The race for Osun governorship election is steadily gathering momentum .It promises to be a battle of the titans ; campaign razzmatazz and glib arguments , routines of the electioneering seasons, are now at the top gear. But the voters are not ready to be dazzled by the above . Grounded in deep frustration they alleged , ,the politicians are behind their tales of woes .
According to a labour leader, who craved for anonymity, only those aspirants , who could key into the mood of the voters and with trust and character , would get the necessary attention . They want a leader or governor with the necessary potentials to create visible signs of economic growth within the shortest possible time in office ;they are longing for a leader who is patently in command of the economy and could release the state from its stagnant position. As at now the economy of the state is stranded. Falling standard of living , the hunger and frustration that hang on the falling real income ,the growing debt , raw social divisions ,and moral drift are the realities on ground . Only a leader that can carefully match the above moods of the voters can find a space in their thinking , i.e concentrate their minds on the real imperative ,to tackle the current social economic debacle
However, only the few ,if any, of those emerging on political terrain presently as aspirants have built their careers, with cares ,within the system, particularly among the known and the familiar faces .The relatively unknown are difficult to trust , that will be a crass error .If at all one has to go for any unknown aspirant as the governor of Osun state as a successor of Aregbesola ,one has to hope hard and take much on trust . Most of the veteran politicians scrambling for the number one seat are raw politicians without any vision or fire in their bellies or sparks of political courage that could lift the state from its present quagmire Osun state is in dare need of a leader that is ambitious and solicitous of the populace rather than selfish charlatans Those without the necessary and clear vein of principle are those around now . Except the unknown and untested aspirants flying kites , the familiar face gunning for the number one seat are the masters of the flexible posture and disingenuous slide If the issues of elections are seen as trust and character some of them may not stand the test of time Presently , it is no longer ideological stance of the political parties but individuals with potentials and skill set that could fill the economical gap. The incoming governor of the state is expected to fill this gap and move the state forward .
Incidentally , investigations in the state of the living spring confirmed this . .The issue of this election is on trust of character and intellectual capacity . Only candidates that can justify this trust can restore confidence of the electorates on the people welfare and well being . . . The incumbent governor Aregbesola has held down a belief that the present economic misfortune of the state is a national calamity .But ,no doubt, he has bastardized it This has led to his deep political unpopularity ..Fiscal policy ,meanwhile ,has been all at sea . The state debt has grown astronomically without the expected correlations in terms of development .
Aregbesola has failed woefully to secured economic health for the state . Only a governor who enables the people to be highly skilful, independent economic oriented, not the one that relies on the federal allocation can succeed in Osun. For the past eight years ,the incumbent governor has proved resoundingly to be dead to new ideas or bereft of new ones . Aregbesola is spent and his party with him . . The man , tired to distraction and out of ideas . has become a prey to charlatans whose socio- economic rostrums have failed the people and rub salt on the state wounds .The only messiah expected is the one with high level of moral authority with a sense and wisdom of economic revival .This may not be farfetched . The unwritten rule of the government is that ,as the economy goes , so goes everything else .
For this some observers believe , he has no moral authority to determine his successor To do that could be tantamount to seeking a successor that could protect or cover the track for him
Aregbesola is and has been at his wit end on this fundamental imperative . . Aregbesola’s emergence seven years ago undoubtedly, came with a lot of hopes and expectations. The governor’s tenure also came with revelations, frequent controversies and turbulence. Certainly, the governor who cut his political teeth under the famous former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu weathered almost all the storm his governorship generated. At least, no body or group was able to impeach him.. Now, as Aregbesola prepares to hand over to a successor, a major battle awaits him. Interestingly, the political terrain has changed remarkably in Osun and beyond. Apart from the preponderance of new enemies even within, Aregbesola’s All Progressives Congress, APC, must prepare to face the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in a final and ultimate test for popularity and relevance. The APC will as a party, also carry the general atmosphere of unfulfilled electoral promises as baggage into the forth-coming election.
