Osun 2022: The Gubernatorial Gladiators (2). An Update. By Femi Alafe-Aluko

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By Femi Alafe-Aluko

 

The much hyped 3 horse race of 18th June 2022 Ekiti governorship election eventually turned out to be an electoral “moon-slide”.

All the votes of the other 15 contesting political parties added together was less than the votes of the winning party, the APC.

One of the political parties; SDP and its Candidate, Engr Segun Oni who came a distant 2nd have signified their intention to challenge the results at the election tribunal. Good luck to them!


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The focus now shifts to the 16th July Osun State gubernatorial contest which is less than 3 weeks away from now.

The serious Candidates are busy criss crossing the length and breath of the State, from Ikoyi town just after the Asejire end of the bridge in lsokan LG area of the State on the West, to Oke Imesi in Obokun LG area on the East. From Okuku in Odo Otin LG on the North to lfetedo in lfe South LG on the South. These are boarder towns to Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara and Ogun States respectively.

These Candidates are on the campaign trail of the 30 local government areas plus Modakeke. They should be visiting the various Obas, Baales and opinion leaders reiterating and selling their manifestos, plans and programs to them. It is not an easy venture for them. They usually leave their base as early as 8am to return after midnight.

Organizing such campaigns are nightmares. Trusted aides,supporters and party members are needed to construct podiums, provide public address systems, welfare for the campaign team , transportation and of course security. The candidate must be familiar with the terrain, problems and needs of the various localities and offer solutions. You cannot rule out uniforms or Aso Ebis for the tour of each LG area. This is usually a money making venture for some party members.

These campaigns do not come cheap as you do not visit Kabiyesis, Baales, party elders and leaders empty handed especially when looking for votes. Yoruba culture and tradition frowns at it.

How are the parties faring so far? Currently only the PDP(Demola Adeleke), APC (Gboyega Oyetola), Accord Party (Akin Ogunbiyi), Labour Party ( Lasun Yusuff) and SDP (Goke Omigbodun) are visibly on ground through billboards, radio and TV adverts and jingles, social media , handbills, phone calls, door knocking and rallies. Out of the 5, the PDP and APC stand out conspicuously.

Most occurrences of political violence are between the 2 parties. The most recent happened in llesha.

The current Governor, Gboyega Oyetola is the Candidate of the APC, while Senator Nurudeen Jackson Ademola Adeleke is representing the PDP. Just like in 2018 they are facing each other again. In 2018, Oyetola won with less than 400 votes after a disputed, controversial and dodgy rerun in some polling units. Demola had the highest number of votes before the rerun. Even the powers that be confessed about using ‘remote control’ to get the desired result.

Last week the APC reeled out the names of members of a high powered National campaign committee chaired by the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo Olu. Quite an intimidating one.

It comprises the other 20 APC Governors, ministers from SW with the exception of Rauf Aregbesola, the minister of interior and the immediate past governor of the State.

This shows all is not well within the ruling party. Aregbesola’s TOP ( The Osun Progressives) and Oyetola’s lleri Oluwa groups have refused to reconcile. Some TOP members have decamped to PDP. The question is: Will those still in the APC campaign and work for Oyetola?

Oyetola has been campaigning across the State, projecting his achievements. We shall know whether the voting public still believe in him on the 16th of July. He boasted 10,000 PDP members will be decamping to APC this week. Whether this is true or imaginary is difficult to decipher as this is the season of political hyperboles.

Gov Oyetola is definitely enjoying the euphoria of the Ekiti State victory and suffering from the feel good factor. If he is hoping for a bandwagon effect, then he must be suffering from a delusion of grandeur.

The main opposition party here (The PDP) is more determined, portent and vicious.

The financial muscle the opposition lacked in Ekiti is not prevalent in Osun. The PDP candidate has vowed to match the ruling party Naira for Naira, Dollar for Dollar, Euro for Euro and any other foreign currency. He went further to emphasize this time around it is fire for fire. The APC described it as absurd, unthinkable and totally unacceptable.

Is the PDP fully prepared for the great task ahead? They are facing an incumbent party at State and Federal levels.

Incumbents hardly lose in Nigeria. Jonathan’s own is one of the few occurrences. Will it be a case of one once beaten, twice shy? Will lightening strike at the same spot twice?

The party is making conceited efforts to resolve its almost intractable internal crisis. Members of the Anti Adeleke group were named as members of the the National Campaign Committee. It is not yet “Uhuru” but steps seem to be heading in the right direction. Lessons and a few tricks must have been learnt from 2018.

Just like the APC, the PDP have set up a 128 member National campaign committee headed by Governor Diri of Bayelsa State. All PDP Governors are members of the committee including Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Ex Ekiti Gov Fayose’s name is missing. Is that a penalty for failure?

A major difference likely to occur between the Ekiti and Osun elections is that the ruling party cannot outspend the PDP. It is no longer news that Senator Adeleke has told those who care to listen that he is adequately prepared to match the antics of the ruling party. He is campaigning very hard, talking to the grassroots and attracting the crowd, even in lragbiji, the Governor’s hometown. He has upgraded himself academically, becoming more stately in conduct and comportment .

However, he should beware of bootlickers, praise singers and sycophants. I believe his close advisers will be upright, honest and bold enough to tell him his flaws and advice on necessary corrections.

The 3 Ede LGs of Ede North, South and Egbedore are no go areas for the APC. Senator Adeleke’s chances are getting brighter by the day. It is not impossible that some smaller parties might endorse and adopt him as their Candidate a few days to the election.

The Aregbe/Oyetola feud will also work to PDP/Adeleke’s advantage. TOP has publicly stated no reconciliation is in sight.

Other determining factors are the Atiku and Tinubu ones. Both are Presidential candidates of their respective parties and they have close ties with Osun State. This cannot be overlooked.

For BAT, Osun State is his ancestral State, born in lragbiji and an uncle to the current Governor.

For Atiku, his 1st wife and matriarch of the family, Titi is from llesha in East Senatorial zone. This implies Atiku is an in law to the State. It is very likely both of them will turn up for their party’s mega rally.

The Osun State 16th July election is the last election before the 2023 general elections. The APC and PDP will definitely give it their best shot as winning will be a moral and political booster going for the Big one.

Time will tell…

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