As the governorship election in Osun draws close, analysts have begun to discuss and predict the possible outcome of the July 2022 polls, given the trajectory of events within the major contending parties, the APC and the PDP.
In a previous article, DAILY POST had taken a ride down memory lane to recall the history of Osun politics, the battles and calculations that often characterise the state’s electioneering campaigns.
In this second part of the expose on Osun politics, our correspondent digs deep into the crisis in the APC, how it has affected governance in the state and its possible effect on the party ahead of the governorship election.
The APC saga, Adegboyega Oyetola and IleriOluwa
After Oyetola’s victory in the courts, members who left the party in anger before the 2018 election began to retrace their steps back to the APC.
But there was perceived thawing in the party because the governor, Adegboyega Oyetola is not from the western part of the state but rather from Osun central, a zone that has produced the governor on two occasions totalling a twelve-year rule.
Political appointments further divided the party members as some perceived to be loyalists of the immediate past governor, Rauf Aregbesola was sidelined and marked out for punishment despite all they did to ensure that Oyetola not only got the party ticket but won in the election and also in the judicial battle that immediately preceded the polls.
Matters got to a head when a new faction known as The Osun Progressives (TOP) emerged in the party and canvassed seriously for addressing the perceived injustice meted out to some party members.
This move by TOP which enjoys the backing of Rauf Aregbesola who is now the Minister of Interior did not go down well with the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola and his supporters within the party, IleriOluwa.
Members of the TOP were vilified and harangued at every opportunity and suddenly became persona non grata within the state chapter of the party.
The TOP chairman, Adelowo Adebiyi became a pariah and was suspended by the Elders caucus of the party in the state.
The quarrel between the state governor and his predecessor took another twist last Friday when Rauf Aregbesola in a public gathering in Ilesa declared that he is a member of the TOP faction and therefore recognised the Rasaq Salinsile faction of the party in favour of the Gboyega Famodun faction which supports the state governor.
The quarrel of both men can be traced to the reversal of the single uniform and school policy of the Rauf Aregbesola administration, the acceptance of Senator Iyiola Omisore into the APC from the SDP in 2021, Oyetola’s refusal to present Rauf Aregbesola as his ministerial nominee from Osun State in 2019 and the persecution that members of the party loyal to Aregbesola are being subjected to which necessitated the birth of TOP.
The quarrel led the state chapter of the APC to hold parallel congresses in both the ward, local government and state levels with both factions coming out with parallel executive committees.
While the TOP faction has Rasaq Salinsile as its chairman and has been duly sworn in, the faction which enjoys the support of the state governor and is chaired by Gboyega Famodun is still maintaining its executive council-elect designation which conforms with the directive of the national secretariat of the party.
As it is, the ruling APC in Osun State split into two with The Osun Progressives and IleriOluwa caucuses spearheading two factions that have threatened to tear the party apart even at the national level because the APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is also gunning for the presidential slot of the party is the maternal uncle of governor Adegboyega Oyetola and by implication a native of Iragbiji, the headquarters of Boripe local government area of the state.
It is no secret that the supremacy battle between the incumbent governor and his former boss, who is now the Minister of Interior created a rift between Aregbesola and Tinubu who many know as the latter’s political benefactor.
With the visit of the Abdullahi Adamu led National Reconciliation Committee of the party and with the demands put forward by both factions in the party, the national secretariat would soon have to come out with a stance that may either make or mar their chances in the 2023 general elections.
This is to note how truly important the 2022 Osun Gubernatorial Election is.
Although Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has not formally come out to indicate interest in contesting for a second term as Osun governor, he nevertheless last week during an unannounced visit to the meeting of the Osun State Traditional Rulers Council revealed that he will be vying for a second term as governor of the state.
These words were all that was needed for Senator Ajibola Basiru and his team to hurriedly purchase the nomination and intention form for the state governor.
Meanwhile, in one of the meetings of the Salinsile led faction of the party, Lasun Yusuff, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Najeem Salam, the former Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly and Moshood Adeoti, former Secretary to the State Government under Rauf Aregbesola all declared to work against the second term ambitions of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
Yusuff who said nobody born of a woman could stop his ambition claimed he was rigged out of the 2018 gubernatorial race to clear a passage for the incumbent governor.
