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Osun crisis of power shif

There is a great crisis over the choice of candidate and the zone to produce the next governor of OsunState in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. The development has resulted in massive alignment and realignment of forces between the three senatorial zones, writes our correspondent, Richard Akintade.
Crisis, no doubt is brewing within the camp of some aspirants and the various caucus of the Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Nigerian PilotWeekend can authoritatively reveal. As at the last count, no fewer than 29 aspirants are vying for the governorship with each camp trying to outdo the other through various intrinsic political scheming and maneuverings.
Issues that have continued to dominate their campaigns in preparation for the July 7primary election are power rotation for equity, justice and fairness, experience and exposure to administration, loyalty to the party and capability to hold office.
The caliber of contenders no doubt makes it difficult to avoid imminent crisis from brewing within the caucus and eventually the party. The contenders are the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, SulaimonLasunYusuff, current Speaker of the House of Assembly, FolasayoNajeem Salaam, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, AlhajiMoshoodOlalekanAdeoti, Chief of Staff to the Governor, AlhajiGboyegaOyetola, Senator Christopher BabajideOmoworare, Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebanji, Chairman of the State Local Government Service Commission, Elder Peter Babalola, Engr. AdelereOriolowo, Engr. AyoadeLawal, AbiodunSaka-Layonu (SAN), Barrister RasheedKunleAdegoke, to mention a few of them. However, the party leadership is on top of the situation with its managerial tactics, promising to be fair to all.
Based on the above, no fewer than 16 aspirants are from Osun West Senatorial District with about four of them from Iwo and three from Ikire respectively. Community leaders like the Oluwo-in-council and Akire-in-council are showing solidarity and support for the emergence of their sons as the candidate of the party.
Most of the aspirants instead of working hard on the leadership and delegates are campaigning as if they have already emerged the candidate of the party. This was the observation of some political pundits.
Expectedly, some have blamed the out-going Governor, RaufAregbesola,for keeping to his chest his successor.
One of the most hit by the brewing crisis is the “IleriOluwa” group which has the current chief of staff to Governor Aregbesola as its governorship contender, according to investigations. This group is rumoured to be supported by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and surreptitiously, his political godson, Aregbesola. This has been debunked by the leadership of the caucus at a press conference where the declaration of intention was made.
A source disclosed to this paper that the sudden entrance of the Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebanji, in the last few days has polarized and unsettled the group. The membership of most of the State Executive Council in the group has been flaunted as a sign of anointing by governor to the amazement of other aspirants. The source added that members of the group often tell party members that they are working in tandem with the governor’s body language as they are closer to him than others. Therefore, the entrance of one of them into the race has revealed that their assertions are more political than reality.
A source confided in Nigerian Pilot Weekend that the agitation for rotation/power shift to Osun West Senatorial District is taking its toll on the popularity and acceptance of IleriOluwa camp within the State APC and Oyebanji, who incidentally was brought into the cabinet by AlhajiGboyegaOyetola,who hails from Ikire, Irewolede Local Government Area in Osun West Senatorial District. He has to be brought in as a possible replacement. However, a source said a caucus within the caucus sees the clamour and acceptance by Oyebanji to enter the race as political back stabbing.
The source added that while Oyebanji is a technocrat, he does not possess the needed administrative exposure to run the state with its debt burden. The source alleged that in his entire career, he has always been involved in retail banking with little or no exposure to project financing which has been a source of pride for Aregbesola’s administration. This, the source argued is a bane to numerous aspirants claiming continuity of the programmes of of the out-going government. The source fears that his possible emergence might end up in producing a stooge/puppet that would operate according to the dictates of his master.
According to the insider, an inherent division has been created within the group, as a gap between the protagonists and antagonists has been established. While another form of crisis has been created within the Akire-in-council as three of the aspirants are from Ikire. Elder Peter Adebayo Babalola also from Ikire and a versatile mobilizer has never minced words in telling the state leadership of the party that all aspirants from the west senatorial district have resolved to be loyal to the party on the ground that one of them emergesits candidate.
Among the contenders from thecentral senatorial district, all talks about stepping down for one another has resulted into further crisis over claims of ability and experience. The issue of continuity and change, the source said bedeviled the negotiation as a group accused theIleriOluwa caucus of being responsible for the unpleasant workers’ welfare in the administration of Governor Aregbesola which has continued to affect the popularity of the government and party in power in a civil service state.
A stronghold on the party structure, members with past relationships has continued to give an edge to some caucus like “Shehu” of AlhajiMoshoodOlalekanAdeoti, ”Fiwajoye” of FolasayoNajeem Salaam over other relatively newer caucus within the west senatorial district and the state at large. This too has continued to brew crisis amongst the aspirants.
As crisis continues to brew within some formidable caucus, thereare series of alignment and re-alignment within the ruling party to the extent that it has become difficult to know the camp that some notable political leaders in the state belong to. However, a reliable source said the words of elders of the party in the state are becoming words of wisdom. This is because they have allegedly remained resolute in their alignment with the popular agitation for power rotation that will not compromise quality and loyalty.
It is as if the ruling APC has not learnt anything from their loss of theOsun West Senatorial bye-election of 2017.
This is not to talk of power shift agitation gaining ground in the state. A group in the forefront of this agitation is Osun West Peoples Assembly which comprises political actors, human rights crusaders, professionals, artisans, pensioners etc.They came together with the sole aim of wrestling power to the district in the forthcoming governorship election.
Their agitation stemmed from their belief that power rotation reduces injustice and marginalization. According to them, Chief BisiAkande, who was Governor (1999-2003) hails from the Central Senatorial District, while his successor, Prince OlagunsoyeOyinlola (2003-2010) also hails from the same district. Governor RaufAdesojiAregbesola (2010-2018) hails from East Senatorial District. Therefore, power must shift to the West Senatorial District in the spirit of fairplay and justice.This has formed the fulcrum of their agitation and has started to gain grounds, not only within the district, but in other places.
However, most of the political gladiators are not from the district, but they are mobilizing their funds and resources to possibly dwarf this campaign. “How far this would go, we are watching”, a politicalanalyst said.

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