Osun 2018: Odds Aregbesola must surmount

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor State of Osun.

If Governor Rauf Aregbesola contests for a senatorial seat after his tenure, the evidence on the ground in Osun State points to the stark possibility of a monumental loss. Virtually all politicians in the state say it is as bad as that: Aregbe has depleted every fund of goodwill available for him!
That train of thought must have informed the decision of a stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Fatai Oyedele to declare recently that Osun people would use the forthcoming governorship election in the state to send Ogbeni Rauf back to Lagos, from where he came.
Against the background of that ambitious claim, what could be the possible hurdles facing Aregbesola as he plans to leave a favoured successor in Osogbo, before his exit? That also throws up the question that since members of his party believe that the governor did not achieve success with his mandate, whether it is plausible for him to anoint a successor.
Some chieftains of APC in Osun say the smartest strategy that Aregbesola should adopt is neutrality. But Ogbeni does not present himself as one capable of playing aloof in the succession politics within his area of jurisdiction, particularly in the light of his visibility in the Ondo affair.
As such, even before Oyedele dropped his improvised politically explosive communication, Governor Aregbesola must have known that whatever cards he would want to play in 2018 will be met with resistance.   
Indications that Aregbesola must have got a pre-knowledge of the forces ranged against emerged him during the inauguration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Akure. The Osun governor did not show up, perhaps, out of quiet recollections of his role in the immediate aftermath of the Ondo APC governorship primary brouhaha.
Oyedele latched on that as he fired darts in the direction of the governor, when he alluded to the possibility of Aregbesola shifting his political apparatus to the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in order to prosecute his succession plan.
While accusing Ogbeni of running APC in Osun as his personal estate, Oyedele disclosed that other leaders of the party would resist him as the succession politics begin to unfold. “We were at the inauguration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, but some APC members did not show up, because they were partly APC and partly AD.”
A combination of factors is behind the threat to vanquish Governor Aregbesola’s political future in Osun, especially his 2018 succession agenda. The nature and clout of those angling to succeed the incumbent, as well as, the interplay of political portents like demography, geopolitics and the score card are some of the major offerings in the mixed basket of the exit challenges facing Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.   

Contenders, Demographics, Geopolitics
GOVERNOR Aregbesola belongs to the Yoruba subgroup of Ijesa. And along with that precinct, are the Ife and Ilesa. In voting population, the governor’s quarters represent just a quarter of a senatorial zone. But although his name would not be on the ballot, the fact of his poor base would definitely affect the governor’s capacity to build winning support for whoever may become his ultimate preferred candidate.
Sources hinted that Aregbesola is divided between choosing his present Chief of Staff, Dekola Ejigbo and Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Salami Najeem Folasayo. Should any of the two become the governor’s point’s man in the succession battle, he should contend with present deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yusuf Lasun and Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke.
Political luck has always smiled on Senator Adeleke in the state. Apart from serving two terms in the Senate on the platforms of the two major political parties, representing Osun West on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 2007 to 2011 and 2015 on APC, he was a former governor.
However, it is debatable whether his political fortune would be enhanced in 2018 by the fact of his governorship and senatorial outings. This is because, although he gained second access to the Senate by hopping from PDP to APC, that excursion may lay on his aspiration a frustrating incubus.
Like Senator Adeleke, Deputy Speaker, Lasun, hails from Osun West. Lasun has age in his favour, as such on a good political weather; Lasun’s aspiration may turn out as the undoing of Senator Adeleke in Osun West. Moreover, before his governorship was prematurely truncated by the military in 1993, Adeleke was alleged to have favoured only Ede town and empowered just his acolytes.
On his part, Lasun has always circulated around the progressive parties, flowing with the Yoruba political lineup from Alliance of Democracy (AD), through the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to the APC, on which platform he reversed his earlier losses for the House of Representatives seat.  
The fact that it was during an economic empowerment programme organised by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives that Alhaji Oyedele delivered the threat of sending Aregbesola back to Lagos, goes a long way to buttress the popular impression in Osun that the next governor of the state would not be a favourite of the incumbent governor.
But while some of Aregbesola’s loyalists, particularly those close to Speaker Salami; believe that the governor would fall back on the support of former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, others allege that the insistence of Lasun to retain the position of Deputy Speaker against Tinubu’s interest, would pave the way for another showdown come 2018.
in addition, Lasun, being a loyal ally of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, may get a boost, going by what played out in Ondo governorship where Tinubu’s preference was not reckoned with. The question Aregbesola camp would be itching to provide answers to is which aspirant it could throw up to beat Lasun.

Aregbesola’s Eight Years’ Score Card
ANOTHER big source of stiff challenge to Aregbesola’s succession plan is his eight years’ scorecard. It is on record that the Osun governor is yet to make appointments to the state cabinet for the greater part of his second term in office. No doubt, that could be the governor’s strategy for meeting the challenges of the parlous state of national economy and dwindling revenue accruing to the state.
Opinions are sharply divided among the people of Osun on the performance of Governor Aregbesola in office. While some credit him with giant initiatives, including infrastructural development, particularly in his first term, some insist that his performance does not commend praise.
But the greatest blemish of the administration was when a serving Judge in the State Judiciary, Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, petitioned the House of Assembly, urging the lawmakers to impeach Governor Aregbesola on account of alleged financial recklessness.
Justice Oloyede narrated the inability of the governor to pay pensions, salaries and allowances for periods ranging from eight to 11 months, stressing that the government accumulated debts “beyond the capacity of the state’s internally generated revenue.”
The petitioner also alleged that, while the workers were being owed salary arrears, the governor and his deputy, continued to enjoy their security votes in hundreds of millions. “Their action in this respect is, as illegal as, it is immoral and unconscionable. It is an evidence of their inability to discharge the functions of their office. There is therefore no legal or moral basis for their continued stay in office,” the judge declared.

