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Osun 2022 Election And The Triumph Of Politics Over Good Governance

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Osun 2022 Election And The Triumph Of Politics Over Good Governance

The Insight by Lateef Adewole

Let me start by congratulating the newly elected governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, on his well-deserved victory in the last Saturday’s gubernatorial election. I have seen and watched some video clips of his reaction and those close to him, at the very moment when he was declared the winner by State’s INEC Returning Officer, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe. He stood up and prostrated for his elder brother, Dr. Deji Adeleke, the popular musician, Davido’s father. They were all sitting and watching the announcement on the television, including Davido and a sizeable crowd of supporters, who erupted in jubilation.

In another clip, he and Davido were seeing crying, out of being overwhelmed by victory. Those were tears of joy. They showed appreciation to some PDP leaders present, including the former senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governors Diri of Bayelsa and Obaseki of Edo states. Such reaction was understandable considering how weighty such a victory is. A sitting governor of the ruling party at the centre was just defeated in a clear win.

Also, the difficulties that they had to face to get to that stage. This was a battle that started in 2018, his first attempt, which was believed to have been won by him but was robbed. It made this victory so sweet, a vindication of him and an affirmation of what Osun people truly wanted since 2018. The “dancing senator” has now graduated to “dancing governor”. I wish him success when he takes over the mantle of leadership of the state in next few months. Same as his supporters and his party PDP.

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I said Osun people must have seriously wanted a change from APC. If not so, and only good governance and performance are criteria for which an election is won, then, there wasn’t a chance the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola should have lost that election. To outsiders, who are not politically invested in the state, the reasonable performance of the governor in the last four years was considered enough to earn him a second term, but this wasn’t so.

A postmortem of the election has revealed many factors that could have caused such a defeat for him. In them, one can only hope many lessons will be learnt by the APC party leadership and hierarchy in the state and Southwest region in particular, and the national, in general. A successful outing in Ekiti state some weeks ago by APC could have bred overconfidence. This could have made them take some things for granted. I will look into some of these factors.

One common opinion is Aregbesola factor. While it is unclear that the former governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, explicitly directed his supporters to vote for opposition party PDP, all the shenanigans that characterised the state APC and that administration in the last four years, and which preceeded the election in the last few months, pointed to a house divided against itself, which was about to collapse on its owners due to in-fighting.

Since the 2018, when the squabbles started as a result of disagreement on who was to succeed Aregbesola, who preferred Shehu Moshood Adeoti, his SSG, but his godfather preferred Oyetola who was his Chief of Staff. That was the beginning of the crisis. They went into that election under a suppressed acrimony and managed to escape defeat by the whimsical. Rather than put their house in order after, they tore it down the middle. Sadly so. The consequence of what they all have to live with for the next four years of PDP government before they will get another chance to compete for the trophy again.

A new government of Oyetola inherited a state in financial shambles. Many months of salaries were owed with the “invented” half salaries becoming a norm. Huge outstanding pensions and gratuities. Humongous debt profile that cleared out federal allocations some months with the state receiving zero amounts or so small. Uncompleted projects littered the state’s landscape. Workers were distraught. Many citizens were unhappy. The state was always in the news for the wrong reasons. And many more. These were responsible for the near loss by APC in 2018.

Governor Oyetola came, and within the shortest possible time, everything became calm. Some unpopular policies of Aregbe government, like the disorganisation of school systems, single uniform for all schools, reconfiguration of many schools that did not go down well with the citizens. Something like merging girls with boys in many boys-only schools and vice-versa. I know this because my own alma mater was affected. Many students, parents, teachers, old students of these schools were unhappy with the decisions. They appealed to the then governor but he was unyielding. All these were immediately reversed by Oyetola when he got to office. Everybody was happy.

Gradually, despite the difficult situation he found himself, he started reconciling all the people who had issues with Aregbe and many of them returned to the party. The salaries were being paid as and when due, surprisingly, in full. Outstanding salaries, pensions and gratuities were being cleared. He was paying back the debt as well, without borrowing a single kobo. All these he did silently without noise. At the same time, he was building infrastructures within available resources.

I saw a data I still found difficult to believe. There is the claim that he constructed about 500km of roads across the state, renovated 360 Primary Health Care (PHC) centres and 6 General Hospitals. Sincerely, if he hadn’t done all that, he had enough understandable reasons but he did not give excuses. He hit the ground running. He has been an adroit financial manager who saved Osun state from imminent collapse under financial burden and rescued it from the pit it has sunk. I have been so impressed and prayed he succeeds more and even wins another term to do better.

So, I took it for granted that the people of Osun state would reward him for a job well done but I thought wrong. That election was a case of when politics triumphs over good governance. Bad politics was played. The blame can go round. To be fair to Ogbeni Aregbesola, his proposal to pick his successor from Osun West, from where Adeoti hailed (Iwo), is based on fairness and equity. This must be what PDP cashed on in 2018 and 2022 by fielding Senator Ademola Adeleke, who is from Ede, in the senatorial zone.

