By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The first to emerge was Senator Iyiola Omisore who emerged as the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, last Thursday. He was followed the next day by Otunba Gboyega Oyetola who emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the next day, by Senator Ademola Adeleke who emerged as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Besides the trio, smaller parties have also produced their candidates. One of the more prominent is Barrister Femi Kehinde who is flying the ticket of the All Grassroots Alliance, AGA.
The contest, however, will not be defined by any ideological pattern given the fact that all three persons who emerged as the candidates of the three dominant parties have deep pockets and are inclined to the right.
In the absence of an ideology conflict, the contest will largely be defined by local issues and to some extent, national issues as they pertain to the state.
The two dominant issues likely to affect the political campaign in the state are zoning and the performance of the outgoing governor of the state.
The emergence of Oyetola as the candidate of the APC which is the ruling party in the state has helped to galvanise popular agitation in the state. Oyetola who is the chief of staff to the outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has been dubbed in several quarters as the candidate of the governor, a fact that that has seemingly been buttressed by the way and manner the party establishment in the state and at the national level rallied towards him.
However, the last minute withdrawal from the contest by the Secretary to the State Government, Moshood Adeoti, the Chairman of Local Government Service Commission, Peter Babalola, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, would indicate that the governor may not have been committed to Oyetola’s aspiration.
However, the fact that Oyetola is from the Central Senatorial District has rubbed negatively with several persons from the West Senatorial District which is yet to produce a governor since the onset of the Fourth Republic. That is against the fact that Central has produced two former governors in the persons of Chief Bisi Akande and Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
It was no surprise that political chieftains from the West Senatorial District were at the head of the protest against the candidacy of Oyetola.
Whether the people of the Central Senatorial District will bow to party supremacy and kowtow to the Oyetola aspiration is bound to be a defining issue in the campaigns ahead.
The performance of the outgoing governor is going to be a major issue for many voters during the campaign. While the governor will be hailed for the turnaround in infrastructure and landscape in some parts of the Central Senatorial District, many other parts of the state will be reflecting on the fact that they could have been better.
It is not as if there was no effort towards turning around the landscape of the other senatorial districts. The administration’s efforts landed the state into a major debt overhang that led to the embarrassing situation where the state owed workers arrears of salary running into more than one year.
Though most of the arrears have been cleared, albeit, through some financial re-engineering that led to workers receiving fractions of their salaries, half salary is bound to be an issue for many workers and their dependents in the civil service-dominated economy.