By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- Following the impasse occasioned by Saturday’s inconclusive gubernatorial election in Osun state, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has taken some smart steps to have the front runner and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ademola Adeleke emerge winner of the electoral contest.
On Saturday, Adeleke polled a total of 254, 698 votes to beat his closest rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Gboyega Oyetola who garnered 254, 345 votes to place second on the log.
However, the slim margin was not enough to declare the lawmaker, famed for his dance steps, outright winner of the keenly contested election, forcing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare same inconclusive.
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However, Saraki who was last month named chairman of the PDP Osun State Gubernatorial Campaign Council on Monday reached out to his friend cum political associate and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Senator Iyiola Omisore in a bid to have the former deputy governor of Osun state, work with the party in Thursday’s rescheduled poll in five polling units that would ultimately decide the winner.
Omisore who churned out an impressive 128,049 votes to place third is seen as the ultimate decider of the fate of the gladiators and given his frosty relationship with the APC, particularly the outgoing governor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola, the PDP has moved quickly to gain an inch advantage ahead of Thursday’s exercise.
Also working behind the scene to have PDP reclaim the state is a former Minister of Aviation and a well-known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode who is an indigene of the state.
Saraki left the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Monday after a telephone conversation with Omisore and shortly after he was put to the test by the Presidential Screening Committee.
An aide of the Senate President who confided in this medium said his principal has what it takes to deliver Osun to PDP from the grip of the ruling party.
Recalling the role Saraki played in bringing together Adeleke and his then rival for the PDP gubernatorial ticket, Akin Ogunbiyi; the aide said APC should rather accept its fate, having “Just lost a state in the South-West.”
“The leadership of the party should commend the selfless service of this man who has put his campaign on hold to fight for the common good in Osun. What he succeeded in doing a few weeks ago, brokering peace between Adeleke and Ogunbiyi has shown that he is not a leader who talks only. He does what he says he would do,” he said.
According to him, Omisore’s stronghold on three polling units in Ife South (2) and Ife North (1) with a combined voting strength of 1,667 where elections would hold on Thursday, “may decide the winner,” adding that the PDP has done well to make “a smart move.”
“The PDP is close to victory but this is the time for more work. Now that they have deployed a leader whose capacity for electoral victories is second to none, it is the hope of everyone that victory will be delivered. The areas in contention are places we can harvest votes provided we put our house in order. That’s all I can say for now,” he added.
The party on Sunday vowed to resist any attempt to deny it of the mandate “freely given” to it by the Osun electorate, adding that it was prepared to go the whole hog, including heading to court, to have Adeleke announced the winner.