With barely eight months to the conduct of the September, 2018 governorship poll in Osun State, no fewer than 15 aspirants on the platforms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are perfecting their strategies to emerge as their parties’ candidates, with a view to succeeding incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Sunday Tribune investigation has revealed.
Though the array of gubernatorial hopefuls are vying for only one seat, some of them have the strong conviction of winning the tickets of their respective political parties.
Findings by our correspondent indicated that few aspirants on the platform of Accord Party (AP) have already been mobilising support and creating awareness about their ambitions, the outcome of the national convention of the party in Abuja, subject to ratification will determine the gladiators, who may still be in the race.
However, the list of the governorship aspirants in the APC, include the Chief of Staff to Governor Aregbesola, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; the incumbent Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Najeem Salaam; the Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, the chairman of the Osun State Local Government Service Commission, Hon Peter Babalola; the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Lasun Yusuff and former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, Hon Sunday Akere and a legal luminary, Mr Abdula Rasheed Kunle Adegoke.
But, Sunday Tribune learnt that some groups were clamouring for the incumbent Commissioner for Finance, Mr Banji Oyebamiji, an indigene of Ikire in Osun West Senatorial District, even though he is not interested in the race, like the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, DrAjibola Bashiru, who is a native of Osogbo in Osun Central Senatorial District.
Similarly, major contenders in Osun PDP for the seat include the former deputy governor in the state and former chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore; former candidate of the PDP in 2015 election for Boripe/OdoOtin/Ifelodun Federal Constiuency, Mr Kayode Oduoye; erstwhile Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Adejare Bello, who hails from Ede town; former chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) in Osun, Chief Lere Oyewumi; former SSG in the state, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade; Senator Segun Bamigbetan-Baju, an indigene of Ile-Ife and a renowned journalist, Mr Olawale Rasheed.
Meanwhile, criticisms, claims and counter-claims have continued to dominate the political space in Osun ahead the governorship election as the state governor, Aregbesola, Omisore, the APC and PDP are neck deep in raising issues affecting governance and performance of the ruling party.
The APC in its new year statement, by its state chairman, Prince ‘Gboyega Famodun, affirmed that the PDP had already perfected plans to embark on media campaign aimed at discrediting what it termed unprecedented feats recorded by the Aregbesola-led administration in infrastructural facilities.
The statement read in parts: “Regardless that the state is one of the least resourced in the Nigerian federation, it has demonstrated perhaps the most innovative capabilities in effecting the changes and developments necessary for economic growth in unprecedented circumstances.
“Yet, for the second time in four years, the good people of Osun will again be required to decide whether they will reject the evil as they did in 2014. That momentous year starts this January.
“But you, the people of Osun have seen it all; you have experienced the difference between light and darkness, evil and good and you are in the best position to make a choice. In 2014, amid a vicious PDP campaign, which drew blood and tears from the people, Osun stood firmly behind the good, and they threw evil into the garbage heap. In 2003, Osun made a terrible mistake to give the PDP a chance. It was such horrible experience that in 2007, they had to vote that party out of office. Their choice was violated until 2010 when justice was served.”
Reacting over the claims, the 2014 governorship candidate of the PDP, Senator IyiolaOmisore, at an event held in the party’s secretariat in Osogbo, alleged that Aregbesola’s government remains the most corrupt, deceitful and bankrupt since Nigeria attained independence in 1960.
Omisore, who distributed food items to widows and retirees in the state, as parts of his new year package for the vulnerable claimed that Osun had a combined cost of over N500billion uncompleted projects. He also queried the relevance of N174 billion 2018 budget of Aregbesola, contending that the debt profile of the state is not commensurate with the infrastructure amenities the state government spends its financial resources on.
“There is nothing exciting about Osun’s 2018 budget of approximately N174 billion when the combined cost of uncompleted projects under execution in the state is over N500 billion. Where will the funds execute Osun 2018 budget come from? For a state that announced it could implement only 50 per cent of the 2017 budget, other bogus estimates with no clear means of financing it is nothing, but a ruse.
“What is the big deal in Osun’s 2018 budget when the cost of uncompleted projects in the state is as huge as N500 billion? How relevant are these budgets to the well being of Osun people?” he queried.