THE ADELEKE DEFEAT AND WHAT IT PORTENDS FOR OSUN STATE POLITICS
By Anthony Opara
While the Osun governorship contest is still several months away, it will not be fought without an appreciation of this one fact: last Saturday, the younger brother of late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, Ademola Adeleke defeated the candidate of the APC, former Senator Hussein in the rerun for the Osun West Senatorial district vacated by Senator Isiaka Adeleke who had died in controversial circumstances.
Interestingly Ademola was like his late elder brother, a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) but decamped to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) three weeks to the poll. He decamped because the APC rejected his plea to replace his late elder brother in the Senate. The party caucus in the state that is led by Governor Rauf Aregbesola rather chose former Senator Hussain to fly the party’s flag for the rerun election.
While the PDP is jubilaiting over what appears to be a victory for their party one thing is clear, Mr Ademola Adeleke has been a card carrying member of the APC and is to all intents and purposes an APC member at heart, who has really now only used the PDP as a stepping stone to get what he wanted.
To put things in better perspective, Moses Ojo of the Center for Good Governance stated as follows
“There are quite a number of things people don’t know about last weekend’s Osun bye-election. I have heard and read from some people saying Aregbesola got Ademola Adeleke disqualified because he had a candidate he wanted to impose on the party, that is Senator Hussain. Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke won the senatorial election in 2007 under the platform of the PDP; he re-contested in 2011 but Senator Hussain of ACN then defeated Adeleke. Now, in 2015 Hussain re-contested while Senator Adeleke was contesting for the Governorship seat. He had a very rough ride with Senator Iyiola Omisore and other PDP chieftains in Osun; Omisore was also contesting for the Governorship seat under the PDP. Adeleke was mal-treated and insulted publicly, as a result he defected to the APC at the eleventh hour and that boosted the chances of Aregbesola in the election. However, Isiaka Adeleke asked the APC to give him the senatorial ticket for the support he gave to Aregbesola and the party leadership begged Hussain who had already won the primary election to step down for Isiaka Adeleke.
With the passage of Isiaka Adeleke, Hussain asked that he be allowed to take back his senatorial ticket, after all he was begged to step down for Isiaka Adeleke, while Ademola Adeleke (Isiaka’s younger brother) also asked to replace his late brother at the Senate. For me, I didn’t see it as imposition; in fact Hussain had more claim to the ticket than Ademola Adeleke.
I also don’t see the result of the election as a means of passing a referendum on the administration of Aregbesola although he seems to have pockets of issues with the people of Osun, especially civil servants. A lot of people didn’t know that Hussain is from Ejigbo Constituency, and the Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly – Hon. Najeem Salaam – is also from Ejigbo Constituency while the representative of the same constituency at the Federal House of Representatives is also from Ejigbo. The elite from that senatorial district actually decided before the election that they will not allow another person from Ejigbo to represent them at the Senate. That’s one of the things that I think played out last weekend.
This is the real politics that played out at the election that saw the emergence of Ademola Adeleke, a green horn so to say to beat a tested war horse like Hussain in the election. But is also speaks volumes on the political sagacity of the late Isiaka. One can then say that he won the election from the grave for his largely unknown younger brother who by the way has deep pockets.
The real battle now would be how to keep Senator Adeleke in the PDP as he appears to be a new comer in a party sharply torn apart by a leadership tussle. It may not be surprising if he returns to the APC especially given the vacancy that will be created in Osun Government House when Aregbesola completes his two terms in office. May be his victory might just goad him to go for the Government House which his late brother vacated a long time aga and had sought to return to. But for death it was clear to political watchers that Senator Isiaka alias Serubawon was gunning for the Osun Government House once again.
What this spells for the APC in the gubernatorial contest is left to be seen especially given the several political interesst in the state and given that Governor Aregbesola has not done well like his APC counterparts in other states. He has a running battle with the civil servants in the state which may jeopardise the chances of an APC candidate. There is also a group saying that the Ejigbo district deserves a shot at the Governorship given their decision not to go for the Senatorial contest that they hold both the Speakership position and that of the House of Representative seat. A lot of political horse trading will be done in the run up to the next big race for the Government House.
And no matter how the pendulum swings, there is also the yet latent aspiration of former Deputy Governor and Senator, Iyiola Omisore, who from all indications would once again be on the hustings, all set to gun for the number one position in the state one more time in the 2018 polls.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola