ANALYSIS: Osun: Who succeeds Aregbesola?

…high-wired intrigues in submarine politics

As September election looms in Osun state, political parties are struggling to field acceptable candidates for the governorship race.

The leading political parties, the APC and PDP have been joined by two new entrants – the Advanced People’s Congress and the Social Democratic Party in the race – to secure the governorship seat currently occupied by the APC.

Home-based vs Lagos-based

In the battle for the party tickets, contenders are deploying all means including the now popular dichotomy between home-based and Lagos-based platforms – a tag that is playing crucial roles in the contention for the gubernatorial ticket.

Both PDP and APC are gripped in the feverish struggle between the home based and Lagos based camps just as threats and counter – threats are becoming rife on the outcome of the yet to be held party primaries.

Money or Finance

Aside Lagos and home-based dichotomy, the factor playing out is the use of money as moneybag politics is current and potent issue among the two leading parties.

Strong political forces within the two leading camps appear to believe that a moneybag will enhance their electoral chance especially in view of mass poverty gripping the people of the state.

It is thus noticed that moneybags in the race are flaunting their riches even as many indigents aspirants warn against dwelling on money as sole criteria for fielding a candidate.

Zoning

Beyond money politics, the issue of zoning is also playing prominent role as the idea of Western candidate appears to be gaining serious traction in the contest.

Within the APC, chieftains are vowing that it is either Osun West or nothing while within the PDP the idea of West for governorship is becoming irresistible.

Within the APC, it was noticed that the West agenda is shaped by strong political force represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Sheu Moshood Adeoti.

The SSG is widely reputed to be a grassroots politician with state wide base, deep political experience, hands on understanding of government and a rallying point for the home based politicians.

The Iwo-born politician remains a major issue in the contention for the APC ticket especially as the Iwolokan agenda appears to play out in his favour considering his antecedents, his being a Muslim and his being an home based politician.

Religion

Another major point is religion. While Osun allegedly has 60-40 % Muslim Christian population, one or two political parties are alleged to be playing up the religious cards.

This may divide voting along religious lines. Religious mobilisation is reportedly ongoing in both mosques and churches. Religion will play major part come September polls.

The PDP Race

Within the PDP, the race is so complicated that many party chieftains are worried about the consequences of the forthcoming primaries. Many heavy weights are in the race with division into home based and Lagos based.

Dr Lere Oyewumi is a veteran grassroots politician with intimidating support base across the state. Fatai Akinbade is equally a formidable aspirant with combined antecedents of colossal rating. Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, former minister and senator possesses strong credential.

Senator Demola Adeleke integrates political influence with business base and name recognition state wide. He is reported to be a darling of most young voters.

Akin Ogunbiyi is a nationally renowned business man who many see as a fresh face with requisite experience. Though with low state wide political recognition, he is arguably a strong contender for the PDP ticket.

Adewopo Ayombo, an excellent contender from East parades star-like records.

Two strong contenders dropped out of the race midway – Mallam Olawale Rasheed, a Media Entrepreneur and Kayode Oduoye, a legal practitioner.

Both men were regarded as the main new breed in the race with strong prospect. That touch is what Adewopo is now flying.

While it is not clear how the race may turn out, some permutations are being examined by analysts.

For the PDP, the ultimate winner may be decided by the following factors namely decision of party elders, home-based factor, name recognition, finance and thinking of party national headquarters.

An aspirant that combines home-bred, name recognition with money and national support may carry the day.

The APC Race

For APC, the picture is more cloudy. The power brokers within the party appear to be targeting two aspirants, the Chief of Staff to the Governor and the Commissioner for Finance.

Reports said the CoS is the first choice and CF as the second option. That leaves out the populist Adeoti widely acknowledged as the most popular among the APC aspirants. That is the risky point for the party.

SDP/ADC

Within the new platforms, Iyiola Omisore remains a serious issue. While tackling the challenges of SDP ticket, there are strong signs he will eventually secure the ticket.

Omisore as a candidate will create another axis of electoral opportunities on many flanks. Many posited that he cannot win but they also accepted that he will be taken some PDP votes with him.

Others even affirm that nobody is sure of who can win especially if the nomination process within the major parties is badly managed.

For the ADC, it appears to be more dangerous as it has accepted two basic principles namely that a Muslim Iwoland candidate is to be fielded.

The party is working underground making determination of who is loyal very difficult to gauge for the major parties. Checks showed that the party already has a guber candidate from Iwo who is claiming it is the turn of Iwo town, not Iwoland.

Post-primaries war

Irrespective of who picks the party tickets, the post-primary happenings may determine the outcome. One thing is sure according to reports – there will be multiple defection across the parties.

Depending on who emerges in PDP, strong signs of likely defection is clearly on the horizon. There seems to be bottled up discontent, which many party chiefs are keeping close to their chests. The full picture is however not clear.

For the APC, serious fireworks may ensue if Osun West is sidelined. A new dimension will be, if Osun West is accepted but Iwoland is snubbed. Except the parties deploy serious horse-trading, mass defection may not be ruled out.

Contexts of contest

Meanwhile, the context of the race is quite interesting. Whatever party wins Ekiti will influence the outcome of Osun race.

In addition, federal might is a key factor as it confers natural advantage in an electoral process.

The incumbency factor cannot be wished away though it is not a determining factor. Above all, how united or splintered the opposition is may also play crucial role.

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