Sun, 09 Jun 2024 Feature Article

Ekiti, Osun: Getting the battle lines drawn

Ekiti, Osun: Getting the battle lines drawn

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the 2026 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections are less than 27 and 28 months respectively. In Osun State, it is believed in the All Progressives Congress (APC) family circle that former Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s tendency worked for the then Candidate, now Governor Ademola Adeleke and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 2022 election. Prominent among this tendency were Wale Bolorunduro and Kolapo Alimi who eventually became the State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment. On the flipside, it is also believed that a major tendency in the PDP, as represented by the Shuaib Oyedokuns and the Dotun Babayemis, also worked for former Governor Gboyega Oyetola and APC in the same election. So, there’s a counter-balance of forces!

As 2026 fast approaches, it is too early to predict where the pendulum will swing! But, whichever way, Adeleke is the incumbent governor; and, despite his administration’s contamination by terrible management, poor decision-making and policy instability, the governor is perceived to be performing. For instance, he is paying the backlog of salary arrears owed Osun workers during the APC years and this may work in his favour. Nonetheless, there is nothing permanent about incumbency. After all, Oyetola was the incumbent governor when he was removed from office.

Truth be told, PDP is unsettled in Ekiti just as APC is gasping for breath in Osun. But it is interesting to note that, in Ekiti, PDP has been reduced to a non-existent political party. It is in tatters, with the umbrella torn into many parts, to the extent that Ayo Fayose who is seen as the leader of the party has already declared support for Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji’s 2nd Term bid, that he (Oyebanji) may have an edge. The same goes for former Governor Segun Oni, who also contested as the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the last exercise.

Still on Osun APC, to say that there are no challenges for the Tajudeen Lawal-led party will only amount to an attempt at lubricating the ego of pretence. Conversely, those who may be thinking that giants cannot be defeated had better interrogate how David defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17: 50-53) and how the fearless Caleb and Joshua reconnoitered the Land of Canaan (Numbers 13:30). Be that as it may, a political party that wants to wrestle power from a very stubborn ruling party must truly take the bull by the horn! Since election victory is a factor of the number of votes lawfully secured, Osun APC must try to win the people’s hearts, including the state civil servants’.

For Osun APC, South Africa’s landmark elections have again shown that there’s strength in unity! Therefore, the search for unity and peace has become a sine qua non if it is to stand a better chance against the ruling party in the state. Towards achieving this, the starting line is to sincerely admit that avertable mistakes were made before, during, even after the July 16 2022 Osun governorship exercise; and that genuine efforts are being made to rebuild the party.

In a three-part intervention entitled ‘Osun APC and some hard home truths’, seven months ago, yours sincerely did highlight some of the ills that have deepened mistrust in Osun APC and I believe that a word should be sufficient for the wise! Therefore, as 2026 nears us by the eyelids, let the party prefer selling its sweet stories as an attractive alternative to getting drenched in the miasma of political brickbats. What Osun APC needs at this crucial time is prioritizing election victory over humiliating ‘monkey-dey-work-baboon-dey-chop’ attitudes. Most importantly, it will be in President Bola Tinubu’s objective interest as APC National Leader to reconcile all the feuding factions in the state chapter; and that’s if Osun APC sincerely wants to draw lessons from the past.

Yes, Osun and Ekiti are a tale of two destinies and it is all about transformation capabilities. Take, for instance, while one governor is acting in line with the common sense interpretation of development by building an export-oriented economy and the right types of infrastructure that can generate revenue, the other is just feeding his herds and emphasizing white elephant projects, thereby mindlessly diverting the meagre resources that are meant to construct Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and rural roads to unnecessary charades.

Since Oyebanji is on the right track, the opposition doesn’t seem to exist in Ekiti. His considerable investment in the power sector in a bid to fix power infrastructure and boost economic activities in line with his shared prosperity agenda is a demonstration of the seriousness of intent. Thankfully, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently transferred electricity regulatory oversight to the state in line with the new Electricity Act 2023. Surely certainly, this momentous milestone has made an immeasurable impact on the lives of the people.

Fondly called BAO by his admirers, Oyebanji is reportedly the first governor to pay “the new Hazard Allowance and the newly-adjusted CONMESS”. He is also reputed as “the second to pay the Medical Residency Training Funds among State Tertiary Health Institutions in the Southwest region.” No doubt about it, these steps will go a long way towards encouraging resident doctors as well as improving their “commitment to work and training at this critical period of economic hardship.”

The governor’s “dedication, hard work and unwavering commitment to the service of Ekiti State” was reflected in his incredibly significant trip to the United States of America to attract investments to the state. But one important investment destination of interest BAO must explore is the Netherlands, to learn about how the country got its agriculture right! Ekiti needs to learn about how a country with the geographical size of the state has become the world’s 2nd largest exporter of food and agricultural products, after the United States of America.

Discreet investigations have also shown that Land of Honour and Integrity’ is blessed with a number of micro- and mini-hydro possibilities, including Ero and Itapaji Dams. Again, this is where accessing a sense of fraternal ties with countries like Denmark and Vietnam comes in! A trip to the former will intimate the governor with how to turn slow running rivers into electricity while the latter will treat him to how the once war-ravaged country now has the lowest unit cost of electricity globally.

‘History is falsified because the victors write history’, so says the East African proverb. Put differently, ‘if the hunter writes the story, the lion will look like a weakling.’ Well, those who carried out pioneering studies like Gunnar Myrdal, René Dumont and André Gunder Frank have shown conclusively how to develop a country. In their seminal works, they argued that in democracy, development processes like the provision of clean water, dispensary, primary schools and state banks, among others, always starts from the base. Dumont’s classic, ‘False Start in Africa’, came out in 1966. But it is sad that Africa continues to swim irresistibly in the same mistakes, even in 2024. For God’s sake, why should a book written in 1966 about the systemic inadequacies in Africa still be relevant in this time and age? But again, this is how we have fared as a continent and it’s a shame!

Obviously, our continent is being ravaged by what Frank referred to as the ‘The Development of Underdevelopment’. However, it is believed that Oyebanji is in a determined confrontation with this leadership deficit in Ekiti. With the inauguration of the MSME Clinics Garment Hub and the proposed establishment of an Information Communication Technology (ICT) hub in the state by the national government, it can only get better!

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*Komolafe wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])

Which team do you think has the higher chance of winning the 2024 elections?

Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024