The beauty of democracy resides in the periodic change of leadership at a time stipulated by law. Once the confidence of the people is lost, they handover their destinies to the most available alternative, with the hope of getting a better deal.
For Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun, the people spoke to him last Saturday and put an end to his second term ambition. But what are the events that cumulated to Oyetola’s electoral misfortune? What were the factors that worked against his 4+4 mantra? ISMAEEL UTHMAN writes……
T is no longer news that Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of State of Osun has lost his second term bid, having been defeated by the Governor-elect, Sen. Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) in the Saturday, July 16, 2022 governorship election.
Adeleke polled 403,371 to defeat Oyetola who recorded 375,027 votes.
Political watchers and analysts however, have submitted that Oyetola did not just lost his reelection bid.
They said the outgoing Governor had lost his re-election three years ago when he started his ‘politics of alienation’ and dissociation from his former boss, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not approach the election with a united house, as the crisis within the party remained unresolved, till the election day.
According to analysts, Oyetola is not popular in the state and his determination to crush Aregbesola and his supporters politically, resulted into further hatred of his administration by the people of the state who still love Aregbesola.
OSUN DEFENDER noted that hardly had Oyetola became the governor of the state, he began to dissociate himself from Aregbesola’s administration where he served as Chief of Staff to the Governor for eight years.
Oyetola’s dissociation from Aregbesola was borne out of his plan to absolve himself of some controversies that rocked the former governor’s administration, among which were payment of modulated salary, re-classification of schools and the debt profile of the state.
The governor believed that dissociating himself from Aregbesola’s administration would endear him to the people, a move later said to be a straw that broke his camel’s back.
The incumbent also believed that Aregbesola did not genuinely support him in 2018, hence the need to crush all the political structures his benefactor had and create his own nest of followership, within the rank and file of the party.
OSUN DEFENDER was reliably informed that the first move to ‘cut Aregbesola to size’ in Osun politics was the nomination of Senator Iyiola Omisore as the Ministerial nominee from the State of Osun.
According to sources, Oyetola and some APC leaders wrote President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and introduced Omisore, who was never a member of the APC then, as the person nominated for the ministerial appointment from Osun.
But Buhari rejected the nomination and opted for Aregbesola, who he was pleased with his performance as the governor of the state, said the sources.
The animosity between Oyetola and his successor came to public knowledge when Aregbesola was turbaned as the Amirul Waziri Muminiin of the State of Osun on December 20, 2019 by the Leagues of Imams and Alfa in the State.
Oyetola, his cabinet members and local government chairmen did not attend the turbaning ceremony, held at the Osogbo Central Mosque.
Only the Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebamiji, Chairmen of Osogbo South and Osogbo West Local Council Development Areas, and Ede North Local Council Development Area, Hon. Akeem Olaoye, Alhaja Temilade Olokungboye and Mukaila Uthman attended the programme respectively.
Though Aregbesola claimed that Oyetola did not deliberately shun his programme, he was furious that other political functionaries, particularly chairmen of the councils he created did not honour him with their presence at the event.
His furiousity brought out the popular utterance, “Eyin nu, Olohun nu,” meaning ‘I leave you all to God.’
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the political functionaries were instructed not to attend the turbaning ceremony to make a statement that Aregbesola was no longer holding the grip of APC in the state.
Since 2019, the relationship between Aregbesola and Oyetola has remained sour, leading to gradual division of the party.
The return of same school uniform, reversal of school merger and re-classification from Elementary, Middle and High School (4-5-3) to normal primary, junior secondary and senior secondary school (6-3-3) were said to be calculative, in the grand attempt to discredit Aregbesola.
All the loyalists of the Minister of Interior were excluded from government and party affairs, a situation that birthed The Osun Progressives, a caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, in May 2021.
Failure To Open Room For Reconciliation
Members of the APC and some political watchers had believed that the crisis rocking the party would be laid to rest when the governorship election approaches.
But the reconciliation did not come as expected by majority of the people.
The first opportunity for Oyetola to reconcile with the aggrieved members of the party was during the appointment of caretaker chairmen for the local government and local council development areas.
It was expected that the governor would pacify the aggrieved members with the LG caretaker appointment made on July 1, 2021.
But Oyetola ensured that none of Aregbesola’s allies made the list, a situation that further widened the division in the party.
There were also misgivings among members of the Governor’s group, IleriOluwa, on the choice of people that made the caretaker appointment across the local governments and LCDAs. Some of the group members who thought they would be appointed felt disappointed.
Ward, Local Government and State Congresses
Also, the governor failed to make use of the APC congresses to reconcile with the aggrieved members who were formidable under the TOP umbrella.
The ward, local and state congresses of the APC led to the final polarisation of the party in 2021.
Oyetola and some APC leaders in the state manipulated the congresses by handpicking the party’s excos through consensus, against the call for elective congresses by TOP.
The party held parallel congresses in each of the wards, local governments and state levels.
Members of the APC who belonged to The Osun Progressives, elected former Secretary of the party, Hon. Rasaq Salinsile as State Chairman while the IleriOluwa group chose Famodun as Chairman of the party.
However, no fewer than 2,552 members of the APC who procured the party’s nomination form to contest various offices at the congresses approached court to nullify IleriOluwa’s APC congresses and recognise them as the real party executives.
