The result of the Osun West Senatorial District bye-election that witnessed victory for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State remained a watershed in the immediate history of the state.
It would not have been a surprise if the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) had made an encouraging impact but the party narrowly won a local government leaving the PDP to coast home the remaining nine local governments.
It was an incontestable victory as the ruling All Progressives Congress APC congratulated the winner and confessed to having learnt it’s lesson from its abysmal outing that has however raised unanswered questions about which party is in control in the State of the virtues .
To people outside the state that are not following political developments in the state, they can hurriedly jump to conclusion that the All Progressives Congress has lost the grip of the state.
But stalwarts of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party who knows better have continued to caution their members not to rejoice and comfortably relaxed with the victory feeling that all is well for the party.
The leaders are saying this at the backdoor of the governorship election that is knocking at the door of electorates in Osun State come 2018.
It would be recalled that the opposition PDP floored the ruling party by winning nine local governments leaving just one local government to APC in the result of the election that witnessed Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke emerging the Senator representing Osun West Senatorial District.
APC according to political analysts lost the election not because of none performance but largely due to over confidence, intra party wrangling, imposition, political miscalculation among others.
Recall that the senatorial seat became vacant following the sudden death of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke in a circumstances that raised dust.
His sibling, Ademola Adeleke who enjoyed the backing of members of his family and community thereafter signified his intention to wear the shoe left behind by his senior brother.
Late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke was an illustrious son of Ede, the first civilian governor of the state, a grassroots politician who had long warmed himself to the heart of his people and indeed a philanthropist.
His death inflicted a very difficult to heal wound on his family, community and his numerous political associates and well wishers.
Therefore, when his brother Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke signified his intention to occupy the seat left by his brother at the red chamber on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, it was an acclaimed welcome development to all and sundry.
Though already initially satified the flag bearer of the ruling APC, his choice was overturned and asked to go to the primary knowing fully that as a green horn in the race and the backing of governor Rauf Aregbesola for another candidate, he may not come out victorious.
He quickly added two plus two and followed wise counsel by opting out of APC and joining the waiting to receive Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
The Peoples Democratic Party PDP quickly took advantage of the goodwill of the deceased Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke and endorsed Ademola as their candidate which consequently paid them off.
The failure of the APC to allow a soft landing for Adeleke whom some stalwarts disowned was largely responsible for the failure of the party, a political observer conclude.
Besides, the APC choice of Senator Mudasiru Hussein who came from the same town alongside the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salaam, and Professor Mojeed Alabi of the House of Representatives left other prominent towns in the Senatorial District wondering if they have electoral value at all.
Meanwhile, some prominent members of APC led by Osogbo grassroots politician, Alhaji Fatai Diekola had openly registered their protest at the way things are going in their party and strongly declared their support for whosoever emerged the candidate of PDP
Some politica analysis also contended that the APC political rally preceding the election in Ede where stalwarts of the party made statements that injured the feelings of the people of the town particularly as it affects the personality of their own children may have equally contributed to the woeful failure of the party in the ancient town.
Capitalising on the political miscalculation of the APC, the opposition PDP who had earlier been factionalized teamed up to fight the battle as they conceded to Adeleke’s overture to be the party’s candidate as aspiring members of the party magnanimously stepped down for him.
These and many others were attributed to be factors that might have worked against the ruling All Progressives Congress at the election witnessing the emergence of PDP flooring the APC.
Leaders of the opposition PDP were quick to warn members not to see their victory at the polls as assurance of victory at subsequent elections in the state.
They were bold to acknowledge the underlying factors that led to the failure of the All Progressives Congress.
The opposition party before the incident that called for a bye election was divided into two factions led by Hon. Soji Adagunodo and Dr. Bayo Faforiji both from Ijesaland in Osun East Senatorial District of the state.
While Bayo Faforiji had the strong backing of Senator Iyiola Omisore, a former Deputy governor and former gubernatorial candidate of PDP, while Soji Adagunodo had the backing of many bigwigs of the party including, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, BOT member, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa, immediate past chairman, Senator Olu Alabi, Akogun Lere Oyewumi, Hon. Adejare Bella, former Speaker, Osun House of Assembly to mention but few.
Ademola Adeleke emerged the candidate of the Soji Adagunodo faction who had a recognized executive committee on ground and the faction was supported by the Bayo Faforiji faction under the express permission of Senator Iyiola Omisore who joined the Adeleke campaign train.
However, following the judgement of the court of the Supreme Court which affirmed Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee as the authentic leader of the PDP, the party took some steps to right what they thought was wrong and one of the steps Markafi took was to dissolve the executive committee of PDP headed by Hon. Soji Adagunodo in Osun.
