OSUN GUBER RACE: how the candidates stand
The use of money will, unfortunately, certainly play a major role. Also, zoning, religion and Aregesola’s influence are some of the major factors that would influence the decision of an average voter in Osun today. Also, some of the candidates cannot afford the money to be paid to their party agents in all the polling booths, a sum that runs into several millions of naira. Also, the state government just engaged 20,000 O’YES youths (Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme) youths, who just completed their training exercise about last week. Operators of the free feeding program of the current administration in the state running in several thousands will want to remain in their jobs and may wish to cast their votes for the APC candidate. This will certainly work in favour of the APC’s candidate. Zoning Like in every state of the country, Osun too is politically divided into three senatorial districts: Osun West, Central, and East. Its first civilian governor, late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who spent about two years in office, hailed from Ede, in Osun West. Next was Chief Bisi Akande, from Ila Orangun in Osun Central. He spent four years but lost his re-election in 2003 to Brigadier-General Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd) from Odo-Otin council, also in Osun Central. Oyinlola spent seven years. Cumulatively, Osun Central alone has had 11 years governing the state. Aregbesola is from Ilesa council. By the end of his tenure, Osun East where he comes from would also have had eight uninterrupted years governing the state. Therefore, if the zoning sentiment in the state is anything to go by, Osun West should ordinarily be the next senatorial district to produce Aregbesola’s successor. But with three of the governorship candidates coming from the area, the senatorial district will split their votes among the three of them. Religion Until 2014, religion was never a strong factor in Osun politics. The State has had a Christian-Christian as Governor and Deputy Governor in the past. Although there are two Christian candidates in the race, Adeleke, and Omisore, the Christian community has pitched its tent with Omisore, just as the Muslim community has pitched its tent with Oyetola, largely because they accused Adeoti of distancing himself from the community while he was in government. Conservatively, the Muslim-Christian population in the state is said to be 55-45 in favour of Muslims. As at the time of filing this report, Oyetola and Omisore are running neck-to-neck in this regard. Aregbesola’s influence Many residents of Osogbo, the state capital and Ilesa area of the state, where the governor hails from believe that the outgoing governor, Aregbesola has worked. This will certainly attract sympathy for his party and its candidate. But there are those who also believe that the infrastructure he built was at the expense of citizens’ welfare. One thing he has done effectively is breaking the hold civil servants had on the electorate by playing up the ordinary traders and artisans against them. He remains the only governor in Osun State who has demystified the influence of labour in the state given that he won the 2014 election even though they went on strike during the election.