The battle to elect the next governor of Osun State is gradually coming to an end. The battle will be between candidates of fifteen political parties cleared by the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) whose fate rely solely on eligible voters of the state as they (voters) are expected to troop out enmasse and vote for their preferred candidates and the candidate of any political party with the highest number of voters at the poll will be given the mandate of the people of Osun state.
As the poll draws closer, the political atmosphere of the state is already tensed as candidates, politicians especially supporters of each political parties have continued to lay claim to victory at the poll. Out of the fifteen candidates jostling for the top seat of the state, it is absolutely clear that there are four major contenders in this gubernatorial race. These major contenders are Adegboyega Oyetola of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Lasun Yusuf of the Labour Party (LP) and Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party (AP).
He is the incumbent governor of the state and the candidate of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC). Before he became a governor in 2018, he served as Chief of Staff for eight years (2010 – 2018).
Chances of victory
Gboyega Oyetola is no doubt one of the candidates with high chances of winning the election slated to hold on Saturday, July 16. He will be having another round of political fight with his closest rival, Adeleke in the 2018 guber poll. Aside federal might, he is also backed by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
Recall that Oyetola firstly polled 254,345 votes while his close opponent, Adeleke polled 254,698 votes, leading Oyetola with 353 votes but the first lap was declared inconclusive by the electoral body, INEC.
In the rerun election, both candidates made efforts to garner highest votes out of 2637 votes the electoral body, INEC had set aside to determine the final lap of the contest. APC polled 1160 votes and PDP polled 325 votes in the rerun. At the end, INEC declared that Oyetola of the APC polled 255,505 votes while Adeleke of the PDP polled 255,023 votes.
Some political analysts argued that some factors were responsible for the close gap between the ruling party and main opposition party in 2018. These factors were identified as half-salary, slow and non-profiting promotion, single uniform, reclassification of schools which includes same gender among others. They believed that these factors did not give the candidate of the ruling party a straight win in 2018.
Findings by WITHIN NIGERIA revealed that within the first four years of Governor Oyetola, most of these policies such as single uniform, reclassification of schools among others have been reversed to pacify the people. The State Government now pay regular salary but the debts incurred during the last administration of Rauf Aregbesola through half-salary payment have not been settled as at the time of filling this report.
Political analysts argued that it is possible for Osun people to reconsider Governor Oyetola for a second term in office considering the reversal of certain policies and reintroduction of full salary payment that angered the people in 2018.
WITHIN NIGERIA also speculated that a former deputy governor of the state who is now the national secretary of the ruling party, Senator Iyiola Omisore will also contribute to the possible victory of Governor Oyetola at the poll. Recall that Omisore who was a candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) polled 128,000 votes in 2018 guber poll. It is believed that Iyiola Omisore who is now a party chieftain in the ruling party, APC would contribute majority of these votes to expected votes to make Oyetola win especially delivering his strongholds.
However, the continued rivalry between Governor Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola which has caused a division within the party would likely affect the party’s chances at the poll. Some politicians loyal to the former governor, Aregbesola under the platform of The Osun Progressives led by Elder Lowo Adebiyi have shown no interest in the reelection of Governor Oyetola. Some loyalists have dumped the party for the main opposition, PDP while others who are still in the party have shown little or no concern. Meanwhile, the chairman of The Osun Progressives, Elder Lowo Adebiyi in an interview with The PUNCH disclosed that all members of the group should vote for the ruling party, APC while they rely on court to settle the internal differences within the party.
Despite the directive of Elder Lowo Adebiyi, WITHIN NIGERIA reporter believes that this rivalry has two possible effects which are; it is possible Governor Oyetola records less votes in Aregbesola’s strongholds as an indicator that he is still relevant and can not be taken for granted or Oyetola records massive votes in Aregbesola’s strongholds to match up with Senator Iyiola Omisore’s expected outcomes in Ice zone.
Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke
He is the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a former senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He represented the good people of Osun West Senatorial District at the red chamber shortly after the demise of his elder brother, late Senator Isiaka Adeleke.
