The one seat that will be vacant in the governance of Osun State very soon has 48 contestants jostling for it in an election slated for September 22, but as expected only one of them is going to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who leaves office in November 2019
By Olu Ojewale
The battle for the successor of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is gaining momentum. In the battle for the plum job in the state, there are 48 contestants. By now, the names of the contenders and their parties are known to the people of the state who are going to make a choice of who will govern them for the next four years. As a rule in every contest, there must be a winner who will take over from Aregbesola whose mandate ends on November 27, 2019.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the battle for the governorship seat in Osun State is heavily dominated by the male. Of the 48 parties fielding candidates for the election, there are only four parties with female contenders. Two of the female candidates have their female counterparts as running mates, while the other two have male running mates. The parties with female candidates are the Advanced Congress of Nigeria, ACD; Nigeria Elements Progressive Party, NEPP; People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty, PANDEL and Restoration Party of Nigeria, RP. Of the remaining 44 candidates, only 15 of them have female running mates.
That notwithstanding, of all the candidates for the September 22, governorship election, only a handful of them really have a chance. As politics in Nigeria has shown, the chances of each person in the race are dictated by the party he or she belongs and how well the person is equally well acceptable by the electorate. So, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are regarded as the leading parties in the state, thereby making their candidates favourably positioned to lead in the race.
But in this election, there are other eminent politicians who can upstage the candidates of the two leading parties in the state. Prominently positioned in this case is Iyiola Omisore, a former deputy governor of the state, who was also a senator on the platform of the PDP. Sometimes ago, Omisore fell out with the PDP and he is now contesting the election on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
That notwithstanding, Omisore is not without any problems in his new party. The former deputy governor won in the direct primary election conducted by a faction of the SDP led by Bayo Faforiji, which he won with a landslide. However, another faction of the SDP led by Ademola Ishola conducted a separate primary poll using delegate system and Kehinde Atanda emerged the winner.
In any case, Omisore was given the certificate of return by the national leadership of the party in Abuja, and so he has been recognised as the party candidate for the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Nevertheless, the division in the party may be his Achilles’ heel. Omisore had contested against Aregbesola, the incumbent governor in 2014, and came second in the contest but his determination to be the PDP flag bearer in the September 22, election and the power-play that ensued led to his exit from the party. He then joined the SDP, which promptly gave him the governorship ticket. This has also given the party a lift as one the three leading parties in the state. Will Omisore be lucky this time? That should be anybody’s guess.
Another prominent and recognisable face in the election is Fatai Akinbade, a former PDP chairman in the state. Akinbade was made secretary to the state in 2003 by the then Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. He contested for the PDP ticket in 2011, but he lost to Omisore, who was eventually defeated by Aregbesola. He is now the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC. The 63-year-old politician is hoping to make his candidacy count this time around, but that will also depend on the state electorate.
The third formidable personality outside the two major political parties is Moshood Adeoti, a former secretary to the state government under the incumbent governor. He once served as state chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. A grassroots politician, Adeoti became the secretary to the state government by dint of his performance in getting Aregbesola elected governor.
But he was forced to leave the All Progressives Congress, APC, when it was clear that he was not going to get the party’s ticket to contest for the governorship seat. He accused the party hierarchy of scheming the party primary in favour of Adegboyega Oyetola, who eventually got the APC ticket. In any case, Adeoti’s exit from the APC has also left the party with a major loss as 12 executive members and some other elders of the party followed him and declared their support for him as they joined the Action Democratic Party, ADP.
The Iwo born politician in Osun West senatorial district is considered a major contender in the race. He is now contesting on the platform of the ADP. But the relatively unknown party may be his undoing in the election.
That notwithstanding, for either Omisore, Akinbade or Adeoti to get a chance to be the next occupant of Okefia Government House, they must have all what it would take to defeat the likes of Ademola Adeleke, a serving senator and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Adegboyega Oyetola, the former chief of staff to the governor, who is contesting on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Both Adeleke and Oyetayo represent already entrenched parties in the state with both the cash and grassroots support bases that can deliver for either of them.
Ademola Adeleke came into the lime light following the sudden death of Isiaka Adeleke, his elder brother, in April 2017. He initially joined the ruling APC to contest in the by-election for the Osun West Senatorial seat made vacant by the death of his brother, but when the party refused him the ticket, he joined the PDP.
Adeleke, who won the PDP gubernatorial ticket by defeating Akin Ogunbiyi with just seven votes, is from a politically-conscious family. His late brother was not just a senator, he was also the first elected governor of Osun State in between January 1992 and November 1993. Raji Ayoola Adeleke, his late father, was a second Republic senator.
Nicknamed ‘Dancing Senator,’ the PDP flag bearer, until recently was embroiled in power struggle with Ogunbiyi, who claimed that Adeleke rigged the primary election which gave him the party ticket. Mercifully, the rift between the two politicians was resolved on Wednesday, September 5, by Bukola Saraki, the Senate president.