Aregbesola’s critics have severally criticised him of many sins. Prominent among them is his dictatorial tendencies and the Osun School Reclassification programmes that almost tore the state apart. During this period, the governor, unfortunately took steps that were discriminatory against a particular religion in his quest for solutions to the religious crisis. There was also the bizarre introduction of Ifa as a subject in Osun schools and what many consider as the governor’s unpopular creation of Local Council Development Authorities, LCDA’s across the state. There are also issues around what they describe as the governor’s lack of consultation before making appointments and the gradual pauperization of Osun people. Even among staunch supporters of the governor in the state’s factionalised APC, there is fear of the PDP because of the ruling party’s dwindling fortunes. The situation is even made worse by the growing suspicion of imposition of candidate from outside
Alhaji Fatai Akinbade : A joker beckons
Alhaji Fatai Akinbade , amiable politician and a former Secretary to Osun State Government is widely believed to be PDP’s most popular governorship aspirant in the approaching Osun State guber election
The race to the Osun State gubernatorial election this 2018 promises to be very memorable; at least with the underlying circumstances and undercurrents pointing to a battle to finish
The political intrigues are at the top gear with many aspirants seeking voters attentions .But the voters appear not dazzled by the ongoing campaign razzmatazz and glib arguments ;they are seemingly on a revenge mission .
This may not be misplaced. . The issues of this coming election, no doubt, shall border on the welfare of the people of the state of the living spring .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 may appeal strongly to the mindset of the electorates this time . The economy of the state is stranded by slow growth and 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, Akinbade has continued with a campaign slogan towards the welfare of the people, the real imperative.
And voters especially among civil servants are rooting for him . In a search for the right person for the job ,many people are already talking of a joker in PDP Even APC sympathizers know of this game changer who is feared for his mobility and grassroots support. This is what the overwhelming majority of PDP members see in one of the contestants, Fatai Akinbade who has been severally described as a veritable weapon against the embattled ruling party. Akinbade has, indeed, built his political career ,with care ,within the system ..And will not break the mould . He is good at the game, ambitious ,solicitous of his friends and the general public. Akinbade with overwhelming sparks of political courage and very clear vein of principle is believed to be the right man for the job. .
The former Secretary to State Government certainly, is popular for obvious reasons. Akinbade , a good mixer and a very popular politician possesses the goodwill and appeal that can retain APC’s hold on power in Osun State. He also hails from Osun West, a senatorial zone that enjoyed the exalted office of the governor for only 22 months. So Osun West is expected by Osun people and all fair-minded men to produce the next governor of the state.
Outside the raging issue of equity and justice which run in favour of Akinbade , his deep pocket and generosity is also a factor. Many also cite his friendly disposition, humility, simplicity and fairness as veritable advantages. To complement these obvious gains are his network and well-oiled political machine which is tested and trusted. Those rooting for Akinbade say he is the only person that can radically reverse the prevailing hunger and starvation ravaging the political elite in the state. This is politics and nobody can easily wave away the issue of stomach infrastructure.
But Akinbade also has an impressive record as an experienced, competent and accomplished leader. At least the people say so. There are those who would easily say that he is sympathetic, caring and also has a listening ear. This group flaunts his open-handedness and the fact that he has positively touched lives in his long years in public office.
However, the icing on Akinbade ’s cake is the peoples resolve to vehemently oppose any form of imposition from Lagos or anywhere for that matter. The people of Osun and APC members generally are insistent on the fact that they have come off age and should therefore decide within Osun borders, the person that will fly the party’s flag. There are fears that Aregbesola, a well known protégée of Tinubu will turn to Lagos for the ultimate selection process even with the groundswell of opposition against imposition by party members. This is an added advantage likely to be exploited by Akinbade
The 2018 governorship election in Osun State is a straight fight. It is between APC and PDP .However, if the PDP does all the necessary things, particularly with regard to primaries, confidence-building, transparency and mobilisation, victory will be certain for the party. This party vacated unceremoniously seat many years ago
But anything on the contrary will return the APC to the Government House
The Rise of Lasun
Yusuf Lasun’s charisma, politics, liberal nature and unimpeachable character endear him to the people of Osun State
For Rt. Hon. Yusuf Lasun, Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, political relevance and national prominence came earlier than he had anticipated. However, it will be incorrect to say that the Osun State-born engineer, politician and bridge builder did not prepare for the events of June 9, 2015. On that day, Lasun, like a hero in a Greek tragic drama, emerged Deputy Speaker in a most dramatic manner, thereby proving book makers wrong.
But his emergence also came with a backlash which pitched him against some actors in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the South West.
Those who were unhappy with his election in his zone accused him of being disloyal to APC’S zoning formula. According to them, he breached his party’s selection process of principal officers by supporting candidates that were not anointed by the APC. But there were those also who commended him for his intervention and his victory, which saved the Yoruba nation from the humiliation that Femi Gbajabiamila’s defeat as a contender for the speakership position would have caused.
