President Muhammadu Buhari, in company of other top dignitaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday stormed Osogbo, Osun State capital, for the party’s rally in support of its candidate, Isiaka Oyetola, ahead of Saturday’s governorship election. TOPE FAYEHUN writes
As the residents of Osun State will on this Saturday go to poll to elect a successor of the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola, whose tenure will end in the next 69 days, President Muhammadu Buhari, and other leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday stormed the State of the Living Spring, to woo voters for the candidate of the party, Isiaka Oyetola. Buhari, who stormed the Osogbo City Stadium to solicit for votes for the APC candidate, urged the people of the state to support Oyetola. He also tasked the electorate to prevent corrupt politicians from coming to power in the state. Osun election, no doubt, will be an interesting one with the numbers of aspirants jostling to take over from the incumbent governor Rauf Aregbesola wose maximum two-term tenure will lapse on November 27, 2018. Among the numerous aspirants contesting for the same seat, there are pretenders and the jesters. Hence, for political analysts, it will be an easy task to know who is the best man for the job.
But with the presence of Buhari in Osogbo on Tuesday, it was however clear that the candidate of the APC has the full backing of both the party and the presidency for the election. It is now crystal clear to most of the political analysts to identify among the 48 aspirants to know who is the best man for the job.
With what is obtainable all over the world, the job of a governor is not just for anybody but for those who know the nitty-gritty of governance and have sound knowledge of economic process. Pundits believe that anybody can become a commissioner but not a governorship, particularly in Nigeria because the bulk stops at the table of the governor. In a Presidential system of government, according to observers, the success and failure of an administration lies on the shoulder of the governor.
An analyst, who expressed the optimism, said that no matter how tough the contest may seem, the APC candidate would emerge winner due to his performance when he was the Chief of Staff to Aregbesola. Whereas before the President visited the state, some analysts had predicted a tough contest, but with the visit, coupled with Aregbesola’s sterling performance in his eight-year as the governor of the state, Oyetola may win the poll.
No doubt about the fact that the primary that led to Oyetola’s emergence was stormy and ruffled some feathers, the skirmishes that arose as a result of the outcome of the exercise appear to have been contained with the presence of the President and the party leaders.
They have also resolved to close ranks for the party’s ultimate victory on Saturday.
Oyetola himself, being a fair player, who strongly believes in the saying that “a tree does not make a forest”, has since reached out to many of them and has also succeeded in winning them back to the fold.
However, observers said that thoBuharise who have refused to accept the olive branch presented to them are in the minority and may not have the capacity to muster enough votes that can stop Oyetola. An analyst, who craved anonymity said, “That he won the primary against some formidable forces that include Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Launched Yusuf; former Secretary to Osun State Government, Moshood Adeoti and over 20 others that contested for the APC ticket with him, speaks volume of his ability.” According to pundits, Oyetola stands tall far above other contestants in term of experience in boardroom politics and private sector economic management, having spent 30 years in the banking, finance, insurance, real estate and oil business. In terms of education, he is a learned fellow that has studied both in Nigeria and abroad. He holds degrees including Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Lagos.
Analysts are of the opinion that Oyetola shared the vision of the outgoing governor in all the six Integral plans that have succeeded in wiping away hunger, poverty, ignorance and provides good and affordable healthcare. This also includes wealth creation through provision for the need of the youths called Osun Youths Empowerment Schemes (OYES), a scheme that has been recommended by the World Banks to other states and currently been run by states and the Federal Government. They maintained that his articulation of facts and issues raised at a recent debate organised for candidates of various political parties for the September 22 election was a signpost to the electoral victory this weekend. They maintained that if under eight years, a man of Oyetola’s calibre could work with the governor without any stain or be accused of materials accumulation and no single person has accused him of theft or money laundering, then he is good for the post of governor.
Another observer, who followed Oyetola’s exemplary service to the people of his state said: “He acquinted himself so perfectly well with governance and its intricacies that he was practically into everything in the government, especially during Aregbesola’s second term in office.”
Indeed, at rallies and consultations, continuity and consolidation have been the message of the candidate. An analyst said: “Should this message be bought by the electorate, many of whom rate highly the Aregbesola’s reign, it may translate into huge votes for the APC candidate.”
At a recent interview, the candidate spoke about his drive, saying: “Our core agenda is continuity and consolidation. The six integral action plan of the outgoing administration has transformed the Osun landscape and changed the face of infrastructure in the state.”
According to him, “We shall be guided by the invaluable experiences we have acquired from the implementation of the 6-point integral action plan of banishing hunger, poverty, unemployment; restoring healthy living, promoting functional education and enhancement of communal peace and progress enunciated by the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration. We will ensure that the plan is objectively reviewed for effectiveness and efficiency in order to learn from what worked and what did not quite work.
“My approach shall be innovation, quality, accountability and effective teaching. Technical and vocational education will be strengthened to provide technical skills for our people. Higher education will not be left out. The focus of higher education will not be left out. The focus of higher tertiary education will be to produce self-reliant individuals.” Oyetola is also seen as a perfect successor to Aregbesola by many keen followers of political events in the state going by the the enormous influence he wields in the current administration and to keep the machinery of state moving at same tempo and direction.
Speaking on his chances of winning, even if there were a coalition, Oyetola said: “Coalition, alliance and merger are part of the antics of power struggle in a democracy. But obviously that is and can never be a threat to my ambition. Sovereignty rests with the people. They are the ultimate judge who will, on Saturday decide who gets their mandate. The people are sufficiently knowledgable and conscious of what they want. The APC has served them transparently and inclusively in the last eight years.
The people want continuity of governance. They want their children to continue to eat free and nourishing food in schools. They know that we value education. They want to continue to enjoy soft loan for business, and they know we are the ones that can serve them better. They know such alliance is a mere conspiracy to impose people with little or no capacity to provide the required leadership. They know we are not pretenders. I am confident that come Saturday, good people of Osun State will return the APC government to the Government House.” Speaking on the capability of Oyetola to succeed him, Aregbesola recently said: “Oyetola has justified his capacity and capability as a man of impeccable character and worthwhile personality who remains dogged and forthright to all policies that had impacted positively the lives of the citizens. “We are not in doubt about Oyetola’s competence and ability. He is calm and much more reserved. He knows the job and he will serve our people. He will advance the development programme of our party.”
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