By Olusesan Laoye
The political situation in Osun State is yet to stabilised after the July 16 2022 governorship election, which was won by Senator Ademola Adeleke. The unexpected outcome of the poll, has left the government in complete disarray as normal activities seem to be suspended, even with the resolve by the party to challenge the result.
Adeleke in a land slide victory was declared winner over the out-going governor, Gboyega Oyetola with over 30,000 votes, and since his declaration, the state has known no peace politically, as there have been series of agitations of one misconduct or the other.
These agitations are not limited to particular group but cut across different sections and critical areas and political parties of Osun State.
The political parties still mostly affected and not yet settled, are the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
After the euphoria that greeted the governorship election, one would have thought that the state would be in peace and all the warring groups within the two major political parties would look forward to welcoming the new dawn and work towards moving Osun State out of the woods. But the in-fighting witnessed before the election, is still very much pronounced.
From what is presently going on, the governor-elect, Adeleke is likely to be sworn in under this instability in the state, as what some of the members of the PDP said, would be a big task for the new government to manage before stability and cooperation set in.
In the first instance, despite the fact that the PDP and the governor-elect have set up a transition committee, the APC and the out-going governor, Oyetola, have still not come to terms with the result of the election and even gone to court to challenge it, claiming that after critically studying the way the election went and how the victory went in favour of Adeleke, they discovered series of discrepancies in the conduct of the election.
Although nothing concrete has been heard about the allegations they intend to pursue at the tribunal, it is clear to everyone in the state that APC and Oyetola are not likely to succumb to Adeleke’s victory until the last is heard from the law court.
Just like every one fighting a battle, Oyetola believes he has genuine grounds to upturn the result of the election but those in Adeleke’s camp believe that he is pursuing a wild goose chase, as their governorship victory has come to stay.
For the PDP, many had thought that all members would by now be working together to give Osun state the best the party could offer but unfortunately, the party is still widely divided.
It would be recalled that the party held two parallel congresses which produced two primaries and two governorship candidates. While the Ademola Adeleke emerged from his own faction, Prince Dotun Babayemi emerged from the other group.
But Adeleke was the one endorsed by the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He was also affirmed by the court, which threw out the case filed by Dotun Babayemi against his nomination on July,15, 2022, a day to the governorship election.
That was the situation in PDP before the election. Though some of the leaders in the Babayemi’s group came to terms with the Adeleke’s group, for the purpose of the election, to ensure victory for the party, Babayemi himself is still not satisfied and claiming that he ought to be the candidate of the party and that the congress which elected Adeleke was not the authentic one but the one where he emerged.
As such, he has gone back to the appeal Court and has vowed that the case would be fought to a logical conclusion, up to the Supreme Court.
With just about three months for Adeleke to be in office, sources hinted that efforts are being made to pacify the Babayemi’s faction so that the PDP would be in power as a formidable party, to form a government that would involve all factions.
This was even confirmed by Prince Diran Odeyemi, the Director of Publicity of the Adeleke campaign organisation that the group has been reaching out to the other faction but they are yet to respond favourably, arguing that they still banked on the notion that the court case against the primary that produced Adeleke, would favour them.
Presently, no one knows which side is right, as the Babayemi group too claimed that although they are still in court, the Adeleke’s group has not reached out to them in concrete terms and that was why they are not in a hurry to give up the fight.
Despite the internal wrangling going on in PDP, there are other major external issues worrying the party, which the governor elect and leaders of the party believed must be tackled before taking over.
The issues are connected with the allegations that the out-going government has been disbursing funds outrageously, to cripple the in coming government, which the government of Oyetola has denied.
Also the APC government has been accused of taking more loans to cause financial problems for the incoming PDP government. According to Senator Adeleke, the government has initiated fresh moves to borrow.
“We have it on good authority that Osun state assets within the state, Kogi, Lagos, Abuja and outside the shore of the country are being tampered with for private acquisition.”
But disputing these allegations, Osun State Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Funke Egbemode described these allegations as cheap blackmail.
She argued that the government did not take any N17 bn loan to prosecute the election, and no government official has embarked on any looting or diversion of any government assets/property as claimed by the PDP.
Egbemode pointed out that Adeleke who after being elected has realised the enormity of governing a state like Osun now is in fear and should own up to his inadequacies, rather than making laughable allegations against Oyetola, who creatively managed the assets of the state in the last three-and-a-half years, picking all the bills without taking loans, wondering why he would start taking loans at this time?”
There is also the issue of government trying to conduct local government election.
Osun State Peoples Democratic Party warned Gov. Oyetola and the Osun Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC), against going ahead with the planned local government election, condemning the action as unlawful, illegal and criminals. It claimed that OSSIEC, is a body which till date, is without legal backing for its operations.
The party argued that with reference to section 151 of the Electoral Act, 2022, OSSIEC is warned that apart from the purported election running the risk of being rendered void absolutely, it is a criminal offence for any member or staff of any electoral body who conspires or indulges in holding an election contrary to the Electoral Act, 2022.
It also warned that the action, would further put the state in a serious financial mess.
The Adeleke’s camp raised this issue since it has become the norms of the out-going governments in Nigeria to hurriedly conduct local government elections, toward the end of their exits in government. Oyo and Ekiti are clear examples.
This is what Oladele Oluwabamiji,
Director of Media, Osun State PDP and an insider in Adeleke’s camp said, they were trying to forestall and they had to cry out before the deed is done.
However, both the government of Oyetola and the State Independent Electoral Commission have denied the allegation.
The Chairman if the commission, Otunba Segun Oladitan, described as baseless and unfounded the rumours making the rounds that the Local Government Election in Osun State has been slated for October 29, 2022.
According to him, the only recognized body to announce the date for the Local Government Election is the Osun Independent Electoral Commission, hence any date coming from any other source aside OSIEC should be disregarded by the public, saying that at the appropriate time, the Commission would come out with the election guidelines to put a stop to the unnecessary rumors being peddled around.
Just as Governor Oyetola is still battling to overcome his defeat and the Chairman of the APC, Prince Gboyega Famodun insisting that they are ready for the Tribunal and sure that Oyetola would come back to rule for a second term, the party is now boiling and going towards total collapse.
Members of the two factions of Oyetola and that of Aregbesola are at daggers drawn as the actions of both parties have shown that there would be no end to the serious crisis which engulfed the APC in Osun State, for now.
The Famadu led executive of the party has vowed to deal ruthlessly with those in Aregesola’s camp for engaging in anti party activities by supporting Adeleke to win the election, the Aregesola’s group too called for the removal of Famodun, saying, it was time for the party to undergo a thorough surgical operation.
Thousands of members of the party had protested at a rally where they called for the restructuring of the party, sequel to the loss by the party in the July 16 2022, governorship election. They said that the chairman of the party, must be removed for causing division within the party and members, which led to the defeat of the party in the just concluded governorship election.
The protesters are from the 30 local governments in the state carrying placards, discrediting the present structure, describing the Osun APC under Famodun as a ‘vehicle with flat tyres’, which would again failed to fly to victory in the 2023 general elections.
The protesters also went to the State House of Assembly where the Speaker, Hon. Timothy Owoeye assured them that the leaders of the party would look into how they would make the party come together, for them to win future elections.
A prominent member of the APC, Comrade Abosede Oluwaseun, who led the protesters believed that the only way out is for the party to be restructured from unit, ward, local government and state level, for it to be united and formidable, ahead of the coming general elections.
Oluwaseun said: “With conscious, sincere and objective analysis of the outcome of the governorship election, we discovered that the electoral loss is not only self-induced by the party’s administrators, it also reflects party issues which had been raised by concerned minds in the recent past, which he argued, boils down to the conclusion that the party has been mismanaged by Gov. Oyetola and the Party Chairman, Gboyega Famodun.
The Chairman he said, has totally demonstrated lack of capacity to manage the party, which reflected in the result of the July 16, 2022, governorship election.
But in a counter move to back Famodun and Oyetola, another group of youths loyal to them came out in another protest condemning the actions of Aregesola’s group, saying, they were all out to destroy the APC.
The APC Youths called on President Muhammadu Buhari to caution the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola over his anti-party conducts, aimed at grounding the party in the State. They argued that the minister has become “a liability and a political virus to the party as seen in his inward and outward dispositions in recent times”.
The Leader of the Oyetola faction of the APC youths, Mr. Goke Akinwemimo, threw it back at the former governor Aregbesola and his group, that they were on a vendetta mission, to destroy the party in Osun “on account of ego trip and self aggrandizement”.
He pointed out that the conduct and attitude of the minister was worrisome, retrogressive and least expected, from him as the former governor, of Osun state, who has risen to prominence with the support of the party structure.
Akinwemimo alleged that apart from the fact that the former minister openly sponsored splinter groups to reduce the winning chance of APC in the election, he openly declared support for opposition party and moved further to mobilise, including security agents under the supervision of his Ministry to harass and oppress our teeming members to aid the opposition PDP and Adeleke to win the election.
As an indication that the Aregbesola’s group is all out for a fight to finish with the Oyetola/Famodun group they have not relented in pursuing a litigation at the Court of Appeal, Akure Division, challenging the Ward Congress of the party held in Osun.
A prominent community leader, Alhaji Alimi Adigun in Ede North said, this is the time for all “of us irrespective of our political parties or affiliations, to move decisively to resolve issues that could bring the state backward.
“We must not allow petty, selfish and individual’s interest to over shadow our collective concern to redeem Osun state from a poor state to an enviable and industrialized state, where all her natural resources would be used for greater development.
Olusesan Laoye is journalist, he writes from Oshogbo.