Of Osun West And Lessons For Governor Aregbesola

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Akintokun Ajala

I watched the drama unfolding and I quickly conclude that Governor Rauf Aregebsola of Osun state alongside his close lieutenants have serious lessons to learn from controversies trailing Osun West senatorial rerun.

It is penny-wise pound foolish to refuse to grasp the full import of recent happenings. It is almost tantamount to an open revolt from the citizenry. The upcoming senatorial election is a very hard nut to crack. The outcome whether for or against the ruling party, should send strong signals to the state governor.

While I am of the school that the All Progressive Congress will still win the election, but the state can never be the same again afterwards. The re-run has already signaled a new level of activism among Osun people, one that is geared towards rejection of insistence on imposition and unpopular aspirant for 2018 gubernatorial election. A bitter lesson needs to be learnt now before it is too late.

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The resistance to the APC candidate in Osun West is a warning to the Number Citizen to adopt a new approach especially as to the selection of governorship candidate for 2018. The present plan to field either the Chief of Staff to the Governor or the Attorney General as a successor will not work. It is a recipe for failure. It is doomed to fail. If senate re-run can generate such heat, we all can imagine how tough and turbulent it will be to impose a Chief of Staff or the Attorney General on the state.

There is palpable anger in the land. Osun people are angry and bitter. Even within the inner circle of the governor, there are signs of cracks. I learnt in some hardcore APC social media forum, members are openly criticizing the governor. There is a sense that things are not going well in the state. There is the belief that the system has not manage itself very well to warrant the luxury of imposing candidates from central senatorial district.

Certain lessons need to be accepted and internalized ahead of 2018. First, the APC cannot win Osun if the party insisted on fielding any aspirants closely associated with the eight years rule of the governor. It will not work. Osun people will reject such candidate. Two, it will be a grave error to deny Osun West the gubernatorial slot. If the governor should insist on Central district, the APC will lose the election. Three, the Governor should launch a search process for a new face candidate who can be groomed without prominent role in the present administration. That is what former President Hollande of France did when he groomed the incumbent who even run for presidency outside the ruling party. Four,the Governor should focus on the town in the West that is disadvantaged and support a new face ,young and digital aspirant who can take the infrastructural revolution to a new level.

The above conditions may sound impossible to fulfill. It may generate angry reactions from those around the Governor. It may even warrant backlash against dissenting forces. But the Democratic Party of United States lost to MAGA because its leadership failed to realize that Americans are yearning for change. If the Democratic Party had not schemed out Clinton rival, an outsider from the primary, the Democrats would have won that election. Governor Aregbesola should not be treated like Barrack Obama who with all incumbency advantage lost a bid to install a successor.

Those who love the governor truly should swing into action before it is too late. A search for a new vibrant successor from a disadvantaged town in the West should commence now. Doing so will not deny the Governor and his inner caucus anything. They will secure protection and their interest will be largely covered. Governor Aregbesola can return to the Senate or emulate former Governor Adams Oshiomole.

This suggestion is a thing the state governor and his men should take seriously. Osun has changed dramatically and it will change even more fiercely before 2018. APC cannot win 2018 poll with a candidate from the Central zone or with a candidate who has been part of the eight-year of Aregbesola rule.

If anybody wants to test the veracity of the above counsel, just take a trip to Osun state now and gauge the feelings of the people. There is anger and hunger in the land. The many good work of Aregbesola is coloured by his few shortcomings. This is likely to grow. A check through the major towns in West showed that APC leaders are struggling to keep voters’ loyalty.

If ordinary Senate re-run is generating so much heat and pressure, we all can imagine a 2018 poll in which the Western zone is denied the ticket and in which the governor insisted on fielding an insider instead of a new face aspirant with requisite qualifications and experience. If there is an open revolt now, how hot it will be then only God can say?

Above all, Aregbesola as a developmental wizard has done a lot with his team. How best to preserve the legacy is not by imposing another supposed ally. It is by backing a fresh face that can gather and garner votes from present friends and foes of the present leadership.

Governor Aregbesola should learn from unfolding drama. Osun people are angry.

Ajala sent this piece from Ikeja Lagos

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