Chances of victory
Senator Ademola Adeleke is no doubt one do the candidates with high chances of winning the guber poll slated to hold on Saturday, July 16. Adeleke, candidate of the main opposition party, PDP who polled 254,698 votes in 2018 guber poll will be facing Governor Oyetola of APC among other candidates. He is also backed by his brother, Deji Adeleke who is a billionaire and prominent businessman.
Adeleke is relying on his popularity, family pedigree and perceived excesses of the ruling party, APC after being in control of state resources for 12 years to win the poll. His shocking performance in the last poll and how he garnered 254,698 votes as a known dancer and controversies surrounding his academic certificates and personality especially his absence at debates still remain a surprise to many.
Political analysts have argued that Senator Adeleke has stepped up his game by securing a degree in criminology and exposing himself to debates and interviews which have cleared some misconceptions about his personality.
Adeleke is also from Osun West Senatorial District. Besides being a native of Edeland which has two local governments, it is likely possible that he benefits from the ongoing struggle to return power to Osun West because the district has not accessed the top seat since return to civil rule. He also picked his running mate from Ile-Ife, the hometown of Senator Iyiola Omisore, one of the strong supporters of Governor Oyetola. It is expected that Senator Adeleke would likely have a share of votes in Ife zone too.
However, the Osun chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party is also battling with internal crisis which was escalated by the party guber primaries. A guber primary which produced Senator Ademola Adeleke was backed by the PDP working committee while another which produced Prince Dotun Babayemi was backed by a former governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Even though there are claims that the matter has been resolved between two warring parties but recent activities in the party as far as Osun state is concerned prove otherwise. The neglect of the final rally of the party in Osogbo by three PDP governor; Nyesom Wike, Seyi Makinde and Samuel Orton has continued to raise dusts that it is possible that the crisis within the party has taken a new dimension.
Rt. Hon. Lasun Yusuf
He is the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party. He is also one of the candidates with expected high chances at the poll. He was a two-time lawmaker representing the good people of Osogbo, Olorunda, Irepodun and Orolu federal constituency at the green chamber. He also served as a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives (2015 – 2019).
Chances of victory
Rt. Hon. Lasun Yusuf is no strange to Osun politics. He has contested two times and lost to Governor Oyetola at the APC guber primaries held in 2018 and 2022 respectively. Even though the Ilobu-born vowed not to leave the ruling party until it collapsed, he dumped the party and embraced the Labour Party to pursue his gubernatorial ambition in 2022. However, there is no regular structure or framework that could be traced to the Labour Party which is widespread across the state but its gubernatorial candidate, Lasun Yusuf has continued to promise his supporters that he will be declared as the winner of the poll.
Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi
He is the gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party (AP). He is also one of the candidates with high chances of victory at the poll.
Chances of victory
Even though he has never occupied any political office, he contested the guber primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Senator Ademola Adeleke and reportedly lost with 7 votes in 2018. He also threw his hat into the ring but pulled out of the primaries barely 48 hours to the election and accused the leadership of the party of bias. He dumped the Peoples Democratic Party and joined the Accord Party to purse his gubernatorial ambition.
He is expected to face Governor Oyetola, Senator Ademola Adeleke and other twelve candidates at the poll. He relies on support of aggrieved members and chieftains of the main opposition party, PDP who are also angry about the ‘not yet proven bias’ of the leadership of the party. WITHIN NIGERIA also gathered that some members and chieftains of the PDP also moved to Accord Party in protest and they are willing to work together.
Ogunbiyi, an Insurance guru is also backing on the people of the state to support him, citing the inability of the two major political parties, APC and PDP to make desirable change when opportuned to govern the state.
Out of all the 15 candidates jostling for the top seat, WITHIN NIGERIA has pointed out the main contenders in the race and projected that one of these contenders is a likely winner of the poll. Definitely, we are not Osun people or the recognized electoral body, INEC. As much as we expected a winner in this poll, we also join the millions of Osun people and well wishers to ask; who is the next governor of the state?