Although the petition was subjected to the vagaries of political gesticulation, the image of the government remained at the mercy of public suspicion and distance. Most people in Osun who said they expected Tinubu to put in a word, expressed the belief that the former Lagos governor was “over protecting his boy in Osun.”
In 2014, another Southwest governor lost his second term bid by running what most observers described as elitist government. Presently in Osun State, most residents say they have not forgotten Justice Oloyede’s conclusions regarding the governor’s style.
Would the governor’s succession headache begin in APC or would he as Oyedele mooted, set up a preferred candidate in an alternate platform to watch how Lasun and Senator Adeleke jostle for the party’s ticket. 2018 would definitely present the ultimate test of Aregbesola’s staying power in politics.


In this article:
Rauf Aregbesola
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  • Spoken word

    Aregbesola is a joke

  • DObservation

    It is an absolute shame for this to see this written about Aregbesola. I have said severally that politics is the major clog to good governance in this country. You finally find a good governor yet opposition politics will try to drag his name in mud. Aregbesola’s performance as Osun governor is without doubt the best the state has ever had and even moreso, the governor has far and wide been acknowledged as the most innovative governor in the country with initiatives like school feeding, Opon Imo, model schools which are now been copied nationwide. I am happy that the writer even with his agenda, could not still deny Aregbesola’s massive investment in the infrastructure of the state as well.
    Also, to still quote

  • DObservation

    Quoting Justice Oloyede’s lies even after it got her dismissed by the NJC. Or the writer wants to tell us Aregbesola controls the NJC too?

    What is certain is that Aregbesola has over performed as Governor and the people of Osun are solidly behind their governor. The state has never had it this good and this is why the state will stand behind a continuity of Aregbesola’s ideas. Any other idea being promoted in this article is mere wishful thinking.

  • POJUinitiatives

    Shameful to read this kind of devilish article to drag a working governor to the mud on this platform…. Anyone that believe this concocted lies can believe anything. In fact, this governor have change the face of the state beyond expectation. Despite 70% of states of the federation are unable to pay salaries, Aregbesola have been managing the crisis caused by the mismanagement of public fund by the then government at the centre. I guess the person that wrote these lies and damaging piece don’t know that Osun state have paid Feb. salary to its workers in line with the MOU signed by Labour leaders and the government. Infrastructural development in the state have been best since creation of the state. Under Ogbeni, is the first time Osun will experience turn around in our education system. Our IGR increased from the usual N300m to over N1.2b. Youth empowerment Ogbeni is second to none…..We should not also forget before the shortfall in FAAC Osun is one of the state that pays 13th month to it workers. .This is just a story concocted by enemies of the state. Beyond doubt, we love Aregbesola in Osun, and If there is third term good people of Osun will polled AREGBESOLA again and again….. Finally, it disgraceful that the writer quoted a lazy Judge used by PDP and opposition within to tarnish the image of the state government…. I will advice LASUN not to waste his money… Osun will not vote betrayers like him..

  • Ololade

    A person who deals with facts would know that all these were written is to tarnish the image of Ogbeni Aregbesola. It is obvious that these politicians against him and his administration only intend to get to his position for selfish reasons. A governor who provides salaries to his workers irrespective of recession and the general income revenue, who provides meals for public school students, started with the construction of over head bridges which before his administration was non-existent in the whole state, provides health care facilities and so much more, definitely deserves to be praise and encouraged to have greater political ambitions.

    It’s sad to know that writers who are supposed to be the true mirror of the society have become biased in the information that they feed to the public due to their selfish needs.
    The State of Osun has never been better, and the people appreciate the works of Governor Aregbesola.

  • princesstar57

    Its such a painful feeling to see this type of article written by an honourable man. This shows how misinformed the person is,to have comfortably done this. All this thing said are all lies cooked up from an enemy. Aregbesola is the best Governor the state has seen so far. Ogbeni is a performing Governor, from innovation to infrastructural creations, Education and Health sector establishment. Lately the news around is that salaries has been paid for February and more work is still going on in the state.

    No mater what anyone has to say its going to be ‘Aregbesola all the way’.

  • Lizzbee4christ

    It is only natural that humans will always remain unsatisfied no matter how much you help them. Governor Aregbesola in my own opinion has not only carried on the legacies of his successors but has also tried within his power to make the people of the State of Osun live comfortably. His many projects which covers almost all the sectors including educational sector, environmental, agricultural, health, social and economic sectors of the state. To all those thinking the Governor may not stand a chance of winning anymore election should brace themselves up for surprises and even if it turns out that he will be sent back to Lagos from where he came as said by Alhaji Fatai, at least the Gov. has set the pace which they will all follow and his good work will remain.