It is no longer news that the two major political parties in Osun State have conducted their primaries and candidates have emerged, what is new is the political turmoil and uncertainty which the parties, the gladiators and stakeholders have plunged the State.
Both the All Progressives Congress(APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are now more in disarray after their governorship primaries as it is evident that they will be facing each other for the contest in July this year as divided houses.
It was the APC that first held its primary though, without going parallel, what happened before and after the primary was an indication that all is not well within the party, despite the fact that only one candidate, the incumbent, Governor Gboyega Oyetola emerged, though with a land slide but in a controversial manner.
During the primary, the party had two hot contenders, Oyetola from a faction and Adeoti from other camp known as the Progressives Top headed by the Internal affairs Minister, and former governor of the State, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
With Oyetola’s emergence as the candidate of the APC, the Aregbesola’s group were mocked to the extent that Aregbesola himself was pronounced dead politically with mock coffins in Lagos, by the supporters of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu who was lambasted by Aregbesola for being the major person behind the rifts and commotion in Osun APC.
Oyetola is Tinubu’s nephew who wanted a second term and Tinubu had no choice than to back him, since he needs a trusted person that will deliver the state for him in his presidential bid. With the bad blood exhibited by the two former friends of Aregbesola and Tinubu, all the efforts geared towards bringing them together by notable traditional rulers in the South West, have proved abortive.
The implications of this, is that APC has fallen apart and if the rifts between Timubu and Aregbesola on one hand and Aregbesola and the Progressives Top, with Oyetola are not resolved, there is the likelihood of the other group, still very much aggrieved and feeling marginalized, to work against Oyetola’s victory and which sources say, they are seriously working on.
While the APC is battling to put its house in order, the division in the PDP is even more disastrous, than that of the APC. The APC after its primary produced only one candidate but the primaries of the PDP ended with two parallel governorship candidates. One of the candidates Demola Adeleke was produced by the Sunday Bisi led State executive, while the other, Dotun Babayemi came from the Wale Ojo led executive.
While Demola Adeleke had the backing of the National Executive of the party, which conducted its primary along with the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that of Dotun Babayemi was conducted by the officials of the their faction.
The irony of the whole situation was that out of the six members of the Board of Trustees of the Party in Osun State, five were at the primary that pick Babayemi. The five are the former governor of the State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, Senator Olu Alabi, former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Erelu Olusola Obada and one other. It was only Professor Waĺe Oladipo, who stood by the Adeleke’s group.
Although the victory of Adeleke has been confirmed by the National Executive of the party and certificate of return handed over to him, the situation on ground and fillers indicate that there is not yet an end to the crisis in PDP, as the group at the other end has vowed to continue the fight to a logical conclusion.
The impression they are given is that the whole matter may end up in court which would eventually determine who among Babayemi and Adeleke is eligible to fly the flag of the party at the July 2022 governorship race.
Perhaps one should look at how the PDP in Osun got to that stage.
Going back to the period when the Chairman of the party in the South West was picked, the division which led to the two candidates was created then.
The group that produced Babayemi is one that backed the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, to elect Taufeek Arapaja, while the group that produced Adeleke is the one that teamed up with the former Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose who backed Eddy Olafeso who lost to Arapaja.
In Ekiti state the Fayose group won the primary while the Makinde group in the state led by Senator Abiodun Olujimi lost. It was the same scenario in Osun, where their candidate was the one backed by the National office, which issued certificate of return to him.
Political observers now believed that what happened in the two states primaries, was an indication that the Fayose group has come back to grab the control of the party in the South West.
It was also argued that the situation in Osun State is somehow different from that of Ekiti State because the Wale Ojo group that produced Babayemi relied on three court verdicts that validated the authenticity of the group’s state executive. It was said that the three verdicts gave room for the parallel primaries held, as the Wale Ojo group believed that it is the one that has the mandate to present the list used at the primary.
Although the party was to initially use the delegate list which the Wale Ojo objected to before it was decided that statutory list be used, based on the harmonisation of the two warring groups but the court verdict from Ila received on the day of the primary, said to have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the Wale Ojo’s group, changed the entire narratives as they accused the National body of the party of complicity.
The chairman of the group Wale Ojo told BusinessHallmark that what they did was in accordance to the law and all the court verdicts attested to that.
He argue “you can see that all the top leaders of the party in the state are with us. Will anybody now say that these leaders don’t know what they are doing? We can’t stop people from what they believed in but all we know is that our own primary is backed by law.”
He accused the National body of compromise, which he said he never knew why they did that because they are supposed to be at the venue where they conducted their own primary, if they follow the court verdicts. Also a member of the board of Trustees and one of the founding fathers of the party, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun said, “it is funny that the Iyorcha Ayu led National Executive could look elsewhere ignoring the truth.”
Alhaji Oyedokun said “We know what we are doing; what we are doing here is not against the law or constitution of the party. This is where all the leaders of the party are gathered. Those at the Osun State Stadium are there for money. We are for the people. It is a pity that the NWC of the party has refused to do the right thing.”
Also the former governor of the state in the same group, said “Well, let them say what they like; what we did at the primary that produced Dotun Babayemi as the governorship candidate of the party is legitimate. But we are not going to allow money to becloud our sense of reasoning. They have done there own we have done ours. Let us look what would happen at the end of the day.”
The nephew of Demola, Dele Adeleke said, “the law of the party is clear. Some people think they can use what they have to oppress the people. We are here for no other reason than to produce the best candidate for the people of Osun State.
“Our primary is in consonant with the law and the court has even validated what we did with all the judgments in our favour.”
Dotun Babayemi who emerged in their group said in his acceptance speech “My mandate is genuine. I promised to serve the people and we shall collectively offer the best for our people. I can assure you that all the five of us that are on the same side we run the government together.”
In his reaction after he won the primary which was conducted and supervised by INEC, Demola Adeleke said, he was ready to serve the people and change the state to that which will produce employment and create wealth that would change the lives of the people.
He said if elected the governor he would run an all inclusive government.
According to him, “Today, I emerged as the PDP flag bearer for the forthcoming election. I am grateful to God and the PDP delegates for entrusting me with the mandate to represent our dear party as their gubernatorial candidate”. Ademola said.
He called for the cooperation of the people and other contestants as he believed that there is no winner but his victory is for all.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has constituted the Osun State Gubernatorial Electoral Appeal Panel to consider appeals arising from the conduct of the Osun State Governorship Primary. The Appeal Panel began sitting last week Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the PDP National Secretariat, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja and headed by the National chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.