THE National Assembly election is scheduled to hold next Saturday, February 25. In the State of Osun, a total of 12 national assembly seats of three Senatorial Districts and nine Federal Constituencies are being contested. The contest is largely between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
Currently, APC has two Senators (Osun Central and Osun West) while PDP has just one, Senator Francis Fadahunsi from Osun East. The APC also has six House of Representatives members while PDP has three (Ife Federal Constituency, Ede/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency and Ijesa South Federal Constituency).
However, there are possibilities that the PDP might have more seats at the national assembly going by the result of the July 16, 2022 governorship election and the lingering controversies surrounding the selection of candidates of the APC.
OSUN DEFENDER noted that of the three senatorial district, Osun Central appeared to be a hopeful ground for the APC. Though the party won just two local governments of Ifedayo and Boripe, Senator Ajibola Basiru has put up a spirited effort to ensure that he returns to the red chamber for second term.
Basiru, the Spokesperson of the Senate, hails from Osogbo which has the highest number of voters in the state. He defeated the PDP candidate in the 2019 general election, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa with 26,042 vote margin. Basiru polled 132,821 (54.33%) votes while Olaoluwa got 106,779 (43.67%) votes. Olaoluwa is also an indigene of Osogbo, Olorunda local government.
The PDP candidate for the forthcoming election, Olubiyi Fadeyi is from Ila, Ila local government. In 2019, APC had 11,197 votes against PDP’s 8,766 votes.
According to political analysts, APC might not have a smooth running in the senatorial district, but the party may manage to win eventually if its candidate, Basiru, continues to work on the factors responsible for the poor show of the party in the 2022 governorship election.
However, OSUN DEFENDER noted that Osogbo might not produce the same amount of votes given to Basiru in 2019 in the forthcoming election. The two local governments in Osogbo (Osogbo and Olorunda) produced 50,680 votes for Basiru in 2019. The votes, according to political analysts might reduced for some reasons, among which is the ‘palace’s opposition’ to his return.
The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji, has openly canvassed votes for the PDP senatorial candidate, Fadeyi, declaring that ‘Ajagunla is coming to reward me and Osogboland’. Oba Olanipekun had before the 2022 governorship election been supporting the PDP.
Findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that some prominent indigenes of Osogbo are making frantic effort to ‘humble Basiru’ at the poll. Some other indigenes of Osogbo were also reportedly angry with Basiru for allegedly supporting former governor Adegboyega Oyetola on the positioning of Airforce base to Iragbiji instead of Osogbo.
Besides, some members of the APC who have axe to grind with Basiru since he was the man of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola when the latter was the governor of the state, were also working against the senator’s return to the senate.
However, Basiru’s electoral fortune might increase in Olorunda local government in the coming election. Findings by this medium revealed that the PDP does not have a strong campaign presence in the local government for the senatorial election. According to some members of the party, the 2019 Osun central senatorial candidate of the party, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa, was not committed to the party’s campaign. It was learnt that Olaoluwa was still holding grudge against the PDP leadership for allegedly manipulating the senatorial primary to favour Fadeyi.
The medium also noted that Basiru has closed ranks with some members of defunct The Osun Progressives and other aggrieved members of the party in both Osogbo and Olorunda local government, a development that may increase his winning chance.
It would be recalled that APC lost both Osogbo and Olorunda local governments to the PDP in the July 16, 2022 governorship election.
APC, according to findings, was facing serious challenge in mobilizing majority of voters to vote for its candidates in Irepodun and Orolu local governments. Though the House of Representatives candidate of the APC for Osogbo/Olorunda/Irepodun/Orolu, Mrs Abosede Ogo-Oluwakiitan is from Ifon, PDP was posing serious threat to the electoral fortune of the party. PDP won the local governments in the 2022 governorship election in spite of having a prominent Ilobu indigene, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuf, in the race. Yusuf has decamped to the PDP and indicated that the chances of PDP have been brightened. Also, a former commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Kolapo Alimi, has been mobilizing massively for the PDP. The medium noted that Hon. Bukola Oyewo, the current federal lawmaker from the constituency, has not been active in the campaign programmes the APC’s candidates.
OSUN DEFENDER also noted that APC may lose Ifelodun local government in Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency. The party, as of the time of filing this report, lacked leadership and coordination and direction. In the July 16, 2022 governorship election, PDP defeated APC with 1039 votes. The medium noted that the House of Representatives candidate of the party in the federal constituency, Chief Moshood Oluawo, has been meeting and pleading with aggrieved members of the party. However, some of the APC members who are loyal to the current lawmaker representing the federal constituency at the green chamber, Hon Rasheed Afolabi, were still holding grudge against the party for allegedly robbing him of his second term ticket. A strong factor that might likely work against the APC in the local government is the alleged imposition of a new Akinrun of Ikirun on the town. Majority of Ikirun elite and other indigenes have not forgiven former governor Adegboyega Oyetola for allegedly imposing Oba Olalekan Akadiri on them. A sizeable number of Ikirun indigenes believes that the APC House of Reps candidate, Oluawo, was responsible for the manipulation of the selection process that produced Akadiri.
In Odo-Otin local government, it was observed that some members of the party are already working with the PDP. The aggrieved members of the party, it was gathered, were protesting their alleged marginalisation and victimisation by some APC stalwarts during the Oyetola’s administration. However, the APC Senatorial candidate, Basiru, has a brighter chance at Oyan, Asi, Asaba, Faji and Ila Odo. Some electorates who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER said Basiru was the only candidate that made himself available to them. They complained that the PDP candidate, Fadeyi, was not accessible. Okuku and Inisa was still daisy for both party as of the time of filing this report.
APC will win Boripe local government massively. Both the APC and PDP did not have any candidate from the local government. However, the sentiment of Iragbiji being the ancestral home of the Presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has swayed electorate in the town to voting the APC in the presidential election. This will no doubt affect the senatorial election result positively.
Boluwaduro local government may be won by the PDP. Members of the APC in the local government are aggrieved, it was observed. Aside being a stronghold of the PDP, the local government was allegedly robbed of House of Reps ticket by the APC, a development that dampen the morale of the party members.
Ila local government will be won by the PDP. The senatorial and House of Reps candidates of the PDP are from Ila, the hometown of former National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande. PDP won the local government in the 2022 governorship election with 13,036 votes against APC’s 11,163 votes. Besides, some APC leaders in the town have reportedly embarked on “siddon look” after the House of Reps primary which was allegedly manipulated in favour of the current candidate of the party, Dr Adebisi Obawale.
Ifedayo local government is a battle ground for both APC and PDP. Though APC won Ifedayo with 286 votes in the last governorship election, PDP has aggressively been mobilizing electorate to vote for its candidates in the forthcoming election.
However, a former Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Hon. Lekan Badmus expressed optimism that Basiru, the APC’s senatorial candidate will win the election.
Badmus hinted that Basiru and his campaign team have been working assiduously on identified lacunas that may cost him victory in the election.
The turnout of votes in Osogbo and Ila is a deciding factor for the senatorial election.