As the July 16, 2022 gubernatorial election in Osun State gathers momentum, the coast seems to be clear for Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the incumbent governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Though there are still issues against the emergence of Adeleke and Oyetola from their respective parties, barring unforeseen circumstances, Adeleke and Oyetola would represent PDP and APC as they are the recognised candidates by the national leadership of both parties. The two candidates are familiar with the terrain. Adeleke and Oyetola were the candidates of their party in the 2018 election and it was a keen contest. Both candidates stand almost equal chance of becoming governor while they are also both bedevilled with certain adverse factors.
Adelekes selling point
Senator Ademola Adeleke has continued to enjoy the goodwill of his brothers – late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke and Dr Deji Adeleke. The late Sen. Adeleke was the first civilian governor of the state while Dr Adeleke is a businessman and father of popular musician David Adeleke also known as Davido.
Before he died, Senator Adeleke was a very prominent politician in the state and had a lot of followers. Majority of those supporting the young Ademola Adeleke now are doing so because of the senior Adeleke, given their relationship with the deceased. Most people are of the opinion that if not for his late brother, Ademola would not be able to contest for governorship because he was not a politician initially.
The people of Osun West were determined to produce the governor of the state again and this might be to the advantage of Sen Ademola Adeleke from Ede in Osun West.
Crave for change
There are certain people who just want a change of government and prefer a new governor. These set of people would support Adeleke. They just have sympathy for him and want the incumbent governor out. Also, this category include those who did not benefit directly from Oyetola’s administration and want power shift so that the benefits can rotate to another set of people in the state.
Adeleke’s weak point
Crisis in Osun PDP: The intra party crisis in Osun State chapter of the PDP may jeopardize the chances of Sen Adeleke again if not resolved. Apparently, majority of the aspirants that struggled for the PDP ticket including the former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade and the popular businessman Dr Akin Ogunbiyi and their supporters might not be working for Adeleke given the circumstances surrounding the primary election of the party, while Prince Dotun Babayemi who was declared the winner of the parallel primary election of the party might also be a big issue.
Top leaders of the party that matter including Senator Olu Alabi, Alhaji Suaib Oyedokun, former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Deputy Governor, Erelu Olusola Obada and Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo are with Babayemi and it might be hard for Adeleke to face election without the support of this set of political leaders in his party.
Certificate issue: Sen. Adeleke’s certificate was a major subject during the last governorship election in the state. His opponent used the issue to distract him as they insisted that he was not qualified to contest for the election. The certificate issue is also coming up now and it may be used again. However, the PDP candidate claimed that he has obtained a certificate from an institution abroad.
Lack of leadership experience: Many people feel that Senator Ademola Adeleke does not have sufficient leadership experience and that he doesn’t own a personal business to earn necessary leadership skill needed for a holder of such exalted office. Many of his critics were not happy with his dancing habit and see him as someone not capable of managing the affairs of the state.
Incumbency and federal might: As a member of the ruling party, Governor Oyetola would enjoy some level of federal might by gaining some assistance from his party men at the centre while he would also be able to use power of incumbency as the sitting governor of the state who controls resources and security apparatus in the state. Previous elections in the state in the past were not without the involvement of the federal government and the Abuja factor often play major role, though it may not be public knowledge.
Tinubu/Lagos factor: Apparently, human and materials resources would be mobilised for Governor Oyetola from Lagos because of the interest of the APC leader and presidential aspirant of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is Governor Oyetola’s brother. During the last election between Oyetola and Adeleke, Tinubu relocated to Osogbo for the purpose of the election and ensured victory for Oyetola in the election.
First term performance: Governor Oyetola’s current performance would surely work for him during the governorship election. Since he became governor, Oyetola has been paying the salary of workers fully and regularly and is still executing capital projects across the state. The governor started and completed a flyover bridge in Osogbo within one year and this did not affect other road projects across the state. Many people believe that his performance will earn him more votes.
Osun APC crisis: The supremacy battle between Oyetola and the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, no doubt had torn the party apart in the state. Members of the party in the state who are loyal to Aregbesola formed a group known as The Osun Progressives (TOP) and the caucus eventually presented the former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, to replace Oyetola but the governor defeated Adeoti in the primary election. The TOP leadership said the primary election was rigged in favour of the governor and ran to court to invalidate the election. The matter is still in court and the crisis between Oyetola and Aregbesola was yet to be resolved which might reduce the chances of Governor Oyetola in the election.
Zoning issue: The people of Osun West Senatorial District who believe in the agitation for the zoning arrangement might not vote for Oyetola. They just want the position to return to Osun West by all means. So, many people from Osun West might go for Adeleke for this reason.
Hard time/economic crisis: Many residents are lamenting over the current economic crisis in the country and some of the residents believe that the APC-led government has failed to make life better and that APC should be voted out from the state to the presidency.