Saturday’s House of Assembly election in Osun State will surely be a battle between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). However, AYOBAMI AGBOOLA reports that no side is ready to drop the ball as both express confidence of taking victory in the poll
Contrary to the belief and expectations of many Nigerians, especially residents of Osun State that the just concluded February 25 presidential election might not be peaceful, the election has come and gone and peacefully too. Though, there were reports of skirmishes in parts of the country during the polls. Since it is generally believed that there cannot be 100 percent perfection in the conduct of any election, even in advanced democracies, the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election can therefore be adjudged to be seemingly credible among the polls which had been conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since 1999.
Second phase of election
The first phase of Nigeria’s 2023 General Election saw Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President-Elect and many former federal lawmakers and some new ones elected. The second phase of the election will now be held on Saturday, March 11. On that day, some governors will be reelected and new ones will also be elected for 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states, while some old lawmakers and new ones will also be elected for the Houses of Assembly in the 36 states. However, governorship election will not hold this time in Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun and Ondo states, as polls to the offices of governors of those states are held off-cycle and not part of the general election.
Like in other 36 states of the federation, Osun State actively participated in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections after security agencies allayed the fears of the electorate that there was going to be adequate security before, during and after the polls.
The outcome of the July 16, 2022 gubernatorial election in Osun State were Governor Ademola Adeleke emerged winner had effects on the outcome of the February 25 polls and this as matter of fact was just like a talking drum. The failure of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), in Osun State to secure the governorship seat which was conceded to the PDP Ademola Adeleke during the last gubernatorial election had adverse effects on the performances of the APC in the just concluded February 25 presidential and National Assembly election. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had during the polls cleared all the three Senatorial and nine House of Representatives seats in the state which have boosted the morale of the party ahead Saturday’s poll.
In Osun Central, Fadeyi Olubiyi of the PDP won with 134,229 to defeat the Senate spokesperson of the APC, Senator Ajibola Basiru who scored 117,609 votes. In Osun West, Oyewumi Olalere of the PDP won with 138,476 to defeat Amidu Tadese of the APC who scored 104,459 votes. Senator Francis Fadahunsi was reelected in Osun East with a total vote of 127,877 to defeat Francis Famurewa of the APC who polled 95,670. For the fifth time, Oluwole Oke emerged to represent Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency with 31,907 votes to defeat APC candidate who polled 18,412. Others are Boluwaduro/ Ifedayo/Ila, APC -16725, PDP – 26242; Akanni Ademola of the PDP won. In Odo-Otin/Ifelodun/Boripe, Adetunji Olusoji of PDP won, APC – 35,911, PDP – 41,389. In Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency, Oladebo Omoleye of PDP won, PDP – 39,124, APC – 37,832. In Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/ Ejigbo, Bamidele Salam of PDP was reelected, APC – 35,444, PDP – 64,236. In Atakumosa East/Atakumosa West/Ilesa East/Ilesa West, Omirin Olusanya of PDP won, APC 25,859, PDP 41,437. In Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa, Mudashiru Alani of PDP won, APC 31,255, PDP 35,678 In Ife Central/Ife North/Ife South/ Ife East, Ajilesoro Taofeek of PDP was reelected, APC 51,051, PDP 53,078. In Irepodun/Olorunda/Osogbo/ Orolu, Adewale Adebayo of the PDP won, APC 58,992, PDP – 71677.
Battle for the soul of state assembly
As the incumbent governor, Ademola Adeleke and former governor, Adegboyega Oyetola are still contesting the true winner of the July 16 governorship election which is presently pending in court, the two old political foes are deploying every strategy to win the majority of seats in the state assembly.
Although the Osun governorship mandate is still hanging in the balance, but whichever way, Osun assembly majority will go a long way in determining the political stability of the state. APC has majority in the sixth assembly, but with the emergence of Adeleke of PDP, the incumbent wants to ensure that his party wins the majority seats, while Oyetola is all out to secure the majority because if the court restores him as the governor, he would meet an assembly where his party dominates. Similarly, the incumbent speaker, Timothy Owoeye who is of APC fold wants to return to the house and retain his speakership which can’t be done without majority in the house. In the Sixth Assembly, out of the 26 House of Assembly seats, PDP is currently occupying three seats namely Ede-South, Ede North and Obokun State Constituencies, while the remaining 23 belong to the opposition APC.
Adeleke canvases votes, brags of victory
Governor Ademola Adeleke, has called on the people of the state to vote for the PDP in the March 11, State Assembly elections. While thanking the residents for their full support on July 16, 2022 and on February 25, Governor Adeleke who spoke in the Yoruba language while addressing the people of the state, called on them to endorse the PDP again next Saturday to enable him continue delivery of dividends of democracy. “My good people of Osun State, I address you today to express my heartfelt appreciation for your love and backing for me all the time.
You voted for me massively last year. I am ever grateful. You voted for my party massively in federal elections. I am thankful. “For me to continue to serve you well, I request that you vote for the 26 House of Assembly candidates of the PDP.
They are the team I will work with. They are very important for the implementation of the Imole agenda. A PDP fully controlled State Assembly is the key to more dividends of democracy. “Next Saturday’s election is very critical for Osun State. A vote for those Assembly candidates is a vote for me. I need them to serve you better and to complete the work we have started. Another victory for me and my party, the PDP, it will speed up the progress already recorded and drive our state to greater heights. “I however appeal for a violence-free election, election is not about killing and maiming. It is about the exercise of electoral choice. Mobilise peacefully and cast your votes for PDP candidates,” the governor said in the address.
