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How infighting caused APC’s defeat in Osun

Internal wrangling and revolt against the ruling party by the people were partly responsible for the defeat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun…

Internal wrangling and revolt against the ruling party by the people were partly responsible for the defeat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, findings by Daily Trust revealed.

Hundreds of thousands of voters thronged to polling booths across the state on Saturday for what many described as a two horse-race between outgoing Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC and governor-elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

Counting of votes began in earnest and as results started trickling in, there was apprehension in the APC camp and it became obvious before the close of the ballot that the opposition PDP was cruising to victory.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the early hours of Sunday, declared Adeleke the winner of the election.

According to the Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Adeleke polled a total of 403,371 against Oyetola’s 375, 027 votes, giving a difference of 28, 344 votes.

Adeleke won in 17 local government areas while Oyetola, who won the 2018 election in a controversial manner, secured victory in 13.

While some analysts say the victory in a state considered as the ancestral home of the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has provided a catalyst for the PDP to see the opportunity for more electoral victories in 2023, others have a different view.

Daily Trust recalled that Oyetola defeated Adeleke in 2018 after securing 255, 505 votes in the re-run poll. Adeleke had 255,023 votes at the time with many PDP members alleging that they were rigged out at the polls because they won in the first instance.

Osun State Governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke displayed his dancing skills in the church during a thanksgiving service to celebrate his victory in Ede yesterday

 

A video that went viral showed Adeleke shedding tears of joy as he dedicated the victory to his late brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, and the people of Osun State. He was in midst of his siblings, Deji Adeleke, Dupe Adeleke and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Douye Diri of Bayelsa State.

The governor-elect who joined active politics in 2017, said in a statement, “I am overwhelmed by your love and support.

“Our state has turned a new page. We have launched a landmark path for the progress and prosperity of our people.

“It is, therefore, with a strong faith in God and trust in our people that I accept my election as the governor of Osun State.

“I pledge my total commitment to the best interest of the state and the people.”

 

How APC defeats self

Daily Trust reliably gathered that the APC was unable to put its house in order before going to the Saturday’s poll.

The running battle between Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, who is the Minister of Interior, was not resolved.

Political allies of Aregbesola openly worked against the party even as some of them defected to the PDP before the commencement of the poll.

Aregbesola also shunned the exercise and thereafter mocked the outgoing governor in a tweet before he deleted the post.

One of the aides of Governor Oyetola, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Some of the APC chieftains who were tasked with one assignment or the other worked against the party because of the crisis within the party. Days leading to the election, it was difficult to know who was with us.”

It was learnt that the last-minute moves by Tinubu, a former interim Chairman of APC, Bisi Akande and National Secretary of the APC, Iyiola Omisore to pacify aggrieved members proved abortive.

Despite prompt payment of salaries and pensions, some electorate also condemned the governor for always “ignoring” the people.

A party chieftain in Iragbiji, the hometown of the governor, said, “On the day of the election, the governor left his polling unit after voting.  He left after addressing journalists; he couldn’t even interact with his supporters who were hailing him.

“That has been his attitude since 2018. He is not a politician,” he said.

The vote-buying factor

Our correspondent reports that the election also saw the two major parties buying votes.

Unlike in Ekiti, the PDP was able to match the APC in the amount distributed to willing voters. Interestingly, some voters collected money and still voted against the party that paid them as observed in some polling units.

But the issue of religion was not considered by the electorate as the candidate of the PDP ran a Christian-Christian ticket unlike Oyetola, a Muslim who had a Christian deputy.

Daily Trust reports that against criticisms and confrontations mounted before him for picking Christian deputy governorship candidate, Kola Adewusi, Adeleke was unruffled.

Of recent, the issue of flagbearers and their deputies coming from the same religion as exemplified in the Tinubu/Kashim Shettima presidential aspiration under the APC has unsettled Nigeria’s political environment even as some pundits believed the citizens should prioritise competence and service delivery instead of mundane issues.

In the Osun election, PDP’s members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were reportedly divided over the choice because both Adeleke and Adewusi are Christians.

