Less than two months to the September 22, governorship election in Osun State, political parties have elected their candidates and submitted names to the independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
From indications, the election might be a battle between two candidates, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP). Though, the candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) Alhaji Moshood Adeoti and the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP) Senator Iyiola Omisore might make some impact in the race, unless a miracle happens, none of them has the spread that could enable them garner votes that would beat either the APC or PDP.
Gboyega Oyetola (APC)
He is currently the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola and he is very influential in the Aregbesola’s administration. He is a technocrat and those that are close to Aregbesola said Oyetola really assisted the governor in managing the resources of the state. Oyetola was elected as the candidate of the APC through a direct primary election in which the entire card-carrying members of party in the state voted. The process that produced him caused crisis in the APC as some of the governorship aspirants faulted the process and claimed that the direct primary was deliberately used to favour Oyetola. Sixteen aspirants contested against Oyetola. One of them, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti angrily defected to another party in the aftermath of the APC primary.
Adeoti said “my decision to withdraw from the race is hinged on my resolve to abide by a resolution of the Osun West Senatorial District wing of the party dissociating itself from the exercise. This withdrawal was necessary so as not to give credibility to the primary election which was ‘a jaundiced process’ designed to favour an anointed aspirant. We are still very much in the race to contest and win the governorship election come September 22, 2018”.
Mr Kunle Adegoke, another aspirant who was also not happy with the manner the direct primary was conducted vowed to challenge the process in court. The defection of Adeoti and the litigation threat by Adegoke who is popularly known as K-RAD may affect the chances of Oyetola in the September 22 governorship election.
Adegoke noted that the direct primary election was conducted without any register of members of the party. “What we experienced was not a primary election in any way. It was a charade and it was in contravention of basic tenets of democratic system. I will not dump the party because of the issues. I will remain in the party and correct this anomaly by challenging the process in court.”
However, Oyetola seems to be getting the support of some of the aspirants that contested in the APC primary. Some of the aspirants including Mr Ismail Layonu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mr Benedict Alabi and Dr Najeem Salaam, the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly have congratulated Oyetola and pledged support for him. The aspirants said they would not leave the APC in spite of what happened in the process of picking the candidate for the party. But other aspirants maintained sealed lips as they did not disclosed their plans even when it was obvious that they were aggrieved over the manner Oyetola emerged as APC candidate. One of them is the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Lasun Yusuf. Though, Yusuf did not respond to message sent to him by Daily Trust on Sunday to find out his next plan, those that are close to him said he was not planning to dump the APC.
Beside the defection of Adeoti and the grievance of few other APC governorship aspirants, Oyetola has a great chance of becoming the next governor of Osun State. He has the full backing of Governor Aregbesola and the national Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Without doubt, Oyetola also enjoy the support of a large number of APC members in Osun, particularly the political office holders. Oyetola is also well acceptable to the informal sector in the state but the civil servants seemed to be worry that if he succeeds Aregbesola, they might continue to earn modulated salary and this might affect his chance among the people in the public service.
Ademola Adeleke (PDP)
His fast growing political profile appeared as a huge surprise to most people, particularly the old politicians. Ademola inherited the political structure of his late brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, who was the first civilian governor in Osun State and very popular in the state until his sudden death last year. The death of his brother warranted Ademola’s entry into politics and the quest by the supporters of Senator Isiaka Adeleke to sustain his legacy paved way for Senator Adeleke to contest and win the Osun West Senatorial seat that became vacant when his brother died. The victory of Senator Adeleke in the Senatorial election last year gave him the audacity to join the governorship race to succeed Aregbesola.
When Senator Adeleke joined the governorship race, many people didn’t take him serious but he kept on saying that he has prayed over it and that God has assured him that he would be the next governor of Osun State. Adeleke said he only wanted to serve and that he does not need money or wealth since he already has all that he needed in life. But most people still wouldn’t take him serious, particularly as political watchers said the manner he dances in public does make him appear like one that could make a good governor. Therefore, people believe that he cannot win the PDP ticket, given the array of seasoned politicians who declared their interest to contest on the platform of the PDP. On the eve of the PDP primary election, majority of the aspirants stepped down for Dr Akin Ogunbiyi while some also stepped down for Senator Adeleke.
A former Chairman of PDP and former Secretary to the State Government, Alaji Fatai Akinbade and top lawyer, Mr Nathaniel Oke, Senior Advocate of Nigeria did not step down for any one. The primary election was presided over by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson and at the end of the election, Senator Adeleke was declared the winner. This did not go down well with Ogunbiyi who eventually wrote the National Working Committee of the party to complain that the election was manipulated. He urged the NWC of the PDP to consider his appeal and upturn the election. Also, some PDP members who are loyal to Ogunbiyi instituted a suit again Adeleke claiming that he is not qualified to be governor because he was not educated up to secondary school level as required by the constitution. They urged the court to stop the PDP from presenting Adeleke’s name to the INEC as the candidate of the party. But Justice David Oladimeji on Thursday rejected the prayers of applicants on the basis that Senator Adeleke must be given fair hearing in the matter. Adeleke’s lawyer, Taofeeq Olayiwola, said the application was unfounded and frivolous. He said: “Senator Adeleke has certificate. He is a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Is it possible that a Senator will not have secondary school certificate. He has it. That application is frivolous and unfounded. That is why the court dismissed it.”
As it is now, the PDP has presented the name of Senator Adeleke to INEC as the party dismissed the appeal of Dr Ogunbiyi. Senator Adeleke seemed very ready for the battle. He has set up a campaign office in Osogbo and the mobilization has started in top gear. Though, some stakeholders in the party appeared to be angry, they might be compelled to work for Adeleke eventually, as majority of them have vowed that that they would not leave the PDP.