- Aspirants Secretly Inaugurate Committees
By Kehinde Ayantunji
The silence of Governor Rauf Aregbesola over the choice of his successor has continued to rattle the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Aregbesola’s silence in less than seven months to the gubernatorial election has put the politicians in dilemma as many are confused on who to pitch their tent with among the major contenders.
Dr Ibraheem Adigun, an APC chieftain in Ile-Ife in an interview with Osun Defender said Governor Aregbesola has successfully established his political domination by dictating the pace for intending aspirants and opposition parties in the state.
He said, “A pointer to the governor’s dominance is that a tiny number of the interested aspirants are bold enough to declare openly, while the majority of those who are also interested are just grumbling without any courage to make any formal public declaration because they knew that whosoever that the governor endorses will pick the party ticket”.
“In the history of Osun, election year has never been dull like this, for instance, when Governor Aregbesola contested in 2007, the state has been bombarded with all manner of political campaigns as far back as 2005, and even during his second term, by 2012, despite that the governor had no opponent, it was already bubbling but less than 7 months to the next governorship election, it does not appeared that election is coming”, Adigun said
Also, a member of APC state working committee who pleaded anonymity said though the party has not officially lift ban on political activities, but the body language of the governor has forced some aspirants to be “undecided perpetually”.
A chieftain who is a senatorial leader said, “the governor has discourage any discussion on his successor, even when the elders forum of the party approached him, he persuaded them to suspend the discussion on the matter, and to some of us who are politician, it is a real confusion”.
When the senatorial leader was asked whether the governor formally asked people not to contest, he replied that there is no forum where the governor told any aspirant not to declare their ambition, saying, “He did not stop any one from declaring their intention but we all know the reality that the incumbent has a substantial role to play in producing a successor”.
Governor Aregbesola for months has been resisting political pressure to publicly announce his preferred successor which has made it difficult for political gladiators to predict his direction.
A member of the State Executive Council who do not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak on the matter told Osun Defender that the governor has repeatedly reiterated at the state executive meetings that those who are eager about politics are free to leave the cabinet.
He said, “the governor has said it repeatedly that he is interested in completing most of the ongoing work than politics of successor now, and that whoever could not exercise patience is free to leave the state assignment for politics”
“ In fact, we were expecting some of the interested executive members to have resigned their appointment in January but some of them are not sure of the choice of the governor, I can bet it with you that as at today, it is only the governor that knows who he is supporting”.
APC Director, Media and Publicity, Bar Kunle Oyatomi in an interview said that the party has not officially lift the ban on political campaigns and that it will be illegal for any candidate to commence campaign for the governorship race.
Only the Deputy Speaker, Hon Lasun Yusuf and Barrister Kunle Adegoke have openly signified their intentions. Other rumored aspirants include the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, Secretary to the State Governor, Moshood Adeoti; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Najeem Salaam who have not openly declared their ambition.
But in pursuing their ambitions, two aspirants from Osun West were reported to have constituted senatorial and local government coordinators with the task of mobilising delegates for them in the party primary expected to hold in June this year.
One of the aspirants who is currently serving in government allegedly inaugurated the committee across the nine federal constituency last week and appointed party chieftains as coordinators in the old 31 local governments.
Meanwhile, apart from the leadership crisis rocking the PDP in the state, the silence of the governor is also unsettling the opposition, as they are largely strategising on the choice of the governor.
Osun Defender findings indicated that the two factions in the party are closely monitoring the choice of the governor in presenting a candidate. The party is considering the strategy of the last Osun West Senatorial Election whereby they waited till the last minutes before producing the candidate.