The candidates being paraded by the four parties are not just strong, but are politicians who have the support of masses across the country.
Gbolagunte Bamigbola Akure and Clement Adeyi Osogbo
With the completion of the governorship primary election and subsequent emergence of the governorship candidates of all the political parties in Osun State, the race for the governorship position of the state may be said to have commenced.
This is even as political gladiators and members of the various political parties participating in the election are already out to sell their various candidates to the electorate ahead of the election which holds on Saturday, September 22 this year.
Across the 30 Local Government Areas of the state and the Area office, electioneering have commenced by the various political parties participating in the election, especially the four major parties, seen by many as the main parties in the contest. But by Independent Electoral Commission’s (INEC) reckoning,
30 political parties are participating in the contest.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of the state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, said 30 political parties showed interest in the election, adding that all the parties have fielded candidates and running mates for the poll.
Agbaje who was the REC in charge of the state during the August 2014 governorship election that produced the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is familiar with the political atmosphere in the state, having worked in the state for years before he was transferred to Ondo State and later returned to the state for the conduct of the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
The INEC REC expressed the readiness of the commission to organise a free, fair and credible election that will not only be clean but also seen by all and sundry including local and foreign observers to be clean. He added that the next governor of the state will emerge through a transparent process.
According to him, the election umpire is already prepared for the election and has been sensitising members of the public, especially the various political parties involved in the election and other stakeholders on the mode and scope for the conduct of the election.
Also, the political gladiators and major political parties appear set for the election. This is evident in the way the political parties have intensified efforts on their internal campaign strategies ahead of the official flag up of campaigns.
Going by the election timetable released by INEC, campaigns for the governorship election should not have commenced, however, recent political activities in the state have shown that politicians are already eager to hit the ground running with campaigns. This may be part of their strategies to sell themselves to the electorate before the poll.
The major political parties that have hit the ground running in all the local government areas in the state ahead of the election are the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which is parading the current Chief of Staff to the governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola as its candidate and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the senator representing Osun West senatorial district, Dr Ademola Adeleke as its candidate.
Others are the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which has the former deputy governor of the state, Senator Iyiola Omisore as candidate and the newly formed Action Democratic Party (ADP) which has the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti as its standard bearer.
However, there are several other political parties participating in the governorship election, but the parties are not popular in the state, just as their candidates are equally unpopular, a situation which made many described such candidates as pretenders and not real contenders, who are only planning to negotiate with the major parties and their respective candidates.
Some of these political parties are the Action Peoples Party (APP) which has Dr Ekundayo Precious, a former chairman of the state chapter of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) as its candidate, Alliance for Democracy (AD), with Chief Olugbenga Akintola as its candidate and the Labour Party (LP) which has Gbenga Fowowe as its candidate among many other parties.
To an average resident of Osun State, especially political observers and analysts, only the APC, PDP, SDP and ADP are really serious with the contest.
This is because the candidates being paraded by the four parties are not just strong, but are politicians who have the support of masses across the length and breadth of the country.
HOW THEY STAND
Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, hails from Iragbiji, headquarters of Boripe Local Government Area of Osun State. He was not known in the state until he was appointed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola as his Chief of Staff in 2010.
Although Oyetola is an indigene of the state, he lived all his life in Lagos State where he reportedly oversees the business concerns of his cousin, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu who is the national leader of the APC.
However, upon Oyetola’s appointment as Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff, the erudite insurance expert became a force to reckon with in the politics of the state as he was in charge of many programmes of the state government including award of contracts and appointments of political office holders.
He was so much popular in the government of Aregbesola that he was involved in all recruitment exercises carried out by the administration of Aregbesola and many files passed through his table. He was also in charge of conflict resolution and peacemaking within the party and Labour unions in the state.
For instance, the lingering crisis of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) which lasted for over
a year was put to a halt through the intervention of Oyetola. It was to the credit of Oyetola that the union’s crisis was resolved and new set of executive emerged through his mediation. This has really placed him in the minds of many people, especially journalists in the state.
But, one major constraint to the candidature of Oyetola is his place of birth, Iragbiji which is in the central senatorial district. He is running against the clamour for the zoning of the governorship position to the west senatorial district.
The clamour for zoning was occasioned by the fact that two out of the three senatorial districts that make up the state, that is the East and Central districts had produced governors at various times while the west senatorial district only had a taste of the governorship position for less than two years since the state was created in 1991.
The only person who had the privilege of serving as governor from Osun-West senatorial district was late Senator Isiaka Adeleke who ruled for one and a half years, while Chief Bisi Akande and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola from Osun Central were in power for 11 consecutive years and Mr. Aregbesola from Ilesa in Osun East senatorial district has been in power for almost eight years now.
However, Oyetola is said to be the preferred candidate of both Aregbesola and the national leader of the party, senator Tinubu and these two political giants may use their influence to woo support for him like they did during the party’s governorship primary which made him to defeat 16 other aspirants of the party including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuff among others.
Senator Ademola Adeleke
Until the death of the older brother, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke who was the first executive governor of the state, nothing was heard about the younger Adeleke who is currently the senator representing Osun West senatorial district in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Adeleke came to political limelight following the death of senator Adeleke in 2017 and he subsequently won the by-election on the platform of the PDP and thereby replaced his elder brother in the senate. He won in nine out of the 10 Local Government Areas that make up Osun West senatorial district, defeating a former occupant of the office and serving commissioner of the state, Senator Mudashiru Hussein.
Adeleke was until the last senatorial election which he won a member of the ruling APC and signified intention to contest on the platform of the party but he was denied the ticket, a development which prompted him to defect to the PDP, on whose platform he wants to contest the governorship election.
He defeated four aspirants of the party in the primary election of the PDP including his closest rival, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi who is currently challenging his victory in court.
Unlike Oyetola, Adeleke hails from Ede in Osun West senatorial district and this may be an added advantage for him as many as people believe it’s the turn of the area to produce the next governor of the state.
However, the internal crisis within the PDP may be a major setback for him as some members of the party are not favourable disposed to his emergence as the party’s candidate, claiming that the election that produced him was marred by irregularities.
Adeleke whose elder brother, Dr Deji Adeleke is a billionaire business mogul is banking on the support of his elder brother, Deji and his friends like Alhaji Aliko Dangote to finance his gubernatorial ambition, believing that money will play vital roles in the election like it is the case in previous elections in the country.
Senator Iyiola Omisore
A former Deputy Governor of the state, Iyiola Omisore is no doubt a grassroots politician who is popular in the state, especially in his Ile-Ife hometown, considering the way he always wins election in the four local government areas that make up Ile-Ife.
He was until recently a member of the PDP but left the party shortly before the last congress of the party. He left with his teaming supporters across the 30 Local Government Areas of the state to the SDP under which he is contesting the election.
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Omisore who lost the last governorship election to Aregbesola had contested many elections in the past and one. Of particular reference was his senatorial election which he won while in prison. And from 2011 to 2015, he was the senate’s committee chairman on Finance and Appropriation.
Omisore may have a serious battle to fight in the forthcoming election as he hails from Osun East senatorial district, where the outgoing governor hails from. Butheisalso influential and understands the nitty-gritty of Osun politics, having being in the race since 1996. He is a household name in the state following his interest in the governorship seat since the creation of the state in 1991. He had contested the governorship election several times and lost.
Alhaji Moshood Adeoti
He recently defected to the ADP and resigned his appointment as Secretary to the State Government (SSG). He said that the process through which the governorship candidate of the APC emerged was faulty.
Adeoti, as former state chairman of the AD and ACN was the chairman of the party that produced Governor Aregbesola in 2010 and he was on several occasions remanded and arrested before Aregbesola eventually got to the Government House.
The recent governorship primary election conducted by the APC, the same party under which he had earlier signified intention to contest the election was said to have irked Adeoti, hence his defection to the ADP.
It was gathered that Adeoti left the party based on his belief that the direct primary system used for the conduct of the APC primary election was an attempt to favour a particular aspirant. He also believed that it was the turn of Osun-West to produce the next governor of the state.
Adeoti who hails from Iwo in Osun West senatorial district has since his defection to the party wooed many political bigwigs across various political parties especially APC and PDP to his new party. As at the last count, the APC state deputy chairman, eight other members of the state executive of the party and over 6,000 party members have defected to the ADP.