By Vincent Akindele
It has become imperatively pertinent to reflect on the gubernatorial election of Osun State which was held on Saturday, July 16, 2022. Mr. Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). He polled 403,372 votes to defeat Mr Ggboyega Oyetola of All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 374,921 votes. The reflection will help everyone to learn his lesson. It should be noted that the outcome was not unexpected. Not even to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu or the APC who lost to the PDP. His political life has often reflected that no situation gets at him unawares. BAT was once quoted as saying: “Politics is a game of numbers and is all about winning and losing. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. When you win, you celebrate and consolidate. When you lose you re-strategise.” This should be the attitude of every professional and mature politician. Even the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo said: the greatest thing is not in never falling; but to rise each time one falls.” This mindset makes Tinubu THICK politically. He thinks ahead and prepares for whatever comes, though he often plans for outstanding and astounding successes.
There were some factors responsible for the defeat of the incumbent Governor Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola. Let us have a few of them: One, the unsettled crisis within the APC was predominantly responsible for the defeat. A popular adage says, “united we stand, divided we fall.” So their inability to put their house in order led to the fall. The outcome of the election has revalidated the popular maxim.
Two, the inherited failure of the ex-governor Rauf Aregbesola was a factor. Aregbesola callously owed workers’ salaries. Though Oyetola was credited for not owing salaries, he did not settle the backlog of salaries owed by his predecessor. Whether it was a deliberate attempt to indict the self-styled Ogbeni Omoluabi or not, the repercussion spelt doom for the party as it was counted against the APC and its candidates. Workers patiently waited for the election to retaliate by voting against them to teach them a lesson.
Three, the benevolent disposition of the Adeleke family and financial muscle combined with the PDP’s collaboratively worked for Ademola Adeleke and the PDP. The family has been generous with their money to Ede, their country home; and the people of Osun State. From their father (a former Senator in the second Republic), to their brother Isiaka Adeleke (a former governor and senator) they have consciously been bringing development to Ede. Dr Adedeji Adeleke is the Proprietor of the Adeleke University, Ede a first class private university in Nigeria. The intentional location of the university in Ede has brought fame and fortune to the ancient city in particular and Osun State in general.
Four, the religious sentiments over the APC Presidential Muslim-Muslim Ticket could also be a factor that worked in favour of Ademola Adeleke who is seen as more of a Christian than a Muslim. It should be recalled that the election was held barely four days after the announcement of the controversial presidential ticket. He is known as Jackson in the United States of America and Nurudeen in Ede. He sings and dances in gusto and much delight to Christian music and most of his dances are done in the Church. Christians might have voted for him against the incumbent governor to prove a point.
Five, the human nature and desire for change. Some of the voters might just think that there should be a change of people and party that lead in the state. People always desire a change for no reason other than the ‘you have ‘eaten’ enough let others ‘come and chop’ mentality in the Nigerian society.
Six, the usual envious hatred for the ruling party. Experience from the First Republic till date in Nigeria, the ruling party has been dubbed as bad, corrupt, inept and heartless by the opposition party and their supporters. The outcries against the ruling National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) in the first Republic led the first military coup in Nigeria. Also, allegation of corrupt practices against the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was the reason given for the military take-over by Major Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (Rtd.) that truncated the Second Republic. On the same note, in this dispensation, we were made to believe that the PDP’s ruling government was the worst in terms of corruption. Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was portrayed as clueless by the main opposition party then, the APC. It has been discovered that the accusations and allegations are often borne out of envy of not being the people in government. Therefore, during elections masses are always incited to vote against the ruling party.
Observers have described the Osun election as the microcosm of the 2023 general elections and also a litmus test for what the 2023 general elections will look like. It has shown clearly that it is going to be a battle between the APC and the PDP as other political parties were considered inconsequential as they recorded negligible votes. Before the election, it was generally assumed that the popular Obidient revolution would pull crowds. Alas! The Labour Party managed to garner about 2000 votes. One may ask, are there not Obidient youths in Osun State? The Peter Obi Revolution has not started in Osun. May be it will be in 2023? One could not place the joy of most of the supporters of Peter Obi as they gloated over the APC’s fall and celebrated the PDP’s victory. Is LP an ally of the PDP? The 2023 general elections will unravel this.