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Osun 2018: Who succeeds Aregbesola?

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No fewer than 14 aspirants on the platforms of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are struggling to succeed Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola whose tenure expires next year. 

THE All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are warming up for next year’s governorship election in Osun State. Many aspirants for the exalted seat have signified their intentions on the platform of the two parties. Though very few of them are bold enough to set up structures in support of their ambitions they have really commenced underground moves in support of the actualisation of their dreams.

Aspirants itching to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola include his Chief of Staff; Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG); Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, the state Commissioner for Finance;

Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly; Hon. Najeem Salam, the lawmaker, representing Ejigbo/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa federal constituency in the House of Representatives; Hon. Mojeed Alabi, the deputy speaker in the House of Representatives; Hon. Lasun Yusuf, representing the Orolu/Irepodun/Osogbo/Oroluunda Federal Constituency.

Others are the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; Dr. Ajibola Basiru, a Lagos-based legal practioner; Dr. Rasheed Adegoke, and the chairman of the Osun State Local Government Commission; Mr. Peter Babalola. The aspirants are presently pursuing their ambitions on the platform of the APC.

Those that want to actualise their dreams under the Peoples Democritic Party include the former  Secretary to the Government; Alhaji Fatai Akinbade, former deputy governor in the state; Senator Iyiola Omisore, former chairman of Irewole Local Government; Chief Lere Oyewumi, former Speaker; the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adejare Bello, and son to late Senator Simeon Oduoye; a retired Inspecror-General of Police; Barr. Kayode Oduoye.

Last September, the ruling APC officially lifted ban on participation by aspirants for 2018 governorship election. But with this development no significant political activities designed for the 2018 polls have been noticed. The incumbency remains a big factor in determining who clinches the ticket as virtually all aspirants, particularly those on the platform of the APC are closely reading the lips and body language of the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. They patiently look on to him to make his choice and thereafter pull his weight and all the resources of the state as well as his political structure behind his “annoited candidate.” But the situation is different in the opposition campaign as the aspirants have started campaign work. The major obastacle for PDP aspirants is the fallout of the court judgement that sacked the Ali Modu Sheriff national exco in favour of Ahmed Markafi, which has created a factionalisation of the party in the state. To a large extent, aspirants find it very difficult to draw support from the two divides.

While the two major parties – the APC and the pDP contend with different challenges, it is very clear that a party that manages its affairs well will get the favour of the electorate. Before now, the APC have been enmeshed in the struggle between members advocating for choice of an “home-based” candidate instead of the “Lagos/foreign” candidate. The clamour has already been established with many believing in the advocacy. The party has been very silent on the issue and some members also consider the matter to be a non issue. For example, the Director of Publicity and Strategy for the party in the state, Barr. Kunle Oyatomi, asked what defines someone as Lagos/Foreign politician and another a home-based. He said: “As long as you are a citizen of the state and you meet other constitutional requirements you are qualified to run for the election. What should be important is how capable and prepared for the job are the aspirants so that the state would not suffer a retrogression as a result of bad governance. The incumbent governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, no doubt has laid a foundation for continued and future development which need a consolidation by the right choice of candidate to succeed him and further increase the fortunes of the state.”

On zoning, it is not very clear the stands of the two political parties, the APC and the PDP on the matter. But the popular belief is that zoning as a matter of convention should be recorgnised. For APC, the clamour among the members is for the governorship seat be zoned to the Osun West senatorial districts which comprises. Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore, Ejigbo, Ayedade, Irewole, Isokan, Iwo, Ayedire and Ola-Oluwa council areas, because the zone only ruled for barely two years when late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke was first civilian governor from 1992 to 1993. the since creation of the state since 1991. But Osun Central and Osun East, out of 26 years since the state was created in 1991, ruled for 11 and 8 years respectively. Both from Central,  Chief Adebisi Akande was in the saddle from 1999 to 2003 and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola from 2003 to 2010 until he was sacked by the Court of Appeal in Ibadan  and installed the incumbent governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, who has been on the seat from 2010 and will remain there, all things being equal, till 2018 when his second term tenure expires.

Many other APC members are of the opinion that the good works of Aregbesola must be sustained, therefore, believe that search for credible candidate that can do the job must not be limited to a particular zone if the future of the state will not be jeopardized.  A source within the party, who preferred anonymity, said those “shouting home-based are supporters who are ready to compromise the state development on the altar of selfish gains. They are the ones, who want to appropriate the state resources and they believe selling the idea of an home-based candidate will help them achieve their aims.”

t is rather different for those that believe that the Lagos/foreign politicians are favoured by the Aregbesola administration and well positioned to take over the  power. They insisted that they may be indigenes of the state but they argued that they don’t know or understand the yearnings of the people. The PDP also shared opinion that the APC-led government by Aregbesola lacked understanding of the state. Many policies of the APC government are not people-friendly, according to a chieftain of the PDP, Prince Diran Odeyemi.

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