With Ekiti already gone with PDP, OLAOLU BILAU attempts an answer to the million-dollar question as to whether Osun will follow suit on August 9.
That was the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in the August 9 governorship election in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore. He was speaking barely 24 hours after his PDP counterpart in Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, had emerged governor-elect having won the June 21 election in the state. Basking in the euphoria of PDP’s victory in Ekiti, Omisore had said the victory of Fayose at the poll meant a total rejection of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the South-west. The Ekiti poll, along with Osun election, had been seen as a major test case for 2015, not just in terms of the conduct of that election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which may signpost how the 2015 election may be handled, but also in terms of the outcome of the poll at a time the President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, PDP, are desirous of making an incursion into the South-west, APC’s strongholds. The election of Fayose and the rejection of incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi has continued to rankle many. Why? The governor was widely believed to have performed in office. He was never found wanting and many think what should determine who gets elected ought to be performance but the people of Ekiti turned their backs on a governor who performed. How do you explain the voting behaviour of the people of Ekiti? What actually transpired at the polling stations? These are obvious issues for sociologists and political scientists to interrogate. Moreso, Fayemi has conceded defeat and congratulated Fayose in a manner that is unprecedented in Nigeria’s politics.
But the question is, is PDP on the lane to consolidate its incursion into South-west? In other words, with Ekiti in its kitty, will Osun also fall to PDP on August 9? It’s yet unclear. Yes, the Ekiti PDP victory may have a bandwagon effect. Some voters in Osun may think it makes sense to align with the centre now that Ekiti has joined the league. This has happened before; a victory for a party in a state could draw victory for the same party in a contiguous state. The APC has already indicated that it would challenge Fayose’s victory in court on the basis of alleged eight constitutional breaches.
But for now, if the APC’s loss in Ekiti is predicated on the fact that the party lost the grassroots, allegedly because Governor Fayemi is perceived as aloof and his men failed to lubricate the grassroots for the government, Osun will present a different ball game. This is because Governor Rauf Aregbesola is a grassroots man and he is also streetwise. Like Governor Fayemi, he is believed to have also delivered but unlike the Ekiti governor, Aregbesola is adept in grassroots politics, having cut his political teeth in Lagos under former governor and APC national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In Osun also, there is a preponderance of political heavyweights who could hold their own in their various communities and could pull the votes for the APC candidate. For instance, the first civilian governor of the state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who recently defected from PDP to APC is a leader in the state who controls the three local governments in and around his Ede hometown. The APC has also intensified its discussion with the aggrieved PDP former National Secretary, former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to woo him over to APC. “What I can tell you now is even if former governor Oyinlola does not defect to APC, what is certain is he will work for Governor Aregbesola in the election,” a top stalwart of APC in the state said.
Again, Osun, going by its antecedents, is widely believed to be a progressive state. It was so in the First, Second and aborted Third Republic. It was perhaps because of all that, that Aregbesola recently warned Omisore not to begin to build his castles in the air.
The governor asked Omisore not to overstep his boundaries in the run up to the August 9 governorship election. Aregbesola stated this at a campaign rally for his re-election in Ikirun in Ifelodun Local Government area of the state.
He said Omisore could not threaten him in any form, adding that, “as Aregbesola, I have come to rebuilt the state for another good four years.”
Aregbesola said he had not completed his mission in the state therefore Omisore should behave well before, during and after the election.
He said the next four years would be enough to send PDP and Omisore packing from the state.