge you to leave no stone unturned. I urge you to go there and do whatever is doable in the laws of the federal republic of Nigeria and Electoral law to win. My tolerance level and this national working committee level for failure is really really zero.
Nobody should come back to us crying, failure is not our own by the grace of God. Whatever it takes within the laws of the land, I said go for it, win the election. Let them go complain, let them go wherever, let’s win the election. We have no apologies whatsoever for this posture because these two elections are best for the national election coming up in 2023,” The APC National Chairman had said.
The directives given by the National Chairman of the ruling party has made the leading opposition party to wake from their slumber, and ever since then started mapping out some strategies to conquer the battle..
It would be recalled that in 2018, the PDP was coasting to victory when the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election inconclusive and subsequently fixed a date for the rerun where the APC emerged victorious. Initially, the indigenes of the state and political observers were angry because they believed the election was rigged, but four years on, their anger is said to have been assuaged with the modest achievements of Oyetola. Within the space of three and half years, Oyetola has recorded remarkable achievements that will put him in a better stead to win a re-election.
Some notable achievements recorded include construction of a 120-bed ward at the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo which is 95 per cent completed; construction of 30 units of Doctors’ Quarters at the state specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo at 90 per cent state completion; construction of health centres in all the 332 wards across the state.
Others are rehabilitation and renovation of Trauma Centre, New Theatre Complex, Children’s Ward, Main Laboratory, Blood Bank Building and Surgical Ward at the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, which has been completed; renovation and rehabilitation of Gov- ernment House Clinic and the State Secretariat Staff Clinic, Abere, which had been completed; and release of N477.9 million as premium for the enrolment of vulnerable citizens of the state into the Osun Health Insurance (O’HIS) Scheme.
Others are: Construction of N2.7 billion Ola Iya flyover; reconstruction of the 13.15km Ada-Igbajo township road; which was abandoned for 33 years; construction of 25km Ede-Ara-Ejigbo road; construction of 8.1km Moro-Yakoyo- Ipetumodu-Asipa road, which was abandoned for 45 years; Ada-Igbajo road which was literally forsaken for 33 years; roads in the Akindeko-Awosuru- Alekuwodo area; Osogbo-Kelebe-Iragbiji road as well as the 20km Ejigbo-Ara Junction-Ede road; rehabilitation of Ikirun/Iree/Eripa/Otanayegbaju/ Ila- Orangun road.
Also, the rehabilitation of Ikirun- Ekoende Road, State of Osun 2.5km; Rehabilitation of Aagba road 1.83km; rehabilitation of 1.8km Itaasin (St. Stephen) -Our Lady’s School -Police Divisional Headquarters, Modakeke -Famia Road; Construction of 30km Gbongan – Akoda Road (Federal road); Total Overlay of 6.092km Ikirun (Idi Esu) R/A- Iragbiji Road; rehabilitation of Osogbo- Kelebe- Iragbiji Road, including extension to 28.09km Idi-Odan-Anaye-Araromi and rehabilitation of 3.75km Chief Adebisi
Akande/Olajokun Park-Adenuga junction -Oke Church Olufi Market Gbongan, and the ongoing rehabilitation and reconciliation of popular Baruwa/Back of Adolak hotel road among others. Oyetola also recently approved rehabilitation of 25 roads totalling 200 kilometres across the state of the living spring.
The coming of former Deputy Governor and the National Secretary of APC, Senator Iyiola is a factor in his favour. Omisore is a strong politician in Osun East Senatorial District, especially his hometown, Ile-Ife and Ife South Local Government Area of the state.
However, one of the major factors that will work against Oyetola is the face-off between him and his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who is now the current Minister of Interior.
It’s a known secret that Aregbesola is opposed to the reelection of Oyetola. Though Aregbesola has not really stated categorically what Oyetola has done wrong, he had claimed the incumbent governor was witch-hunting him.
He accused Oyetola of a deliberate attempt to abolish his legacies, claiming that Oyetola abandoned his progressives ideals. “There is no harm in replacing someone who is not doing well and not in tandem with progressive ideals. That is what we are working on and that is why we have come to you. I worked very hard to ensure Oyetola’s election.
It was, however, a rude shock when he got into office and started a grand witch-hunt against me,” Aregbesola had said. On his part, Senator Adeleke appears a better prepared candidate this time around. He has said his mission and vision is to bring foreign investors to industrialize the state.
At his campaigns, he said the people should not bother that “I will bring foreign investors that will come with foreign currencies to invest in the state. I am into agriculture and I know how to capitalize on it to make wealth.
About 70 per cent of those who attend Adeleke University, Ede, are on scholarship. During COVID- 19 lockdown, we shared rice and beans to people even when those in government were hoarding food items. Suffering will end in Osun when I become governor.
“If we don’t find a solution to the issue of insecurity in the state, people will start leaving the state. They are already leaving. We will make sure that Amotekun and other security agencies are well taken care of. If we really have a helicopter, we will use it to make surveillance. I am happy to tell you that I am an expert in security and I am a criminologist. I will bring my knowledge to bear in Osun if I become the governor.”
Adeleke hails from Ede town, the headquarters of Ede North and South Local Government areas. These two local Governments would help him a lot because of the block votes. At least the eligible voters in the local governments are more than 40,000 which was one of the major factors that played out in the tremendous performance of the PDP candidate during the 2018 governorship election.
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal has directed residents and indigenes of Ede to vote massively for Senator Adeleke and ignore 2026 false promise of governorship rotation to Osun West.
Speaking while receiving the PDP governorship candidate, the traditional ruler tasked heads of families and quarters in the town to mobilise and ensure they deliver Ede votes to one of their own whom he described as capable and competent to govern the state.
The royal father who recalled how Adeleke was rigged out in 2018 declared that Osun West now has another historical opportunity to claim the governorship especially as Adeleke has all what it takes to compete and win the election. While acknowledging the very popular support Adeleke has garnered across the state, the royal father thanked Osun indigenes for their show of love for Adeleke and tasked them to troop out en masse and make their votes count.
He specifically urged voters across Osun West not to wait for a 2026 governorship promise for Osun West, insisting that this is the time to vote for Osun West through the candidature of Senator Adeleke. Recalling how he has been severally blackmailed for supporting his children gunning for top offices, the scholar King said loving one’s town is part of love of God, affirming that he remains committed to the Adeleke project despite pressure and intimidation.
The paramount ruler had on Wednesday strongly denied news reports quoting him as directing people of Ede to vote for Gboyega Oyetola, describing the news as “fabricated lie” The traditional ruler noted that he had only received the governor and his entourage at his palace in compliance with tradition, noting that “at no time was any directive issued in support of the governor. However, all the five candidates have good intentions but only one person will emerge after the contest.