Now, the narrative around principal actors during the election in the House is gradually changing. Those who won and lost have moved on, and like Lasun, they are already working in preparation for the elections ahead. It is therefore not surprising that like other politicians, Lasun’s issues dominate political discourse these days, both in Osun, Lasun’s home state and Abuja. This narrative is further heightened by a pending governorship election in Osun State in 2018 where he is believed to be a major contender.
Today, the Deputy Speaker is celebrated for his charisma, progressive politics, liberal disposition and unimpeachable character. But above all the virtues, Lasun’s preoccupation and commitment to empowerment remain his biggest asset and selling point
At an event recently in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, he decried the prevailing poverty in Nigeria, describing it as unacceptable. He echoed the view that government, must at all times, work to improve the living conditions of the people. Since the statement came from an important member of an arm of government, it drew applause from everybody present.
This reputation of supporter of the masses is now closely associated with Lasun’s name. He knew there could not have been a better time to speak in support of the people and the working class, and he is taking advantage of the moment. For instance, in Osun, his home state, politicians there are unhappy with the governor over his apparent disdain for stomach infrastructure and patronage which is an integral part of politics in Nigeria. Political appointments in Osun State also come in trickles, making life very difficult for those who live on politics. This is compounded by the fact that public officers are regularly owed salaries, and when eventually government pays, it comes as half salaries. These are serious issues but the Deputy Speaker continues to identify with his people and their challenges, and he has never shied away from speaking out.
At other times, Lasun has also spoken vociferously on the dangers of food importation, calling on Nigerians to stop the importation of food items from other countries. According to him, Nigerians must return to the farm so that they can create employment, earn foreign exchange and save the nation of trillions of Naira spent annually on importation.
As a responsive leader, the Deputy Speaker continues to show uncommon love and compassion to his constituents. A few months ago, he donated tractors to Farmers Association of Osogbo, Irepodun and Olorunda Local Government Areas of his state. Outside encouraging food production through the empowerment of farmers, he is also linked to over three dozen charitable efforts across age, sex and religion. He has also provided educational and employment opportunities to young men and women in Osun State and beyond.
‘I only urge our leaders that people in government should make deliberate efforts to go back to their constituencies and make input in a manner that will allow people to get empowered and be developed. They can build hospitals, produce drugs and equipment and build schools. In the last six years, I have been able to build about sixty classrooms”, Lasun said recently.
Those who know him, including his critics, can attest to his courage, strength of character, strong leadership qualities and achievement during the last Assembly and the current 8th Assembly.
For example, at the 44th session of the ECOWAS Parliament in 2015, he was in an unprecedented manner, unanimously elected 1st Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. And in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Inter Parliamentary Union, IPU meeting, he acquitted himself as a first class parliamentarian with his speech on Nigeria’s position in the union.
But some people have also argued that Lasun is taking advantage of the obvious development and leadership vacuum in Osun State to position and launch himself ahead of next year’s governorship election. This may not be completely false as it is already evident that Osun needs a visionary, charismatic and cosmopolitan governor come 2018. This “saviour”, according to critics of the current governor, Rauf Aregbesola, must not only be knowledgeable, fit and pleasant, but must also be ready to listen, and Lasun is not in short supply of these attributes.
Those who queue behind him as the long-expected messiah and redeemer say they are rooting for him because of his intellectual depth, deep pocket, character, political sagacity and generosity. They also contend that Aregbesola has inflicted enough pain on the people of Osun State and that Lasun is eminently qualified to end the hopelessness, general poverty, lack of vision and the dictatorial tendencies that characterise the current administration.
The only obstacle on his way is that he is not from Osun West, which is expected to produce the next governor in 2018. But his strong supporters are insisting on jettisoning zoning this time around because according to them, zoning does not always produce the best candidate.
It is generally believed also that Lasun, as a governorship aspirant, can count on Abuja and the power conflagration at Nigeria’s seat of power where anything is politically possible. Only recently, the power game at the centre served certain interests in Ondo State prior to the primaries where Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, emerged as APC’s standard bearer and eventually won the governorship election, despite all odds. Osun State, evidently, is a different ball game. How it eventually plays out may depend on extraneous political factors. But surely, Nigeria’s Deputy Speaker is an astute politician that cannot be ignored by his admirers and critics.
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 decamped from the People Democratic Party recently to a 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, shall border overwhelmingly on the welfare of the people of the state of the living spring No doubt ,. 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 . 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.
Four 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 next 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.