By Eric Elezuo
After a spirited electoral effort characterized by accusations and counter accusations, a man who has hitherto remained an unknown name in the Nigerian political landscape, has suddenly emerged the newest political muscle in the politics of Osun State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the South West, and to a considerable extent, the country. He is the incumbent Chief of Staff to the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rau Aregbesola. He is Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola.
Before now, Oyetola has operated behind the scene, never stood for any election but performed his duties with all diligence prompting the commendation and recommendation of his boss, who rewarded him with the opportunity to stand for the gubernatorial election both at the primaries level, and consequently on the state level where he eventually emerged winner.
The victory of Oyetola with 255, 505 votes over his closest challenger with 255, 023 did not come cheap, having had to ward off a strong challenge led by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ademola Adeleke. He was deemed to have lost as he trailed by about 400 votes after the main day election on Satuday, September 22, 2018. He was however, rescued by supplementary election held five days which made him coast home to victory.
As a result, in the absence of a judiciary overturn, the 64 year old public servant will superimpose over the Osun State Aregbesola is leaving behind.
Adeleke rejected the election as a charade and a coup against Osun residents, and has sworn to go the whole length to retrieve his mandate in court. Based on the controversy surrounding the eventual overcome of the elections, stakeholders in the political and legal platforms believe he stands a chance, though the last time the Supreme Court overturned governorship elections result was in 2010, incidentally in favour of the Osun State governor.
Formerly a kingmaker, now a potential king himself, Oyetola, reputed has Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s cousin, has a vast experience as a long time accounting and brokerage executive in the private sector.
Smarting from an election which many believed was manipulated to his credit, though independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police have denied complicity, Oyetola is expected to stand tall and surmount the yearning challenges that come with being the chief executive officer of a state, especially a controversial state of Osun caliber, which allegedly is known for tilting towards Islamic tendencies and inclinations.
Not only that, staring him straight in the face is the debt profile of the state which runs into hundreds of millions of naira; a situation that prompted either none payment of staff salaries or deduction in percentage of payments. How he reconcile the payment of staff which his outgoing processor is known to have mishandled, will either endear him in the hearts of many or turn him to an overnight villain. It has not been forgotton though that he is a part of the present administration, as well as part of their mess up or glory depending on one’s side of the divide, or rather the way one looks at it.
He will need to turn around the state’s IGR in an environment populated by civil servants with little or no production capacity, and is still in the business of paying accumulated debts.
It was reported that at some point in 2016, the state earned nothing in federal allocation as creditors were paid from source to offset due loans. As at May 2018, the state’s debt profile was over N170 billion. But the opposition has put the debt to over N200 million with a timeline of 20 years to pay off. That’s the herculean task Oyetola is face with.
The Governor-elect was born on April 25, 1956, in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area, and attended Ifeoluwa Grammar School in Osogbo, where he finished in 1972.
In 1978, he graduated from the University of Lagos with a degree in insurance. He obtained a master’s degree in business administration in 1990 from the same institution. His national youth service was in Potiskum between 1978 and 1979. Apart from degrees from the University of Lagos, he is also an Associate of the Chartered Institute, London and Nigeria, and a Member, Nigerian Institute of Management.
He started his professional career with Leadway Assurance Company Limited as an Area Manager in 1980, and spent seven years with the outfit before joining Crusader Insurance Company Limited in 1987 as an Underwriting Executive. He left Crusader in 1990, and joined Corporate Alliance Insurance as Controller Technical. At a stage, he set up his own firm, Silvertrust Insurance Brokers, and has been on the board of many firms ever since
Oyetola was the Executive Vice Chairman of Paragon Group of Companies with interest in Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Stock Broking and many more until his appointment as the Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State of Osun in 2011. He is married with children.