By Uche Mbah
With just a few days to go for Osun elections, there appears to be no clear cut favorites as the major parties are struggling with political baggage that threatened to drown the parties. Only recently, a governorship debate was organized by Channels Television, a frontline National Television with establishment leanings. The General consensus was that the whole debate was lackluster, and that the All Progressives Congress candidate was generally given undue opportunities, which unfortunately never translated to reasonable points.
The high point of the debate was the absence of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP candidate absence. This was interpreted in two ways. Why some claim the candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, cannot possibly come for the debate because of a subsisting court order restricting him from parading himself as the PDP governorship candidate until the relevant authorities authenticate his credentials, others said he deliberately dodged the debate because it has become a tradition that those who abstain from debates always win, that they usually are confident.
Since he declared interest in ruling Osun state, Adeleke has been in the eye of the storm. Immediately, a scandal surfaced on his educational qualification. It was rumored that he did not finish his high school, and never took the secondary school qualifying exam. In fact, he was taken to court but later a high court ruled that the allegation is not substantiated and therefore that he is thereby cleared of the misdemeanor. Before he could settle down to campaign, h was again in court to defend the same issue. This time he was to ld not to parade himself as the governorship candidate of the PDP until the court determines his case. All these were meant to distract him and make sure that he loses credibility and therefore making the party that fielded him to lose the election. Against all odds, he started campaign with his superstar nephew, Davido. But each time he tries, there were usually disruptions by hoodlums firing guns in the air. Verdict: PDP has no strong grip on the elections.
The APC direct primaries that brought him in have been a source of controversy, and he has been busy trying to placate his opponents. Besides, the backlog of salaries by the incumbent will be a cog in the wheel of his elections. Fortunately, alerts have become the order of the day, and pensions and salaries are being cleared. But his Albatross is the fact that he is the cousin to the National leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu. Already, Tinubu has been seen as the godfather of Southwest, and many stakeholders are not comfortable. Unfortunately, Tinubu has been reported to have goofed by saying that he and Oyetola are richer than Osun state. That had sparked anger and demonstrations in Osun, and this has been regretted by the Asiwaju. And the Lagos crisis with the governor Ambode is a negative advert on Oyetola.
Unfortunately, he is relying on the Federal might to win. The so called Ekiti election is a test case. But if the election will be free and fair, it will be a hard nut to crack by the APC. Verdict: May win through federal might, otherwise the chance is dim.
The candidate of the ADP has been a factional breakaway of the APC, after he alleged that everything was geared towards the emergence of Oyetola as the APC candidate. He decamped to ADP for the realization of his ambition. He was secretary to the state government of Rauf Aregbesola, and may have the same baggage that Oyetola has: the concentration of the government on infrastructure rather that salaries and human resource. !2 executive members of APC left with Adeoti, and weakened the power of incumbency of Aregbosola. He is expected to have upsets in Osun west senatorial district, but that appears to be the extent he will go. Verdict: limited impact, but a spoiler for APC.
He is a serial governorship contender, having attempted to rule the state three times. But his alabatross is the alleged link with the death of the Cicero of Esa Oke, late Bola Ige. That will always hunt him. He was even asked the question, “who killed Bola Ige?” by the moderator of the governorship debate, Sheun Akinbiloye of Channels. He was very uncomfortable answering the question.
The politician from Ife dumped PDP to join SDP out of fear that he was not going to get the ticket of his former party. His entrance into SDP was under controversial circumstances. Verdict: Although he has a grip in Ife and his senatorial district, he is not likely to win.
This is a party that might spring a surprise in the September 22 elections if well managed. Fatai served the Osun State government, for over 16 years under three military administrators. He also worked under a civilian governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, whom he served as Secretary of the state government under his tenure in 2003. He was the leader of the party in Iwo constituency. His choice of Folahinmi Oloyede is a boost to his candidacy, as she is a darling of the civil service based on her activism against Aregbesola that cost her her Job.Verdict: Possible emergence, all things being equal.
Conclusion,: the result appears to be too close to call-unless APC unleashes federal might to influence the elections, which is highly likely.