By Miftaudeen Raji 

Breaking the norm, Ademola Adeleke from the Osun West Senatorial District, precisely Ede, emerged as the governor-elect of the state after decades of marginalisation – the baton of governorship has often been exchanged between two main senatorial districts; Osun Central and Osun East.

With 375, 027 votes, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC suffered a defeat from the candidate of the main opposition’s People’s Democratic Party,  PDP, Ademola Adeleke, who polled 403, 371 votes.

The reigning governor failed to win the popular vote. It’s a monumental blow for the ruling APC and its candidate, but where did it all go wrong for Oyetola?

In many ways, Oyetola prepared the stage for his own loss. He made some critical mistakes that pitched the people, supporters, and particularly his predecessor, former Governor Rauf Aregbesola against him, and led them to align with the mission of the opposition. Here’s where it all went wrong:

Unresolved acrimony with Aregbesola

The downfall of Oyetola was extremely due to the unending hostility between him and his former boss. Oyetola was Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff. 

The basis of their crisis was over Aregbesola’s preferred candidate, Moshood Adeoti, who is a former Secretary to the State Government.

Aregbesola, who was not pleased with the candidacy of Oyetola is said to have been forced to work for Oyetola, who has the full support of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in 2018.

Against this background, Aregbesola has been intensely embittered. The minister of interior and his larger supporters secretly and openly campaigned against Oyetola’s reelection.

Recall that The Osun Progressives(TOP), a group loyal to the Minister of Interior waged intense war against Oyetola.

They had backed a former secretary to the state government, Moshood Adeoti, to win the APC governorship ticket during the primaries against Mr Oyetola. Adeoti lost the primaries to Mr Oyetola and went to court to challenge the outcome, the legal battle was a huge distraction for the governor.

The peak of the turbulence that marred Oyetola’s chances at the election was that Aregbesola, who is largely seen as the captain of the Osun APC machinery was out of Nigeria during the election for a national assignment. However, while still out of the country, Aregbesola’s bloc (members of TOP) gave a dying minutes announcement to back Oyetola; in fact, Arebgesola to an extent delivered his polling unit to APC but things were looking too bad on the OSun election field for the incumbent governor to be salavaged.

Apart from the fact that Aregbesola’s structure was not well assimilated by Oyetola; the governor’s own structure was also said to be underfunded and this weakened the planning and organisation for the election.

BIVAS & anger of alleged stolen mandate

Results of the Osun 2022 state governorship election suggested that the people of Osun state have spoken so loudly – that votes really count and Adeleke is preferred by the people, regardless of his danceable and ‘unserious’ character.

Vast majority of the Osun people still harbour the pain of the 2018 Osun governorship election – many still believe Adeleke was robbed of his mandate during the last election in the state. 

With the adoption of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS), the Osun voters expressed their anger in an atmosphere of a free and fair election. BIVAS, an electronic device designed to read permanent voter cards (PVCs) and authenticate voters stripped the incumbent of powers to infiltrate the electoral process – as signed results sheets are captured and also uploaded to the INEC servers immediately.

Recall the 2018 Osun governorship election was declared inconclusive. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in 2018 called for a rerun election in seven local governments, which eventually saw Oyetola won the keenly-contested election with tiny margin.

This year’s election was simply seen by the people as a payback time for Oyetola. 

This was further worsened by the APC government at the center, which has unable to meet the expectations of the people after coming into power in 2015.

Local politics

In a Muslim predominantly dominated state, Oyetola did not appeal well enough to the psyche of the mass majority of the people of Osun, speaking the language they best understand. The people complain profusely about hunger.

While his opponent is largely popular for philanthropic activities, Oyetola is considered as stingy and not popular. He is also perceived as not catering for enough for welfare and sharing of palliatives to cut down on the hardship of poverty.

For example, during the tenure of his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola used to share rams to Muslim clerics for Sallah celebration. Aregbesola has a mechanism of nurturing his broad support base.

This is part what Oyetola failed to properly manage. He was perceived as too elitist, refusing to identify with Islamic clerics, which consequently earned him a harsh animosity from the people.

The rebellion of Osun workers

The civil servants and workers in Osun State directly or indirectly worked against the reelection bid of Oyetola. 

Prior to the election, there had been an outcry over the welfare of retired civil servants and workers of the State and the payment of their entitlements.

Despite releasing a sum of N1 billion for the payment of pension to retirees in the state and facilitating the promotion,  the Osun civil servants were still not satisfied with Oyetola.

Also, settlement of retired Primary School teachers and Local Government workers, as well as payment of contributory pensions of retired officers of the civil service and parastatals were some of the inherited issues that Oyetola faced.

Portable-Davido saga

The choice of Portable for the campaign is considered another low for Oyetola.

Portable, an ill-mannered artiste stained the political reputation of Oyetola. The ‘Zazu’ crooner for obvious reasons could not match up with the philanthropic and political value of Davido, who is much loved by his people at home, Ede. 

While Portable was constituting a nuisance with his outburst on social media, Davido had earlier hit the street embarking on outreach to canvass for votes for his uncle’s governorship bid.

Adeleke won on the strength of sympathy votes of the common people of Osun State.

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