By Eric Elezuo
Finally, September 22, 2018 is here, and a plethora of political gladiators are set to await the outcome of their long drawn combat. The mantle and seat of Abere Government House, home of the Osun state governor is the coveted trophy. A lot of discordant tunes from political gladiators had been the order of the day as each bombarded the sensibilities of the electorate with slogans such as ‘experience is all that counts’, ‘let new voices be heard’ among many others. However, the big question on the lips of the voters as well as observers is who takes the seat of Aregbesola?
While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 48 parties will be participating in the election, it is reported that AD’s James Olugbenga Akintola and ADP’s Moshood Adeoti have collapsed their structures in favour of Iyiola Omisore of the SDP further brightening the chances of the former deputy governor. However, it is common that while some are real contenders based on their popularity and structure already put in place, many others are pretenders. Going by the fires the aspirants are spitting, the election promises to be very interesting and keenly contested even as the primaries presented no less an intriguing contest.
For the ruling party in the state, the All Progressive Congress (APC), a new card was played which practically deviated from using the delegate system of election which is in fact the routine and opted for the direct method which gave power and franchise to members of the party in the various wards to choose their own aspirants. This move elicited a number of controversies as some of the party’s members were against the move, stating that it smacks of favouritism and was filled with shenanigans of unfairness to favor the eventual winner, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.
Following the drift in the APC, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti defected to the Action Democratic Party on the last day of submission of candidates name to INEC and following a hurried primary, he was crowned as the sole candidate for the party.
Meanwhile, the major opposition party was having its own crises as Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi who came second vowed to get to the end of the earth to get his mantle from the said winner, Senator Ademola Adeleke. Petitions were written for the exercise to be conducted again or the votes be recounted but everything seemed a futile approach. That was not all, the issue of Adeleke’s inability to write WAEC was brought to the fore, and much as the exam body declared that he wrote the exams, Police still invited for legal prosecution. The move was halted by President Buhari till after the elections.
Senator Iyiola Omisore, a former deputy governor of the state emerged as the flag bearer of his new party, the Social Democratic Party in what could be termed a landslide victory in a primary election led by Dr. Bayo Faforji. However, that was not without its own raise of dust as another primary led by Chief Ademola Ishola using delegates method produced Mr. Kehinde Atanda as its candidate.
The Accord Party on its part gave its mandate to a United States of America based cleric of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Olopade Okunola.
While a number of the candidates have experience having served in one way or the other in the political space, the people of Osun State would be looking forward to voting that person who appears certain of fulfilling promises made during the campaign, not one who would turn a deaf ear to their pleas once they assume power. They will be seeking to vote an individual who has what it takes to lead the state to the proverbial Promised Land.
Below are the real contenders, one of whom will occupy the prestigious Abere government House.
IYIOLA OMISORE – SDP
A former deputy of the state of the state, Iyiola Omisore was born on September 15, 1957, into a royal family in Ile-Ife, where he also grew up. He is the son of Oba David Olajide Omisore and the grandson of Lowa Omisore, both of Ayepe, Olode.
Iyiola is also the grandson of the Late Olufewara Kabiyesi Oba Titus Adetoba of the Oseganderuku ruling house in Ifewara where his mother, Princess Emila Adejola ruled as Regent until her death in 2006. In August 2006, his father was crowned as the first Olu of Olode Town in Ife South Local Government Area of Osun State.
Senator Omisore began his educational career at the SS Peter and Paul Roman Catholic School in Ile-Ife before proceeding to St. John Grammar School Ile-Ife, Osun State, for his secondary education between 1972 and 1977.
He later attended Federal Polytechnic Owo, Ondo State and the Technology College, Reading UK. Where obtained a diploma Certificate in Electrical/Electronics Engineering.
With two engineering degrees and a postgraduate certificate from Brunel University Uxbridge, as well as a Ph.D in Infrastructure Finance from the International School of Management, Paris, France, Omisore was set to excel. He is currently undergoing his DBA programme at the same institution.
A Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, England and Wales, he has undergone several courses in different high profile institutions including Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA; ABS Academy, Athens, Greece; University of Carolina; West London College; Harvard University and the Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklungg GmbH, Germany.
In January 2013, he completed and was awarded a Doctorate Degree by the International School of Management in Paris.
Omisore commands so great an influence in the political space of Osun that he won an election while in detention. He has held so many offices as a legislator including chairmanship of committees.
Many however, believe that his administration, if he wins, will be full of excuses and complaints having been quoted as saying that it will take 22 years to clean up ‘Aregbesola’s mess’ in Osun State. They said he will blame whatever inadequacy on previous administration.
ADEMOLA ADELEKE – PDP
The PDP flag bearer gained political limelight when his brother, a serving senator, died in mysterious circumstance. He promptly filled the vacuum after winning the by-election in what many called ‘sympathy vote’.
A serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ademola Adeleke was born to the family of Ayoola Adeleke – a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke – an Igbo Christian mother on May 13th, 1960 in Enugu. His father was Late Senator Raji Ayoola Adeleke the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State, a second republic Senator with the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
Adeleke commenced his primary education at Methodist Primary School, Surulere Lagos then relocated to Nawarudeen Primary School, Ikire in the Old Oyo State. He progressed to The Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Ede also in the then Old Oyo State and later moved to Muslim Grammar School Ede. However, he did not finish his education at Muslim Grammar School as he later left Nigeria to study abroad with his two other brothers on a scholarship. He started higher studies at Jacksonville State University Alabama in United State of America where he majored in Criminal Justice and Political Science minor.
He is known as an accomplished businessman and administrator, making waves with like brother, Isiaka. The man who has come to be known as ‘dancing senator’ will need to fight off the stigma of certificate forger to lure voters to his side if he must have anything to do with Abere Government House after September 22.
GBOYEGA OYETOLA – APC
Currently the Chief of Staff to the Governor of State Osun, Gboyega Oyetola is described as a man endowed with untold skills that cut across politics, finance management, business and public administration. Through a dint of hard work, Oyetola has steadily progressed in the affairs of life.
Born in his native native Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of Osun clan, Oyetola attended Ifeoluwa Grammar School in Osogbo for his secondary school education which he completed in 1972 and proceeded to the prestigious University of Lagos where he bagged a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Insurance in 1978. He followed it up with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the same institution in 1990.
Oyetola’s professional life kicked off in 1980 when he joined Leadway Assurance Company Limited as Area Manager and worked there till 1987 and joined Crusader Insurance Company Limited as Underwriting Manager between till 1990. He moved again in 1990 to Alliance and General Insurance as Technical Controller and served in that capacity until 1991. In the same year, he set up his own Company, Silvertrust Insurance Brokers Limited, which he managed until his appointment as Chief of Staff in 2011.
A technocrat of great repute, Gboyega Oyetola’s progress in politics has been encouraging. He was a founding member of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the state of Osun and has been a chieftain of the party through its metamorphosis to Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now All Progressives Congress (APC). Also, he has assisted the party nationally, particularly in the State of Osun.
Political watchers believe he can swerve the votes to his side with the help of the much-touted Federal might. Already, his party has unleashed a 63-member committee comprising men versed in election matters.