BY ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES#
The recently concluded senatorial rerun election which returned the PDP candidate, Mr Adeleke as overwhelmingly elected has a lot to teach politicians going forward to 2019. While the PDP under Senator Ali Modu Sheriff would understandably beat its chest on this victory, it will be wrong to conclude that it was really a PDP victory. From a distance, these are some of the factors I have identified as having contributed to the victory of Mr Ademola Adeleke, a brother to the deceased former Senator.
1. THE ALI MODU SHERIFF FACTOR: Hate or love him, the former governor of Borno State, former Senator of the Federal Republic, former BOT Chairman of the ANPP and one of the few politicians who withstood the Olusegun Obasanjo onslaught against opposition parties in 2003-2007, is one of Nigeria’s most formidable political leaders. He is deft at the chess board of power and knows how to turn situations around to his advantage. One of his best selling points is that he has a very sharp eyes for opportunities. Poaching up Ademola Adeleke from the APC on the eve of the APC’s badly fought primaries is the beginning of this victory dance. Left to the old PDP dribblers, the PDP ticket would have been reserved for the fattest moneybags, but Sheriff literally took the PDP ticket to Ademola in his bedroom, while the latter was still disoriented about his fate in the hands of Aregbesola. Sheriff’s ability to bring warring factions of the PDP in Osun West together for this project is also a big credit to his political credentials.
2. THE APC NWC: Technically, the ruling All Progressives Congress should get more credit for this victory than any other group. Most of those who were deployed to the field during the election are APC members. Recall, that the NWC of the Party had earlier disqualified Mudashiru Hussain during screening only for the State Working Committee of the Party to reinstate him and as it is alleged, impose him as candidate of the Party. In politics, some people work best when they are not working. The apathy on the part of, at least, most members of the APC’s NWC made the terrain easier for the younger Adeleke to bulldoze his way to victory. It goes without saying that had the APC NWC been passionate about the victory of their Party’s candidate, the news this morning will be different.
THE APC CAMPAIGN TEAM: This is not unconnected with the Party’s disagreement with the candidate of Mudashiru Hussain. Any good political observer would have noted that the Party’s campaign team was mostly made up of people without any serious electoral credentials. To put it more bluntly, a good number of those who made it to the campaign team for Osun West Senatorial rerun do not have any enviable history of electoral successes. The team is what may be described as the Party’s team D.
THE ISIAKA ADELEKE FACTOR: The suddenness of Senator Isiaka’s death and the many insinuations about who was responsible for his death has a lot to do with the outcome of this contest. For a man who commands an intimidating popularity among his constituents, it will be stating the obvious to say that Osun West voters saw Ademola’s victory as a way of rewarding him for his efficient representation and another way of disappointing those they accused of complicity in his death. One will not be far from the truth to say that 98% of late Senator Isiaka’s supporters- even though they might still be in the APC- voted for and also worked for the victory of Senator-elect Ademola Adeleke. For a people who believe in the value of experience in political leadership, Ademola is seen as the most fitting heir to his brother’s political dynasty.
TEMPERAMENT OF INCUMBENCY: For a Party that has been in power for close to eight years now, it is expected that its popularity would have waned, more, as a result of the failure of a good number of the electorate to understand some of its policies, rather than as a result of the failure of the Party to meet the people’s aspirations. The electorate are more inclined to new options every election year than a woman of easy virtue is inclined to trying out new sex styles. Even in the world’s most advanced democracies, the chances of opposition political parties winning elections are usually higher every election year than that of the incumbent. For example, neither of the Democratic Party or Republicans has been able to succeed itself after eight years in the saddle. The chances of an opposition winning in an election is so good that the electorate may not mind voting for a failed politician who managed to get the nomination of a new Party outside the one in power.
2018 ELECTION: There will be a governorship election in Osun come 2018 and this election provided a good opportunity for different political blocs to test run their capacity and also renew political allegiances. Considering that politics is mostly a game of reciprocity, some politicians, especially of the PDP who are interested in the governorship seat next year must have coalesced with the Ademola camp to ensure his victory, expecting the Senator-elect to return the favor by next year. Also, the opposition would have seen this election as an opportunity to make a strong claim to the governorship come next year and there is no doubt that they achieved that. It will be unwise if the ruling Party to take a Party that shellacked it this way for granted. Winning in nine out of ten LGAs in an election is not a mean feat and the APC in Osun had better sat up than relax.