- Issues And Implications
By Solomon Odeniyi
The agitation for the zoning of the governorship slot to Osun West Senatorial District, particularly in the All Progressives Congress (APC) might eventually lose touch, as none of the aspirants from the zone was reportedly ready to sacrifice his ambition for the agitation to have its way.
A public affair analyst, Dr Jimoh Adebayo has said that if the party should go into the primary with the present political situation, due to the high number of aspirants from the West Senatorial District, it might be difficult to have a candidate to emerge from the axis.
Some of the APC aspirants from the zone are, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dr Najeem Salaam; Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Elder Peter Babalola; House of Representatives member from Iwo/Ayedire/Ola Oluwa Federal Constituency, Hon. Gafar Amere; and a renowned lawyer, Dr Ismail Saka-Layonu (SAN).
Others are, Project Coordinator, Osun RAMP, Engineer Adelere Oriolowo; the State Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebamiji; a Businessman, Mr Adegboyega Alabi; a former Chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service, Mr Dayo Oyebanji; a former Federal Permanent Secretary, Dr Ezekiel Oyemomi among others.
Beside this factor, findings show that one other factor that might work against the zoning agitation is the inability of party leaders and other stakeholders from the zone to speak with one voice.
It would be recalled that last week, some youths and women mobilised to protest in agitation for the zoning of the APC governorship ticket to the West, but during the week, an amalgam of youths, under the auspices of Coalition of Osun Youth Organisation in collaboration with Development Advocacy Group mobilized to condemn the call for agitation and insisted that competence should be given precedence.
Dr Adebayo however noted that over-ambition of some of the aspirants has rendered the “already stabilized argument for zoning” impotent, saying the argument would die a natural death if care is not taken.
According to him, though, it is better to give all aspirants from all the zones a level playing ground irrespective of the zone of origin, but the issue of zoning has become a movement, regretting that the principal agitators who are the aspirants are the one defeating the arguments for zoning themselves.
“In my view, if the aspirants team up to present a formidable unity aspirant from the zone and back him up with all they have, it will be difficult for any aspirant from the other zones to emerge during the primary of the APC.
“In a situation like this, everybody, irrespective of whom you are must be ready to make sacrifice, but it is unfortunate that the ‘me-or-nobody-else syndrome’ is playing out here and that is a major factor that would work against the agitators.
“Don’t forget that each of the aspirants has delegates loyal to him or her and instead of having their votes in a place, the votes would be divided, while those from the other zones are working hard to have their votes intact”.
The analyst however noted that either zoning or otherwise, the party should ensure that it presents an acceptable candidate in terms of competence, experience and comportment to build on the existing development of the present government in the state.
According to him, the present government had done very well in terms of infrastructural development, except for few hitches in the administration of the state, saying when a government has performed, the best option is to guarantee continuity of the existing development.
He said, it would be at the detriment of the people of the state if a government that do not believe in the agenda of the present administration comes in and abandon the investments that are on ground, saying it would not be a waste of resources only, but also human capital.
Meanwhile, in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a reliable source said the ticket has been decided in favour of the West Senatorial district, saying though, the party might eventually go into primary, but the candidate that would emerge would come from the zone.
He said barring any last minute changes, the major focus now is on Senator Ademola Adeleke and Chief Akin Ogunbiyi, who according to him have the financial wherewithal to prosecute the election.
According to the source, that has been the major reason why the party’s aspirants from other zones have stepped down their campaign activities.
…Osun West Aspirants React
Some of the aspirants from the West Senatorial district, including Honourable Gafar Amere and Moshood Adeoti have said that the number of aspirants contesting for the governorship ticket from the Senatorial District would not in any way affect the chances of the zone.
Amere said, once the ticket is zoned to the West, the issue of whether it would affect the chances of the zone or not would not even arise, saying, in the spirit of fairplay, justice and equity, it is the turn of the zone to produce the next governor in the state.
“What we are saying is that, it should be zoned to Osun West and when that is done, it means we will have to select the best from the West.
“I don’t see how the number of aspirants would affect our chances; in fact it would allow the best to emerge from the zone.
“For instance, I am one of the aspirants and I believe so much in the ongoing development in the state which I am determined to build on”, Amere noted.
Also, Adeoti, through his spokesman, Kayode Agbaje said, the most important thing is that it should be zoned to the west, saying regardless of the number of aspirants from the axis, the zone should be allowed to produce the next governor in the spirit of justice, fairplay and equity.
According to him, in a free and fair primary, an acceptable candidate that will be ready to build on the current development in Osun would emerge.
He said, in the history of Osun, only West senatorial district has not had the opportunity to rule more than 22 months, saying, it is now the turn of the district.
Also, another aspirant who spoke on the condition of anonymity believed that the large number of aspirants contesting the primary under the ruling APC would not in any way affect the region chances of picking up the party’s ticket.
Rather, he said, it is a welcome development which signifies the dire desire of the zone to produce the next governor.
He said: “Osun west is one-third of the state. So if anybody is contesting for the governorship position from the 30 local governments, he must have the support of the delegates from all the local governments, hence the issue of how many aspirants is insignificant.
“There are lots of aspirants from the west because they believe it is their turn. It does not affect anything. They can struggle with the delegates from west as well as from other districts.