Now, rumours making the rounds have it that a consensus arrangement has been reached and that both Adeoti and Yusuff would be given senatorial tickets while Najeem Salam would be the party’s candidate for the polls.
As of now, nothing has been heard from Governor Oyetola camp.
It must be recalled, however, that due to the changes carried out by the Adegboyega Oyetola in recent times, the governor has been able to get the support of a large majority.
Different tribal groups in the state, traders, and others have continued to pledge their support for his leadership style and also for his second term ambition.
One of the heartwarming decisions the administration made was the splitting of the co-owned Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) which has campuses in Ogbomoso and Osogbo with the teaching hospital in Osogbo now renamed the Osun State University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Osogbo.
The changing of school uniform to what was obtained pre-Rauf Aregbesola administration and the returning of schools to primary and secondary rather than the elementary, middle and high school classification of Aregbesola.
Surprisingly, analysts believe the quarrel between Adegboyega Oyetola and Rauf Aregbesola, his predecessor in office may work to his advantage.
Many people see the quarrel as a battle for survival and independence and a test of manhood. Oyetola, it is said, needs his independence and should be left alone to govern Osun without interference from within and outside.
Despite the quarrels, Governor Oyetola has continued to insist that Aregbesola is his brother and that he would work for his success in the 2022 gubernatorial election while Aregbesola who identified with TOP, has not categorically said he would work against the victory of Oyetola in the election if he becomes the APC candidate.
Views of the public
Ayodeji Ologun, a social commentator said it would be difficult for Adeleke to repeat the electoral feat of 2018 although it is not impossible given the present dynamics of politics in the state.
Ologun who insisted 2018 was a referendum on Aregbesola claimed the people wanted a change no matter who was presented just like it happened with president Muhammadu Buhari.
He added that the present Governor has been able to prove his mettle and changed the narratives of governance for good and by the alignment of an Omisore, victory for Ademola Adeleke has become more difficult.
Assessing Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, he disclosed that like every other leader, the governor is fallible and has made his share of mistakes and bad policy choices, but in all, he remains one of the finest leaders of the present age.
He maintained this is because the governor listens, does the will of the people even where policy change is inevitable.
Meanwhile, Wole Oke, a PDP stalwart in Osun while speaking on his preference for Senator Ademola Adeleke said, “I have my reasons for supporting Senator Ademola Adeleke. Among all the aspirants, he is the most ready and prepared candidate to lead. He has what it takes to deliver us. I have listened to and read the CV of others who think they are better. Such arguments are at best very subjective.
“Are we saying Senator Adeleke has no native intelligence? Are they saying he is not a success story? Someone who raised a successful family with his children doing well?
“I can go on and on to tell you the good things about my preferred candidate. I am out to sell him to the delegates.
“It is a fallacy for any person to want to control party structure. I don’t believe in it.
“You may have the party structure and yet lose out at the primaries if you fail to sell yourself and win the hearts of the delegates.
“In all the 30 local governments and area offices, I will go all out to scout for delegates for my preferred candidate.
“If they beat us at the primary we would all follow them.”
Oladele Bamiji, the Director of Media of the Osun PDP speaking with DAILY POST said the chances of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola not returning for a second term are based on the abysmal performance of his administration which has negatively impacted the standard of living of people in the state.
Bamiji attributed the tiredness of the people and the clamour for a change to the alleged abysmal performance of Oyetola
As per the chances of an Ademola Adeleke victory in both the PDP state primary election and at the poll come July 16, he stressed that the electorates have been able to compare and arrived at a safe realisation that an Ademola Adeleke governorship is a far better option.
He noted that it was now clear that the electorate prefer a PDP government to the APC, adding that the people cannot continue to live like slaves in their state.
Other political parties and other contenders
The political terrain in Osun State, for now, can only boast of just two political parties; APC and PDP.
It appears other political parties have not woken up to the reality that a gubernatorial election will be held in the state come July 16, 2022.
Nothing has been heard from their camps till now. Even the political party that came third in the 2018 elections; the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is still in a deep sleep and has not really recovered from its shocking dumping by Senator Iyiola Omisore.
The final battle
The date for the epic battle has been decided but till now, the two top contending political parties have not been able to organise party primaries in the state.
Whether there is a battle within the two major political sorties and whether the aspirants are still busy shredding themselves apart, the fact remains that a gubernatorial election will hold in Osun State and a governor will be sworn in on Sunday, November 27, 2022.