The carnival like atmosphere that usually comes with every election year in the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is yet on the loose again, with the state governorship election fast approaching.
Just like in previous years, an array of aspirants have surfaced and from all indications, the 2022 race for the PDP governorship ticket is more colourful given the mix of the old and the young, including those never imagined could pick up the party’s nomination forms. This, no doubt, has kept many in the political circle in Osun State wondering.
In this piece, TIMOTHY ENIETAN-MATTHEWS examines each of these aspirants, their strengths, pedigree and weaknesses, with a view to allowing members of the public, especially party delegates to know who their aspirants are.
Born on the 2nd of April 1955, Akinbade, a Civil Engineer by training, served as a commissioner in different capacities under three succesive military administrations in Osun state.
In 2001, he was elected chairman of Osun State PDP before he became the Secretary to the State Government in 2003, in which capacity he served till 2010.
It will be safe to refer to Alhaji Akinbade as a veteran governorship aspirant as he was a contender for the governorship seat in 2011 until the Aregbesola administration came on board and truncated the scheduled 2011 gubernatorial election in the State. In 2014, Akinbade dumped the PDP for Labour Party where he contested the gubernatorial election, only to return to the PDP in 2018 to contest for the gubernatorial ticket. He however left the PDP again to pick the gubernatorial ticket in ADC for the 2018 election.
Alhaji Akinbade is once again running on the platform of PDP to lead the state for the next four years.
Till date, Akinbade’s greatest political credential remains his being a three-time commissioner, SSG, and party chairman, making him one of the aspirants on the PDP that needs no introduction.
The former SSG hails from a Senatorial District that is agitating to produce the next governor of Osun State since they have never produced a governor, exept the 22 months stint the late Isiaka Adeleke had under the Ibrahim Babangida transition.
It must however be noted that Akinbade’s greatest undoing as he goes into the PDP primary election on the 26th of January, is his inconsistency and what many believe to be his life and death ambition to be Osun governor.
Aside his constant dumping of PDP to pick gubernatorial tickets elsewhere, Akinbade comes from one of the smallest local government areas of Osun State, which may be a disadvantage in terms of numbers in the election proper if he eventually wins the PDP ticket. Also to his disadvantage is the belief that he does not have the financial muscle to run a well oiled electioneering campaign.
Senator Ademola Adeleke, popularly called the dancing Senator, is no doubt a household name in Osun, not because of any outstanding achievements but on account of his being the younger brother of a former governor of the state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke.
It will be recalled that Senator Adeleke had an almost free ride in replacing his brother, Isiaka at the Senate when the former governor died in 2017. Riding still on the popularity of his brother and a family with deep pockets, Senator Ademola Adeleke won the PDP governorship ticket in 2018 and went on to narrowly miss becoming governor after his victory in the first ballot was declared inconclusive.
Adeleke comes from Ede, where his family is highly respected and can be sure of bulk voting coming his way in any election, just as funds for electioneering campaigns cannot be a problem for him.
The above not withstanding, Senator Adeleke comes with a baggage that has refused to go away; his educational background and question marks surrounding his certificate!. His certificate forgery case before an Abuja High Court, may, among other things like the uncertainty about his religion and rumours that he takes orders from his elder sister, may work against him either at the primaries or the election proper.
Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, an aspirant on the platform of the PDP in 2018, is the Chairman, Mutual Group.
The astute businessman became a household name in 2018 shortly before the PDP primaries, as he was a major contender facing Senator Adeleke squarely for the primaries, which he lost under controversial circumstances.
Arguably the most read among the aspirants with a PhD, Ogunbiyi has attended several leadership training outside the country, with great administrative skills and experience.
He is an aspirant with good followership among the elites.
Ogunbiyi however has issues that may work against him in the forthcoming primaries, as he has been accused of abandoning his supporters after the election, being too assertive and independent-minded who could become high handed if given power.
Some party members also accused him of not doing enough to rescue the former Chairman of the Osun State PDP during his trying period
Young Dele Adeleke came to prominence during the 2018 governorship election result collation, when he was the returning officer for his uncle, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
His five star performance in the face of intimidation during election result collation warmed him to the heart of the teeming youths of the state.
A thoroughbred professional, Dele has over two decades of flourishing career in the banking industry. And as the face of the youth, he has been a unifying factor between the group led by his uncle and that of the former chairman of the party.
He has been a peacemaker and for this reason, many called on him to come and rescue the party. With the family’s huge support from their hometown; Ede, this could be a great advantage.
The above not withstanding, a good number of members of the group that suffered from the vindictive posture of his uncle are still not comfortable with him, believing he could tow the path of his uncle, while others believe he could bow to family pressure and withdraw from the race.
Dotun Babayemi came to limelight through his program, Alafia Dotun, a free medical program that has impacted on the lives of a lot of people across the state.
His political adventure, during the 2018 governorship election in Osun State, when he was a major sponsor of the ADP and in 2019, when he contested on the party’s platform for the Osun West Senatorial District, where he garnered 44, 000 votes, an unprecedented feat for new party, is a testament to the level of his level of acceptance in the state.
Dotun however later joined the Peoples Democratic Party and showed interest in running for the senatorial seat.
The aspirant, who schooled in Nigeria, England and the United States, is a lawyer and an entrepreneur with over 20,000 staff under his direction.
Popularly called Omoba Dotun Babayemi (ODB), born December 5, 1966 to the family of late (Oba) Dr Solomon Babayemi, who was the immediate past Olufi of Gbongan in Ayedaade Local Government Area, State of Osun, he currently sits atop a group of companies, Fort Knox Group, with interests in security solutions and telecommunications.
Though Dotun is not new to politics, he is not well rooted in the politics of the PDP, while many also see him as too polished for the kind of politics played in Osun State. He however has a mass appeal due to his philanthropic gestures and is believed to be a major force in the forthcoming election, taking into consideration the large voting strength of his local government, Ayedaade.
Sanya Omirin is a former Chairman of Atakumosa East Local Government Area of Osun State and a former Commissioner of the Revenue and Fiscal Mobilization Commission. He is a grassroot mobilizer and a stabilising factor in the party.
An entrepreneur with interest in the hospitality industry and farming, Omirin’s strength is in his firm control of his local government and great showing in his federal constituency
Sanya is however from Ijesa South Federal Constituency where Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate former governor of the state hails from. Many are of the opinion that the Ijesa already had their eight years as governor and should allow other areas of the state to have their turn.
It is also believed that the voting strength of his local government is another disadvantage for him.