The congress was supposed to be another opportunity to reconcile the aggrieved members of the APC.
State, National Assembly Primaries
Another missed opportunity for reconciliation was the recent controversial State and National Assembly primaries of the APC in the state.
All the State and National lawmakers who were perceived to be loyal to Aregbesola were not returned, just as the Governor and party Chairman manipulated the primaries against all the aspirants who are from TOP extraction of the party.
The primary also divided the IleriOluwa faction of the party and political actors were aggrieved as their preferred aspirants were dropped in a glaring compromised primary election.
OSUN DEFENDER had in its June 03 edition asserted that Governor Oyetola would find it difficult to mobilise majority members of the APC to vote for him in the July 16, 2022 governorship election because of the fallout of the primary elections.
The APC members had expressed their dissatisfaction on the party’s primaries through several protests.
If Oyetola and Famodun had initiated reconciliation moves with TOP members by considering them for the state and national assembly tickets, the crisis would have been laid to rest.
TOP As Caucus Of Inconsequential APC Members
Another factor that culminated into Oyetola’s defeat in the election was the total rejection of members of The Osun Progressives (TOP) in the party.
Oyetola and his allies never considered the TOP members as members of the APC who should be persuaded.
The Director-General of Oyetola’s Campaign Council, Sen. Ajibola Basiru had on a private radio station described TOP members as ‘erunrun akara’, inconsequential members of the party.
Also, the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Remi Omowaiye, had always been bragging that Oyetola would win his re-election with or without Aregbesola and TOP.
OSUN DEFENDER noted that at every available opportunity, the IleriOluwa faction of the party had been attacking Aregbesola and TOP members.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is the patron of TOP, with people like the former Secretary to the State Government, Alh. Moshood Adeoti, former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam, former State Secretary of the APC, Hon. Rasaq Salinsile, former Vice Chairman of the APC in Osun, Alh. Azeez Adesiji, among others, as leaders.
The APC caucus is populated with former local government chairmen, national and state lawmakers, ex-party executives, aspirants and members of the party who felt cheated and betrayed by Oyetola across the state.
Barr. Kolapo Alimi, former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state was TOP Secretary before he defected to the PDP.
Some of the TOP members had over a year ago vowed that they would never support Oyetola’s re-election because of his political onslaught on Aregbesola, except they reconcile.
While the internal crisis lasted, Aregbesola’s loyalists, supporters and property suffered nothing less than 16 different attacks believed to have been sponsored by the governor’s loyalists.
Failure To Pay Salary Arrears To Civil Servants
Findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that majority of the civil servants and pensioners in the state voted massively for the Governor-elect, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, in the just concluded election.
The civil servants, who Oyetola and his strategists had relied on their votes, voted against the governor because of his failure to pay part of the arrears of modulated salary owed by the state government.
Oyetola had promised during his campaign in 2018 that he would offset, if not all, part of the salary arrears. But the governor has not fulfilled his promise as of the time of filing this report.
When it dawned on the governor that the workers were not for him, the state government hurriedly issued promotion letters to the civil servants, a move they described as a Greek gift.
Further findings also revealed that the workers voted against Oyetola to protest against Senator Iyiola Omisore, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2018 gubernatorial election.
According to the workers, they voted for Omisore in 2018 but he betrayed them by working with APC and Oyetola during the rerun of the governorship election.
OSUN DEFENDER also gathered that the workers were annoyed with their various union leaders who were dilly-dallying with Oyetola and remained silent on issues affecting them.
It was learnt that the labour leaders failed to give each of the workers a sum of N5,000 which they promised them for the endorsement of Governor Oyetola for second term.
Singer Portable Murdered Decency
The roadshow of the upcoming controversial hip-hop artiste, Habeeb Okikiola popularly known as Portable, to declare support for Governor Oyetola’s re-election last Thursday was also part of the reasons why some electorates voted against the APC.
According to residents of the state, Okikiola’s conduct during the roadshow was awful, stating that no decent person would associate himself/herself with the singer’s product.
The singer’s show where he stripped himself half naked, resulted into traffic on the Ogo-Oluwa-Olaiya-Oke-Fia axis of Osogbo, a situation that did not go down well with road users and traders in the areas.
The zazu crooner was accompanied by the Commissioner for Works and Transport, a key member of Oyetola’s cabinet, and some notorious thugs in Osogbo.
APC Lost Because Oyetola Refuses To Settle With Aregbesola – Obaditan
Commenting on the election, a political analyst, Barr. Yomi Obaditan, said: “APC lost because governor Oyetola refused to settle dispute with Aregbesola, he and his team distance themselves with some of us that were closer to Aregbesola.
“Most of the people that left APC for opposition parties were regarded inconsequential. When I mentioned it on radio that the division could lead to the APC given their meals to the beggers, they were too haughty to reason with us.
“So, it is a matter of self-inflicted wounds. Aregbesola fought PDP and won after three years and six months in court, while some of the bootlickers were nowhere to be found.
“Aregbesola built the party while the present leaders destroyed it because of their ego. They blindly condemned all the achievements of the man. Who is licking the wounds now? Aregbesola is an avatar that no individual can destroy.”