By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Senator Iyiola Omisore has suddenly become the beautiful bride of Osun politics and no surprise that even those who few weeks ago hurled insults on him are now beseeching his assistance ahead of tomorrow’s crucial election rerun in selected voting points in the state.
Omisore’s emergence as the man to covet followed his strong showing, albeit, in the third position in last Saturday’s governorship election. He has now been put out of reckoning as the winner of the election, but not removed as a major influencer on how the pendulum swings.
At the end of the counting of the votes last Sunday, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP candidate emerged with 254,698 votes while his closest rival, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was accredited with 254,345 votes and Omisore of the SDP was credited with 128,049 votes to take the third position.
READ ALSO: APC expels Dep. Chief Whip
The re-run was declared by the electoral body upon the fact that the 353-votes difference between Adeleke and Oyetola was less than the 3,498 cancelled votes.
The re-run is to be conducted in Orolu LGA (three units, 947 votes), Ife South (two units, 1,314 votes), Ife North (one unit, 353 votes), and Osogbo (one unit, 884 votes).
Almost half of the votes are to be contested in the Ife region where Omisore is believed to be strong and his father reigns as monarch.
However, APC enthusiasts who were initially claiming that Omisore may not be significant in the poll upon the fact that the results in the two Ife constituencies in dispute were shared by all three have now come to the point of pandering to Omisore.
On Monday as preparations for the rerun got underway, it emerged that officials of the APC had made solicitations to Omisore, a man that the party and its acolytes had over the years impugned with damaging allegations.
Following the visit, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who was chairman of the APC Osun State Governorship Election Committee came visting on Omisore in Ife where he also solicited the cooperation of Omisore in helping the PDP win the rerun in the areas around Ife.
Omisore had until now not been on the same page with the two combatants in the rerun election.
Since 2002 when he fell out with Governor Bisi Akande under whom he served as deputy governor, having earlier conceded the governorship to him, Omisore has been held in contempt by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu led tendency in the Southwest.
The unresolved murder of Chief Bola Ige for which Omisore was locked up in prison has also continued to be a sore matter for Omisore who was exonerated from culpability in the murder.
Driven to the right, Omisore flocked with the PDP and was a major figure in the party until about two years ago when he fell out with the mainstream of the party in his state. His situation was compounded after Senator Ademola Adeleke came into the party. Though Omisore joined forces with other PDP partisans to help Adeleke win in the bye-election that brought Ademola to replace his deceased brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke as senator, he and his supporters believe that he received the short-end of the stick thereafter after the national headquarters of the party helped to place the Soji Adagbunodo led state executive.
Omisore was then forced to move out and make his aspiration on the SDP which before him did not exist in the state.
Besides Omisore, another person to be coveted by the two parties and especially by the APC is the deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun in whose constituency, his party, APC lost to the PDP.
It is no secret that Lasun was displeased with the way that the APC candidate Gbenga Oyetola was made the candidate. He apparently did not help the party to mobilize for votes and no surprise that the PDP won his Orolu Local Government Area by 7,776 votes compared to the APC which won 5,442 votes and the SDP which got 2,043 votes. That is despite the fact that the area is represented by Lasun, an APC stalwart.
Vanguard gathered that Governor Rauf Aregbesola had following the election stood his ground not to appease Lasun, but it is understood that some other party stakeholders had committed themselves to do so in order to avoid the party’s defeat in the forthcoming polls.
947 votes are to be contested in the rerun in the area.