Election, precursor to governorship contest
By Anthony Opara
Saturday’s senatorial elections to determine a successor for late Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, the Senator representing the Osun West constituency, who died in controversial circumstances on 23rd April 2017 is a very clear litmus test on the strengths of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the main opposition ensemble, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, analysts are saying.
The late Adeleke was a two time Nigerian senator who represented the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State from 2007 to 2011 and was elected again under the banner of the All Progressives Congress in 2015.
Interestingly, Adeleke, who had served as governor of the state from 1991 to 1992 had been defeated when he ran for reelection in April 2011 on the PDP platform, coming second with 77,090 votes.
The winner of the contest then was Mudasiru Oyetunde Hussein of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with 121,971 votes. He is the APC candidate in the polls now with Isiaka Adeleke’s brother, Ademola, flying the flag of the rival PDP.
Clearly not a rookie in the political process, Hussein had also earlier served as a two-term member of the House of Representatives in Lagos State, before moving over to continue his political engagements, like Aregbesola, in his ancestral Osun State. Indeed, given the very enthusiastic support he is presently receiving from Gov Aregbesola, some pundits are already speculating that Hussein, who has also served as a Commissioner in the State Executive Council under the incumbent governor, may be one of the possible hopefuls that Aregbesola may presently be considering to succeed him as governor in the next few months.
According to analysts, the outcome of the elections would likely point the way to how the forthcoming governorship polls and the resultant 2019 presidential elections (as regards the state) would go. With the stakes being very high, a high powered team from the APC National Headquarters led by National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun had been working in Osun to reinforce the work already done by Aregbesola, Hussein and other local cadres of the party.
‘Today’s senatorial contest in Osun is a precursor to the governorship polls that will follow in the next few months. It is also going to be a spot check on the Isiaka Adeleke legacy, as well as the practical political strengths today of the ruling APC, Gov Rauf Aregbesola and the opposition PDP,’ one commentator remarked.
As at the time of filing this report, security deployments were already in place with voters already milling to carry out their civic responsibilities.
Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke