By Adebayo Fajinmi
The All Progressives Congress(APC), Osun State chapter has started another frenzied journey to retain power till 2026 while other political parties are also preparing to jostle for Bola Ige House in 2022 governorship election.
The chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on June 16,2021,Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja said that Osun governorship election will hold on July 16, 2022, twenty eight days after that of Ekiti State.
2017 and 2018
American astronomer, planetary scientist, and cosmologist, Carl Sagan once said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” To proceed, past elections must be painstakingly observed.
During Osun West Senatorial District by-election in 2017 and September 22 governorship election, the APC met their match with the PDP.
On July 19, 2017, the Peoples Democratic Party with its candidate, Ademola Ademola shellacked Mudashiru Hussein of the All Progressives Congress. The PDP polled 97, 480 votes while the APC garnered 66, 115 votes. Ademola Adeleke who was in the APC switched to the PDP due to what he called “injustice in APC’s screening process for primaries.” Consequently, Adeleke won to complete the tenure of his late brother(who was also the first civilian governor of Osun State) Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, who died on April 23, 2017.
Barely a year after, the same scenario happened during Osun governorship election in 2018.
At the poll that was keenly contested on September 22, PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke won majority votes of 254,698 votes while Gboyega Oyetola of the APC(who served Rauf Aregbesola as the Chief of Staff) came second with 254,345 votes.
According to the electoral umpire, Adeleke’s margin of lead, 354 votes, was lower than the cancelled votes which were 3,498. Hence the re-run in seven polling units. At the end of the supplementary election on September 27, the PDP’s initial victory was upturned and Oyetola was declared the winner of the poll. The APC candidate scored a total of 255,505 votes while the PDP candidate scored a total of 255,023 votes.
Prior to 2018 election, the agitation for “home based” politician to succeed Aregbesola stoked the APC because many of his aides were said to have come from Lagos.
However, during the party’s indirect primary in July, Oyetola, assumed to be Bola Tinubu boy emerged as the flagbearear with 127,017 votes to defeat his closest rival, Lasun Yusuff, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who scored 21,975. This eventually caused splinter. Moshood Adeoti (who served Aregbesola as SSG) defected to the ADP to contest. Other party chieftains like Sunday Akere, Fatai Diekola and other bigwigs opted out of the APC. This, obviously slashed the votes that ordnarily would have been claimed by the party,according to analysts.
The gale of defection that hit the APC made former Deputy Governor of Osun, and candidate of the Social Democratic Party(SDP) Iyiola Omisore a beautiful bride in the election.
Since the declaration of the governorship election in Osun State as inconclusive by INEC, Iyiola Omisore became the beautiful bride in the political equation in the state. This was so because majority of the polling units where the supplementary election will take place are in his stronghold.
The two leading parties, PDP and the APC must seek and get the support of the SDP candidate to win the supplementary election slated for September 27. Eventually, Omisore, for political expediency jettisoned the PDP,his former party, and cleaved to APC where he has been defamed time and again.
Juxstaposing previous elections with the current internal crisis of the party, the APC may toe another exhausting path to retain power beyond 2022.
Aregbesola and Oyetola are on antipodal rostrums.Spokesperson of Osun APC, Kunle Oyatomi, while speaking to TOS NEWS had denied the feud between the duo twice. However, the suspension of a former acting chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Lowo Adebiyi for anti-party activities in May, by the elders Caucus of the Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, invasion at the party Secretariat in Osogbo on August 14, and recent detention of former aides of Aregbesola by Oyetola’s faction have proven that the party is afire.
Adelowo is the head of splinter APC group, with the acronym ‘TOP’, and it’s said to enjoy the backing of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who was named as chairman of its Board of Trustees.
Oyetola has not impressed many party chieftains belonging to Aregbesola’s faction because he keeps them out of his cabinet. In an interview with TOS NEWS last weekend, real estate mogul and chieftain of the party who also vied for the party’s ticket in 2018, Taiwo Babatunde Adedotun, said this is true because, “bundles of ungrateful idiots are advising the governor.”
When asked whether the internal crisis will negatively affect 2022 election or not, ,he said, “Surely it is already and will continue unless amends are made.Remember a house divided against itself can never stand.”
Can Oyetola face 2022 with a divided house? Will his score cards be useful? Will he need another bride this time?
A political scientist and Senior Special Assitant to Oyetola on Strategic Communication, Charles Adeyemi, in an exclusive to TOS NEWS quipped that, “At the end of it all, the people will decide the fate of Gov Adegboyega Oyetola. I only pray wisdom prevail over stomach infrastructure.”