PDP National headquarter consequently put in place a caretaker and reconciliation committees headed by a former Ogun state Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sarafadeen Ishola
Upon assumption of duty in Osun State, Ishola and his team made attempt at bringing back to PDP fold aggrieved members of the party that had left the party in search of greener pastures.
Among such former prominent members was the former National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who opted out and join the party that ousted him from power as the governor of Osun State.
Oyinlola, now a member of All Progressives Party was Visited at his country home in Okuku by PDP stalwarts led by Sarafadeen Ishola lamenting the humiliation he suffered in the hands of the leadership of the party at the time.
But Ishola and his entourage begged the former governor of Osun State to forgive them for what they called the injustice he suffered in the party which led to his exit from its fold.
The chairman who delivered the party’s apology and asked for the forgiveness of the former Osun state governor however said the visit was ‘not to lure’ Oyinlola back to the party but to apologize to him for the injustice meted to him by the party.
“The decision to be member of any party is a personal one and we respect that decision of yours. Our mission is to come and ask for forgiveness, that you forgive us in your heart and we admit that what happened to you was an injustice and an error.” Sarafadeen Ishola appealed.
Thereafter, all members of the caretaker committee prostrated to Oyinlola to appeal for his forgiveness.
Apart from the caretaker chairman, several other leaders of the PDP were in the entourage. This included former deputy to Oyinlola, Erelu Olusola Obada, former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adejare Bello and former member of the National Population Commission, Alhaji Lere Oyewumi, among others
Oyinlola in his response said he cherished the visit and explained that he felt concerned that issues went the way they went during his last days in the PDP despite all his efforts to ensure the unity of the party was protected.
He said the reign of indiscipline and impunity within the PDP led to his exit and the series of crises within the party as well as the division that later resulted in the electoral setback for the party.
“I want to say that I did everything humanly possible to make sure that the division did not come from me. I went to the extent of writing to the leadership of the party, the then Mr. President to draw his attention to the issues that were eroding on the unity of the party but it seemed my own sincerity about the whole issues were misconstrued.”
The former governor who said he felt vindicated by the visit and the apologies tendered, maintained that politicians must rub minds together and exploit all avenues of peaceful resolution of conflicts.
“I want to take a recourse to the Bible which says ‘ if your brother transgesses, rebuke him; if he repents, forgive him. it is on that score that I want to say I have forgiven and forgotten all that was done to me.”
He, however, said he was happy that the PDP chieftains said they respected his decision to choose the party he wished to belong to while he used the occasion to also introduce some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state who joined him to receive them.
Oyinlola advised politicians in the country to always seek for the progress of the country, irrespective of the side of the political divide they belonged.
According to him, political affiliation of politicians may differ but the delivery of democracy dividends to the people must be important to them.
However, the effort of the committee yielded fruitful dividend when they visited the former Secretary to Osun State government, Alhaji Fatai Akinade Akinbade in Osogbo.
Akinbade regime as Chairman of PDP in Osun State wrestled power from the then Action Congress of Nigeria ACN and foiled attempt at second tenure in office of Chief Adebisi Akande as governor of Osun State.
Akinbade opted out of PDP when he felt aggrieved and joined the Labour Party and subsequently became the party’s candidate at the 2014 gubernatorial election in the state.
Akinbade who had thousands of his supporters on ground at the event welcomed the reconciliatory move and commended the National Executive Council of PDP for putting in place a caretaker committee to unite all factions in the state adding that the committee is a better platform for those that are returning to where he said they rightly belonged.
He urged the committee to reach out to all those who left the party in the wake of the crisis irrespective of their status saying that the people of the state who are fed up with the current party in government in the state will be disappointed if PDP fails to put it’s house in order.
His words: “Our unity will build confidence in the electorate, we must close rank to remove APC, Our strength is in unity. I want to plead with you to be fair and endeavour to visit everybody. Honour them with your plea. PDP is the only solution to Osun problems, We should not misuse the opportunity we have now”.
The former Secretary to Osun State government noted that his exit was a matter of principle adding that he had contributed immensely to the progress of PDP in Osun State.
The Sarafadeen Ishola Committee visited some other prominent aggrieved members of the party in the three Senatorial district of Osun that had left all in an attempt to bring them back and form a formidable team to tackle the ruling APC in Osun.
The Committee is also making frantic effort to settle internal wrangling within the party and probably allow democracy to take its course in the emergence of who is who including the flag bearer of the part in the next year governorship election in Osun State.
However, contrary to plan for Congresses at ward, local government and state government levels of the party initially, a move to harmonize delegates along Adagunodo/Faforiji camp is already causing crisis in the party.
Adagunodo supporters have rejected such an arrangement saying that it was designed to limit their strength.
The issue now is whether the effort of the caretaker committee can effectively sufficiently subdue the power of the ruling APC that has worked tirelessly to change Osun for the better.