APC’s strength in S/West challenged for 2023 – Professor Fage

Commenting on the outcome of the Osun State gubernatorial election, renowned political scientist, Professor Kamilu Sani Fage of Bayero University Kano (BUK) said it was an indication that the APC and its candidates can no longer take the perceived strength of the PDP in the South West for granted.

He said it was now clear that the ruling party and its candidates may no longer be able to boast of getting a clean sweep of votes in the South West “Because this shows that a lot of work is needed to be done in order for the party to get through.

“Another thing the result in Osun is indicating is that PDP is not a pushover; meaning it is regaining its old strength. In the 2023 election, it will be a hard battle for the ruling party because the PDP is recuperating from its defeat since 2015.”

On the same religion ticket (Christian-Christian) winning the election in Osun and its impact on the touted Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC for the presidential election, the professor of political science said the Osun reality may not really play any significant role in the outcome of the presidential election.

He said, “It is more of people trying to be politically relevant in their area; they think it is only by harping on religion that they will regain relevancy. But I think it (same religion ticket) will feature prominently in the campaign but it will not change the outcome of the result as people will want to believe.”

A Public Policy Expert, Abimbola Oyarinu (PhD), said the victory is a major confidence booster for the PDP and will help to keep balance within the party.

The lecturer with UNILAG said if the success is well-managed, it can tilt the electoral map in favour of the party.

“Election is about confidence. It can help tilt the electoral map, especially among the undecided in favour of the PDP,” he said.

He, however, counselled the APC to take the lessons from the defeat ahead of the 2023 election, by communicating effectively with the electorate, especially in relation to the challenges faced as a result of the global economy and the war in Ukraine.

Communication expert, Dr. Tunde Akanni said while the victory could serve as a morale booster, especially coming days after the humiliating defeat in Ekiti, it might have little influence on the presidential election.

The Associate Professor of Journalism, who hails from Osun State, added that a good number of residents of the state are interested in Tinubu’s presidency.

“All politics is local; a lot of Osun residents are interested in Tinubu’s presidency and even northerners have said this is the turn of the South. People wanted a change in Osun State and we can only congratulate them for achieving it,” he said.

The General Secretary of the pro-democracy organisation, the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations (J12CODEF), Nelson Ekujumi, urged the APC to do a post mortem on what went wrong in Osun and how it could be addressed before the general election.

Osun people have spoken – Buhari 

Following the announcement of the gubernatorial election in Osun yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Senator Adeleke on his victory.

The President in a message through his Spokesman, Femi Adesina, reassured Nigerians that his administration’s commitment to having credible elections remained unshaken.

Buhari expressed conviction that the people of Osun had expressed their will through the ballot, and the will of the people must always matter and be respected in a democracy.

He said the successful conduct of the election was a testimony to the maturity and commitment of all stakeholders involved in the electoral process, adding that this will further strengthen the integrity of the electoral process in the country.

It’s a signal of what to come in 2023 -Atiku, Saraki

The Presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who berated what he called the poor performance of the APC, said the march to reclaim Nigeria’s greatness has begun with the victory in Osun.

 “The referendum on the administration of the APC has commenced with the verdict of the people of Osun State in electing Senator Ademola Adeleke, while we know that the 2023 general election will be a full referendum,” he said.

The former vice president said that it was inconceivable that Nigerians will reward the APC for the failings of the last seven years.

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was one of the leaders of the PDP who monitored the election in Osun, said the victory was a demonstration that the party was unstoppable when its members worked together.

However, a former Minister of Works and Housing, Adeseye Ogunlewe, said PDP’s victory in Osun will have no effect on the 2023 election. He said the defeat suffered by the APC was a result of the infighting within the party in Osun State.

Ogunlewe, who is a chieftain of the APC and a staunch canvasser of Tinubu’s presidency, said the party needed to put its house in order ahead of the general poll.

From Abiodun Alade (Lagos), Clement A. Oloyede (Kano) & Muideen Olaniyi (Abuja)