Osun 2018: Whose Head, The Cap Fits Better? By Asawe Oluwatobi

As the state of Osun governorship elections draws closer, political actors and gladiators across party lines have swung into actions with all efforts geared at conducting all-inclusive primaries which will allow respective parties to unite and forge common front.

On one hand, the incumbent, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has set high standards by delivering excellently across all sectors of governance. He has set paces with unprecedented strides in areas of road construction, infrastructural development and unrivalled investment into education. These feats have further endeared the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) to the omoluabi (The Virtuous) in the state of osun.

With only a few weeks left before the ruling party, APC elects her flag bearer for the governorship election, aspirants numbering up to 20 have expressed interest in the race for Bola Ige house. In order for the APC to retain control of governance in the state, it must not only rely on the popularity of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola among the electorates but must also see to the emergence of a candidate which will be accepted across board.

Like a game of chess, political gladiators are already positioning themselves and scheming all manner of tactics to become the elected flagbearer of the party at the gubernatorial polls scheduled for September this year as stated by INEC.

Memories of Osun west senatorial district election last year, are still fresh in our brain, it was a necessary litmus test for the Progressives in the state. This is where it becomes dicey and where APC has to play the right card because the party is in possession of the joker.

It’s crucial at this progressive moment that the state party leadership led by Hon Gbenga famodun must identify prevailing issues, viz zoning and home base/foreigner dichotomy, and see to it that these concerns are adequately catered for in choosing a flag bearer for our party.

Close to three decade of creating the state of Osun, the baton of governorship has often been exchanged between two main senatorial district, osun central and osun east. A close study shows that the first civilian governor, Late Isiaka Adeleke is a native of  Ede, Osun west but his laudable plans to transform the state were short lived as his twenty two (22) months of governance was truncated by the military junta. At the return to democratic dispensation in 1999, Chief  Bisi Akande from Ila Orangun, Osun Central emerged as the governor. Akande failed in his reelection bid in 2003, which paved way for Prince Oyinlola olagunsoye from Okuku, the same Osun Central again, to become the governor, he ruled from 2003 to 2010.

One would have thought that fairness and justice would be served to the people of Osun west to produce the number one citizen of the state but as fate would have it, the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola from Ilesha, Osun East won in the tribunal court after three years of Oyinlola second tenure. Simply put, for the 242 months for which the state has governed under democratic dispensation, Osun west senatorial district has only led for 22 months.

Osun west has for long been unduly marginised in this regards, this is worrisome because the state has denied the wealth of leadership expertise, intellectual strength and strategic insight which the citizens of the district could have contributed.

Opinion sampling and visitations to different political brokers within the state reveal that incumbent speaker Rt Hon Najeem Salam, beats all criteria and comes up as one that will help the course of APC in the forthcoming election.

The speaker hails from Ejigbo, Osun west senatorial district, a zone that has been generally accepted to produce the next governor in line with party stakeholders arrangement since it is the only zone that is yet to produce a governor to complete a single tenure.

Furthermore, a glance at the stewardship report of the state house of assembly under the incumbent speaker, Rt, Hon Najeem reveals his dogmatic efforts and proven leadership strength to deliver and improve the quality of lives of Osun residents. The synergy drawn between the legislature and the executive in the State despite the dwindling financial resources available, can best be described as the equilibrium point at which development of the State is engendered.

Since his election as the Honorable speaker to preside the fifth and sixth assembly, the legislative house under his watch has passed a total number of forty eight (48) bills, fifty two (52) resolutions has been taken and also conducted public hearing sessions on seven bills during which views, opinions and observations of stakeholders and members of the public were taken.

It would interest you that, Rt. Hon Najeem salaam and his parliamentarians also reviewed the cases of the disengaged staff of the State Tertiary Institutions in Ilesa, Esa-Oke, Iree and Ila-Orangun and approved the reinstatement of some of them and also considered the report of the  House Public Accounts Committee on the audit exercise carried out on the income and expenditures of the  four State Tertiary Institutions in Ilesa, Esa-Oke, Iree and Ila-Orangun and recommended, among other things, a self-financing status for each of these institutions.

Moreo, the Legislative house as well, held an interactive session with the Management of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso which deliberated extensively on such vital issues like joint ownership, staffing, admission policy and challenges facing the Institution; and mediated in the prolonged industrial action embarked upon by Medical Doctors in the service of the State of Osun, and this, among other efforts, led to the suspension of the strike action by the Doctors.

Similarly, Rt hon Najeem Salam has practiced politics within the state all his life. He has identified with party members even before APC seize control of governance in the state. The speaker is therefore “osun-bred” and is certain to pacify proponents of a home based individual as the next governor. The emergence of Rt hon Najeem Salam as APC candidate will calm all nerves and unify political blocs within the party. This can only result into victory for our party at the polls.

The party leadership must thread carefully and provide a level playing ground for all aspirants at the primary election.

As members of the progressive folds, the only way to ensure continuity of good governance that the state presently enjoys under Ogbeni is to return another progressive as next governor of our dear state of osun at the elections. This is a debt that we all must pay. State of Osun must never again return to the days of backwardness as witnessed during the reins of the opposition.

In my opinion, if you ask me again, whose head, does the cap fits better? I confidently go with Rt, Hon Najeem Salaam



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