The Nigerian Tribune newspaper reported that the gladiators reconciled and agreed to work together for the success of the party in the coming gubernatorial election on Saturday, September 22. Saraki, who is leading the PDP national campaign council for the Osun State gubernatorial election announced the reconciliation in Abuja, on Wednesday, September 5, after a marathon meeting with the both parties. He said they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, which also includes other party stakeholders in Osun State. Saraki praised both politicians and assured that with their coming together, victory was assured for the PDP in Osun State. The Senate president said: “Today, what you are seeing is the unity of the PDP in Osun state. The two aspirants who contested in an intensive primary are now together finally so that we will be able to present a united party for the forthcoming election.
“We are very happy with what we have seen today. The credit goes to two of them, Senator Ademola Adeleke and more particularly Dr. Ogunbiyi, because we have all gone through election and we know what is like to lose an election. But he puts the party first and they came together in the interest of the people in Osun State and to rescue the people.
“So, what you have just seen is a sign that Osun PDP is united, and with a united PDP, victory is sure for the party in the election in the next two weeks.”
Adeleke on his part, expressed delight that unity had been achieved by both sides, saying that it was what the people of Osun had been waiting for. He said: “For us and the PDP, victory is assured and by the grace of God, we are going to win the gubernatorial election come September 22. We thank the leadership of the PDP, especially the Senate president, chairman of our national campaign committee and all our party leaders to have organised this.”
In the same manner, Ogunbiyi said PDP must win Osun in the coming election. He assured that he would work with the candidate to achieve this objective. He said further: “I am very delighted that we got to this point, and is for the interest of the Osun people and Nigeria at large because we believe Osun for us must be taken, for us to be able to wrestle power from the All Progressives Congress come 2019.
“And we are going to work together for the party’s victory in the 22nd gubernatorial election.”
With the opposition party now having a united front, it promises to give the ruling APC something to think about. As it is, the APC also needs to rally round Oyetola. But it is not going to be easy.
Indeed, the choice of Oyetola has been majorly regarded as the continuation of Aregbesola’s administration in Osun State. He was until Wednesday, September 5, the chief of staff to the governor. So, he is definitely the candidate to beat in the election as he enjoys the support of both the state and federal governments. Besides, his emergence as the party flag bearer was said to have been influenced by Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the APC. Although Oyetola is believed to be one of the most qualified candidates for the job based on his experience in governance and he is being referred to as “a stabilising factor’’ in the current administration of the state, he is also seen as one of the politicians based in Lagos, reaping from the state.
The APC governorship candidate attended the University of Lagos where he bagged a first degree in Insurance in 1978. He went further to bag a Master’s of Business Administration degree in 1990 at the same university. He joined Leadway Assurance Company Limited as a manager and worked there till 1987. He has worked in various insurance firms before establishing his own company, Silvertrust Insurance Brokers Limited. The Iragbiji born politician in Osun Central Senatorial district became the state chief of staff in 2011. Adeleke, his counterpart in the PDP is from Ede in Osun West Senatorial District.
If the mood in the state that the next governor should come from the Osun West Senatorial District, the agitation which was very loud in the APC and the PDP before the primary elections, is reflected in the election, the APC candidate will have something to worry about.
Besides, analysts say whoever emerges the next governor of the state must be ready to face a difficult task because of the poor financial status of the state. While labour leaders at the national level are fighting for increment in workers’ wages, some categories of workers in Osun State have not been collecting full salaries since September 2015. The state has also witnessed several strike actions over non-payment of salaries. In addition, the state retirees have also been at the receiving end as a good number of them have had to suffer non-payment of their pensions and gratuities.
Sola Olojede, the secretary of the Forum of 2011/2012 Retirees in the state, said no fewer than 2,500 pensioners had died as at March 2018, adding that majority of them died of hunger and frustration because their entitlements were not paid.
But whether all this will be a determinant in the forthcoming election is another kettle of fish. The state electorate will speak with their votes on September 22, but whether the power that be will allow their votes to count is another issue. The world is certainly going to pay attention as the electorate in the state go to the polls on the election day.
The names of the parties and their candidates as presented by the INEC are as follows:
- Party – Accord
Governor – Julius Olapade Okunola
Deputy Governor – Azeez Kayode Jimoh
- Party – AA
Governor – Ogunmodede Adeloye
Deputy Governor – Adepoju Timothy Adetunji
- Party – ABP
Governor – Oludare Timothy Akinola
Deputy Governor – Halimat Bunmi Ibrahim
- Party – ACD
Governor – Genga Afeni
Deputy Governor – Oni Esther Oluwatoyin
- Party – ACPN
Governor – Rufai Adebisi Mujidat
Deputy Governor – Agboola Peter Oluremi
- Party – AD
Governor – James Olugbenga Akintola
Deputy Governor – Abdulhakeem Oyeniyi Bello
- Party – ADC
Governor – Fatai Akinade Akinbade
Deputy Governor – Arowolo Oladele
- Party – ADP
Governor – Adeoti Moshood Olalekan
Deputy Governor – Durotoye Adeolu Akinbola
- Party – AGA
Governor – Kehinde Olufemi Lawrence
Deputy Governor – Lawal Oluseyi Afusat
- Party – AGAP
Governor – Adejola Adebayo Rufus
Deputy Governor – Adebayo Adewale Olaolu
- Party – ANRP
Governor – Alarape Babatunde A.