The Osun Central from where Oyetola comes, has produced the two previous governors since 1999. Chief Bisi Akande (1999-2003) and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (2003 – 2010) were from there. That will be 15 years cumulatively. Aregbesola is from Osun East with 8 years. Only Osun West has not produced a governor of the state since 1999. Ademola’s senior brother, the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, from the zone, spent about 22 months between 1992 and 1993 as the first civilian governor of the state since created in 1991. But the powers-that-be thought otherwise. This could be one of the factors that affected the APC’s chance. Many left the party at the time.

Again, the post election success was not well-managed within the state and the region. As time went by, Aregbe seemed to be gradually ostracised, both from the state and his second power base in Lagos. As I write, contrary to what obtained in the past, he no longer wield the power he used to wield in Lagos, particularly in Alimosho, a constituency previously ceded to him. He must have had his own excesses but his importance was underrated.

As the Yorubas would say; “adétè ti ko le fun wara, le da wara nu” (a person with leprosy hands might not be capable of milking a cows, but capable of wasting it by pouring the milk away). He supported another aspirant, same Adeoti at the state’s APC primary election early this year, which was characterised by “roforofo” fights. His candidate lost to Oyetola. The winners were not magnanimous in victory. Rather, they felt he has finally been decimated, but they were wrong. There are some areas in Osun state who are his strongholds where PDP never won before, like Osogbo, Ila, Modakeke, and so on. APC lost in most of them. These are minus to them and plus to PDP. This should be a bitter lesson for APC.

Many citizens complained of hunger, joblessness, insecurities and other difficulties they are facing. Sadly, the whole country is experiencing them and not just Osun people. The thinking must have been that APC is in charge of the country and if the government at the centre is failing, the state should bear part of the consequences by voting against them. Sincerely, the abysmal performances of the present administration in the last seven years have put candidates of the party contesting for positions in 2023 in very tight and difficult positions. I wonder how they will campaign without shooting themselves in the feet. Things are very challenging to Nigerians before this year due to the administration’s mismanagement. Let no one blame Russia-Ukraine war of “yesterday”. The country is in a mess. And Oyetola has paid a big price for it despite doing his own best within his power at the state.

I watched a video clip of a programme where Aregbesola was the special guest. The songs rendered there depicted a group who were happy with the loss of another faction of their party and its candidate. If that was their intention, then, that’s unfortunate because they are all losers. When party members sabotage their own party in favour of opposition, they usually end up regretting their actions. If not, they should ask Dino Melaye and his co-travellers in nPDP of 2014/15.

As I reviewed the whole incident, it reminded me of the fate that befell many members of the ruling PDP in 2014 who, because of disagreement with their party, decided to tear the party apart. They created a faction called New PDP (nPDP), led by Kawu Baraje as its factional chairman. They were led away by the same Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Other bigwigs included five sitting governors of Kano, Adamawa, Sokoto, Rivers and Kwara states. Others were lawmakers at the national and state assemblies, led the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honorable Aminu Tambuwa.

While they helped APC to win the presidential election and in many states, the APC leadership could not trust them enough to put them in their office sharing calculations. It took another treacherous move by Senator Bukola Saraki, who aligned with the opposition senators from PDP in a coup-like election to snatch the senate presidency from APC which had other plans. He had to concede the deputy senate president position to the minority opposition party. Same with the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara. Hell was let loose.

Nigerians will not forget those four rancourous years of cat and mouse fights between the executive and legislative arms in a hurry. The senate president and his supporters were hounded all through. Senator Dino Melaye was the whipping boy. Atiku and other nPDP bigwigs were sidelined. They were eventually frustrated out and they went back to PDP, as we moved towards 2019 general elections. They knew better. Will a bitter rival party PDP, open their doors to Aregbesola and or his supporters and welcome them with open arms if truly they sabotaged their own party APC from winning? That won’t happen!

The election has come and gone, won and lost. Winner should be magnanimous in victory and loser gracious in defeat. However, to the governor-elect, as they say, you campaign in poetry but govern in prose. Becoming a state governor and running the state effectively is beyond dexterity in dancing. It is a serious work, for which we hope he is prepared. Osun people will not entertain any excuse. Like Yorubas will say: “papa ti a fi na iyale, o n be laja funyawo” (the punishment meted to the former can be visited on the latter). In no time, four years will be over and a re-election bid will likely be sought by the sitting governor by then. Let your performance speak for you.

“Eni a ro pe ko le p’ago, o se bi ere bi ere, o k’ole alaruru” (a rejected stone has now become the corner stone). Many might have written the dancing senator off, but he, his family and close associates didn’t. He has now become the governor, will he prove them wrong or not? To whom much is given, much is expected. Osun people have so much expectations from him. I only hope he won’t disappoint them. He wouldn’t fail them. The job is easy when you are not the person doing it. In few months, the bulk will stop at his table. What will he do with it? Time will tell.

Once again, I congratulate the governor-elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke, his party PDP, the party members, supporters and the people of Osun State, who spoke loud and clear with their PVCs. I pray that “igba yi a tu wa lara o”.

May God continue to protect us and guide us aright.

God Bless Nigeria.

You can follow me on:
Twitter: @lateef_adewole
Facebook: Lateef Adewole
Email: lateefadewole23@gmail.com
Whatsapp: +2348179512401

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