Iyiola Omisore, former Deputy Governor, Senator and an unusual politician is a formidable aspirant in the forth-coming Osun State governorship election
When Senator Iyiola Omisore recently decamped from the People Democratic Party ,PDP, to the rejuvenated Social Democratic Party ,SDP ,some of his political adversaries were ignorantly celebrating his exit from the party .They believed this would, automatically, open a way for their long standing ambition .But to his admirers, this move has only set a stage for everybody to test his political acumen . According to them the battle for the number one seat in Osun is not going to ,by any mean ,be an ideological one but a personality one .
This may not be farfetched .. . The issues of this coming election, no doubt, is expected to border overwhelmingly on the welfare of the people of the state of the living spring . Moreover, the unwritten rule of government is that ,as the economy goes ,so goes everything else .Only a candidate or party standard bearer that is fiscally responsible ,socially hard-headed and business minded with trust and character shall appeal strongly to the mindset of the electorates this time inOsun State . The economy of the state is and for long, stranded by slow growth and it is fearing much worse . waiting for a rescue .Falling real income ,growing debt, raw social divisions and moral drift are palpable everywhere .Surely , the theme of this election is not going to be ideological , ;untold hardship has reduced the ideological gap between the parties and it is not likely to be a decisive factor. No wonder, Omisore has continued with a campaign slogan towards the welfare of the people, making the economy the real imperative.
Also, when it comes to a personality battle , Iyiola Omisore could not be found wanting . . He is a self made successful business man and goal getter .Many people within and outside Osun, the South West state curiously called the State of Osun believe that Senator Iyiola Omisore is the contender to beat in the approaching governorship election in the state. His name can easily inspire respect and reverence, and the reasons are not far to seek. Omisore is without any doubt, the most visible and outstanding of all the hopefuls seeking to occupy the exalted office of the governor.
And for most political watchers of Osun politics, Omisore parades intimidating political, professional and academic credentials that are not only frightening but also very difficult to challenge.
At the age of 42, Omisore emerged deputy governor by popular vote in a region that places high premium on age, academic and personal achievements in the selection of political leaders. And for four solid years, he served under Chief Bisi Akande, an equally respected politician who was the governor. Their joint mandate which was secured under the Alliance for Democracy, AD was not only admirable but also provided robust leadership during those early stages of politics in a post military era.
Aside his extraordinary visibility as deputy governor, as number two citizens are barely seen, Omisore will also be remembered for his deep pocket and politics of inclusion. At that time, he carried along; supporters even at the risk of incurring the wrath of leaders of his party in the state and this increased his popularity rating. He also deployed huge finance and goodwill to his party until his relationship with AD went sour.
But Omisore is not a man who easily gives up on a fight, particularly when it has to do with politics and survival.
Once the hand writing became clear, he switched party and went ahead to do the impossible. He won an election while in prison custody, a feat that is uncommon even at the moment. Today, Omisore is regarded as one of the very few politicians who won an elective position while in solitary confinement. And this also attests to his popularity, not only as a grassroots man but also as an influential politician.
However, what is undeniable in this coming governoship election is the high stake. As the election date approaches, many people from the state are insisting on getting it right, first with selection of candidates to be on the ballot. Many who complain about the trauma of the last seven years or so, hinge state failure and their frustrations on ineptitude and obvious lack of understanding of the issues and politics of Osun by the drivers.
Evidently, Omisore is contemptuous of the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola and he has never hidden his contempt. He uses every opportunity at his disposal to draw attention to Aregbesola’s laxity and incompetence even with issues as mundane as re-branding the state. And like most people in Osun State who desperately want real change, Omisore believes strongly that Aregbesola brought untold hardship, corruption, inefficiency and avoidable bigotry to the state. And that the ugly trend can only be reversed by an enlightened and sophisticated leader who fully appreciates the complexities of leadership.
With certificates and unquestionable educational laurels across disciplines, Omisore strongly believes in his ability to deliver the goods and save Osun State from further embarrassment. And with a doctorial degree in infrastructure finance, the distinguished senator is already charting a new course and promoting a new branch of engineering known as ‘Project Management’. All these will definitely come to bear once he is given the opportunity to serve.
Some years ago, he shared his thoughts on the sinking ship of state in Osun State. Today, he insists that nothing has changed.
“We shared the daily experience of a people traumatised and fervently hopeful of beneficial change that democracy has promised to them. We were bold to reject financial recklessness, deform of our education sector, scams that deployed technology for profit rather than for learning, bastardised empowerment programmes that only deny opportunities to our young people, partnership that mean our artisans are jobless, significant capital flight from the Osun State economy and lack of transparency in public procurement process.
“We have been successful in raising the consciousness of every one in Osun State to these issues, enabling them to demand accountability that will enshrine good governance today and forever”.
But the former senator is not new to the benefits of accountability and good governance. As Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, one of the most influential committees in the senate, he worked with other senators on national budget reviews and allocation. That exercise increased national investments in infrastructure, economic and social development, in addition to providing civic interface and engagements in what later became “inclusive national budgeting initiative”.
He speaks eloquently and regularly too on his mission and vision for Osun State if elected governor come this year. First, he says he wants to heal and unite the troubled people of his state. According to him, Aregbesola brought so much acrimony and bad blood with his discriminatory education policy between Christians and Muslims. And the state, in his opinion, has not been the same again. He also seeks to bring development, improve infrastructure, create employment opportunities, return Osun to where it rightly belongs and harness the enormous human and natural resources of the state.
Previously, Omisore had held positions in the Upper Chamber such as Senate Committee Chairman on Industries, Intergovernmental Affairs and Culture and Tourism. He was also Chairman, Joint Finance Committee and also played various leading roles in the Red Chamber during his tour of duty.
Aside his dynamic legislative ability and experience in Nigeria’s highest law-making institution, Omisore is bringing to this election his other positives which are incontestable. He will also leverage on his good judgement in business, his international and political connections, his simplicity and accessibility and his politics which is inclusive. His courage, network of friends across class and good name is also bound to open doors for him.
A philanthropist and role model who empowers his supporters and other people in need of assistance, Omisore obviously does not belong in the league of ‘use and dump’ politicians, a phenomenon that is rife, not only in Osun State but in the country generally. The former deputy governor is also widely perceived as a consistent and astute leader .
Those who hold dissenting opinion about Omisore’s popularity and acceptance are in minority and the so-called negatives are in the realm of conjecture and allegations. Till today, no court has declared him guilty of any crime and this validates his good name.