APC tells members to troop out
In the way, the Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has tasked its members and supporters to remain resolute and refuse to be cowed by the propaganda machinery and copious threats of violence by the state chapter of the PDP which it said is working in cohorts with the governor. The Acting State Chairman of APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi in Osogbo, stated that the series of falsehoods against the APC being churned out by the leadership of the state PDP is an indication that they are pungently worried and rattled. Lawal said that the story credited to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, lampooning the Osun APC leaders over the results of the last ‘charade’, tagged elections, was a mere fabrication from the rumour mills of the PDP and a figment of the imagination of those spreading the mere composition scripted to confuse the people. He told the PDP propagandists that the President-elect as a seasoned politician with candour is not, at all times, given to frivolity to the extent of dragging his party in the mud as it’s the usual practice in the PDP. Lawal stated that the inexperienced and satellite Governor Adeleke has wittingly thrown a stone at the colony of bees and it’s a must for him to expect ceaseless stinging by the displaced bees in the political affairs of the state.
The Osun State Acting Chairman of the APC warned the sit-tight state caretaker chairman of the PDP, Dr Akindele Adekunle, and his co-travellers to desist from using falsehoods to drive his political campaign of calumny against the APC as such could not change the status of Ademola as a sacked governor. Lawal told Adekunle to stop having the exaggerated notion of the popularity of the embattled Governor Adeleke as no responsible party would have anything worthy of attraction with a baggage full of unenviable notorious credentials of the embattled Governor Adeleke. He explained that no one in the APC is contesting the leadership of the PDP in the state with the obviously challenged interim Governor Adeleke as it is oneeyed man who is usually made the king in the town of the blind.
Gladiators doubt repeat of February 25 election
Political gladiators have come with diversified opinions as to what is likely to happen in Saturday’s election in Osun State. While some are of the opinion that the ruling PDP will again triumph as it did in the last election, many are of the contrary opinion that the poll may not go the way it was due to what they termed as the outcome of the presidential results. Speaking, the spokesperson to the immediate past Governor Gboyega Oyetola, Mr Ismail Omipidan said there would be landslide victory for the opposition APC. Omipidan while featuring on a private radio program in the state, monitored by our Correspondent in Osogbo, said PDP should not expect what played out in the last Presidential and National Assembly election. He noted that with the emergence of President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would boost the morale of the party faithful in the state. He further explained that in a bid to provide adequate security for their members and other electorates in the state, the leadership of the party has contacted security agencies to adequately beef up security. “I can tell you categorically that APC will triumph come Saturday March 11 by the grace of God. The outcome of the presidential election and the emergence of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will in no small measure boost the morale of the party members.” Echoing similar views, APC spokesperson, Kola Olabisi expressed optimism that the party candidates will emerge victorious come Saturday March 11 Olabisi who urged Osun APC members to double efforts ahead of March 11 elections asked them to canvass for votes from all eligible voters in the state to guarantee the success of the party in the March 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections. “We must not relent because of the success recorded in previous elections at the federal level, we must redouble our efforts to consolidate on the success. We must continue to canvass and campaign for our party and all our candidates. We must all come out and vote next Saturday. “I want to call on all APC stakeholders, elders, women and youth groups to continue the campaign to ensure the victory of the party.”
APC and its chances
Despite not being in the mantle of power, as a strong opposition party, the APC still have some local government areas with numbers of viable supporters and those local government areas according to findings that may be very difficult for the ruling PDP to win in the coming state assembly election. Among the identified strongholds of the APC are; Boripe/Boluwaduro Constituency (Where the immediate past Governor, Gboyega Oyetola hails from. Ejigbo State assembly, where former Speaker Najeem Salam, Hon Mudasiru Hussain, Osun State Federal Commissioner of National Population Census (NPC) hail from. Iwo state Constituency, Osogbo/Olorunda State Constituency, Ife Central (Iyiola Omisore, APC national Secretary) Ayedade State Constituency, Irowole/Isokan state constancy, Ilesa East State Constituency (incumbent speaker of the house, Rt Hon Timothy Owoeye) among others hail from.
Oyetola also canvases votes
The immediate past governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola, has reiterated his confidence in God that his mandate is very much intact and will be reclaimed soon. Oyetola who expressed his strong belief in the efficacy of prayers said he has no doubt whatsoever in his mind to return to power soon, saying his God has never failed him.
Oyetola made the statement on Monday while giving his short remarks during the 12th year remembrance prayers for his late mother, Alhaja Wulemot Oyetola, held at the deceased’s residence in Iragbiji. The erstwhile governor who described fervent prayers as his guiding principle said his God has been faithful to him, hence, the successes recorded so far.
Oyetola commended the people of the state for their unflinching support and for coming out en masse to elect the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu last Saturday. He assured the people of the state of unprecedented development from the progressive government, adding that the Presidentelect would consolidate on the gains of the progressive government and initiate more unprecedented developmental programmes across the nooks and crannies of the country.
Oyetola assured of topmost security before, during and after the forthcoming House of Assembly election. He urged the people of the state not to be intimidated, but rather to vote massively on Saturday for the candidates of the APC, saying this would go a long way to make things easy for his administration when he returns to power soon. “I am thankful to God for His wonders over our lives.
We thank Him for giving us victory for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and I thank our people for their support all along. “This yearly remembrance is for us to thank God and beseech Him for forgiveness over my late mother. We want you to continue to pray for us to reclaim our mandate soon. We want our people to win in the next House of Assembly election so that no opposition will be allowed. “We want you to know that APC is the only party that can take us to victory. This is the party that God has made for us. That is where benefits lie. Please, vote APC all through.
If we truly want to benefit from the federal government, please, let’s elect our people to House of Assembly. These are the people that will work with us when we return to government. “We don’t believe in any other thing except prayers. That is what we were brought up with. Let’s continue to pray so that we can thank God in the end.”