Deputy Governor – Adelu Ayoade David
- Party – APA
Governor – Adeleke Adesoji M.A
Deputy Governor – Agbonmagbe Tosin Omowumi
- Party – APC
Governor – Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola
Deputy Governor – Benedict Olugboyega Alabi
- Party – APGA
Governor – Oluwatoki Adetokunbo Adedayo A.
Deputy Governor – Adefila Mary Olaitan (Nee Olaleke)
- Party – APP
Governor – Ekundayo Ademola Precious
Deputy Governor – Ojo Olugbenga Samuel
- Party – BNPP
Governor – Olapade Olajide Victor
Deputy Governor – Dunmade Adejoke Wuraola
- Party – C4C
Governor –Ilori Titus Oluwafemi
Deputy Governor – Alabi Temitayo Kadijat
- Party – DA
Governor – Mutiu Abiodun Ibrahim
Deputy Governor – Fafioye Hammed Abiodun
- Party – DPC
Governor – Aderemi Aree
Deputy Governor – Onitayo Yemisi Mary
- Party – DPP
Governor – Solomon Ayodeji Oni
Deputy Governor – Issa Ademola Aderibigbe
- Party – FJP
Governor – Babatunde Salako Joseph
Deputy Governor – Onifade Saheed Alade
- Party – GDPN
Governor – Adetipe Adebodun Abiola
Deputy Governor – Ajiboye Funke
- Party – GPN
Governor – Rafiu Shehu Anifowose
Deputy Governor – Oluwatoyin Adebayo
- Party – HDP
Governor – Adedoyin Adegoke Joshua Oluwole
Deputy Governor – Olawale Adesoye Adewumi
- Party – KP
Governor – Fabiyi Oluseyi Olubunmi
Deputy Governor – Ibrahim Adekunle Akande
- Party – LP
Governor – Babatunde Olaniyi Loye
Deputy Governor – Aderonke Adebayor Jabar
- Party – MMN
Governor – Raphael A. Feranmi
Deputy Governor – Ariyo Sunday Sina
- Party – MPN
Governor – Lawal Ganiyu Akanfe
Deputy Governor – Idowu Kayode Olusegun
- Party – NCP
Governor – Kamarudeen Kalemi Abiodun
Deputy Governor – Lawal Temitope Serifat
- Party – NPC
Governor – Olaniyi Anthony Fadahunsi
Deputy Governor – Abdulrasheed Afusat Olanike
- Party – NEPP
Governor – Jegede Hannah Taiwo
Deputy Governor – Rebecca Adeleke Oladepo
- Party – NNPP
Governor – Adefare Segun Adegoke
Deputy Governor – Adeyeye Nurudeen Adeyemi
- Party – PANDEL
Governor – Adebayo Rasheedat
Deputy Governor – Ajibola Fatimat
- Party – PDC
Governor – Kolawole Rafiu Ojonla
Deputy Governor – Oladapo Deborah Oluwatoyin
- Party – PDP
Governor – Ademola Nirudeen Adeleke
Deputy Governor – Albert A. Adeogun
- Party – PPA
Governor – Adedokun Musbau Olalekan
Deputy Governor – Ibrahim Bukola
- Party – PPC
Governor – Ifeolu Kehinde Adewumi
Deputy Governor – Sunday Makinde Babawale
- Party – PPN
Governor – Akintunde Adesoji
Deputy Governor – Akanmu Saheed Abiodun
- Party – PRP
Governor –Badmus Tajudeen Adefola
Deputy Governor – Olajire Gbolahan
- Party – PT
Governor – Adegboyega Aderemi
Deputy Governor – Usman Omobolaji Taofeek
- Party – RP
Governor – Ayodele Mercy Tosin
Deputy Governor – Adejumo Mukaila
- Party – SDP
Governor – Iyiola Omisore
Deputy Governor – Lawal Azeez Olayemi
- Party – SNP
Governor – Ayoade Ezekiel Adegboyega
Deputy Governor – Omolade Anike Adebayo
- Party – SPN
Governor – Alfred Adegoke
Deputy Governor – Lameed Gafar
- Party – UPN
Governor – Adediji Olanrewaju Adewuyi
Deputy Governor – Alabi Ola-Olu Adeniyi
- Party – UPP
Governor – Odutade Olagunju Adesanya
Deputy Governor – Karonwi Festus Olamilekan
- Party – YDP
Governor – Adebayo Adeolu Elisha
Deputy Governor – Aleem Atinuke
- Party – YPP
Governor – Adetunji Olubunmi Omotayo
Deputy Governor – Salawu Kareem Adeniyi
– Sept. 7, 2018 @ 15:15 GMT