Ahead of Saturday governorship election in Osun State, TOPE FAYEHUN, in this report presentsmajor contenders among the 48 candidates of various political parties jostling to take over the tenancy of Bola Ige Government House from its current occupant, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola
Osun state, the state of the Living Spring is currently the synocure of political analysts and power brokers in the country because of the forthcoming governorship election in the state. In a matter of days, precisely, this Saturday, the residents of the state would be confronted with one simple task of choosing who governs them in the next four years.
But analysts observed that the assignment before voters in the state is not as simple as it appears due to the unprecedented interests that the election has generated both at local and national turfs.
Although there are 48 political parties participating in the elections, there are indications that the election will be a straight fight among five political parties out of the 48 that have presented candidates for the poll.
At the end of the Saturday's election, the winner will succeed the outgoing governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, after he might have spent the constitutionally allowed two-terms in office.
The serious contenders include a former secretary to the state government, Fatai Akinbade of the African Democratic Congress (ADC); immediate past secretary to the state government, Moshood Adeoti of the Action Democratic Party (ADP); and the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress(APC), Adegboyega Oyetola.
Others are Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP); and a former senator, Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Unarguably, in terms of qualification, observers believe that the five top candidates are eminently qualified to govern the state, based on their exposure, qualification, and achievements, both in private and public sectors.
However, some analysts observe that with this five-way contest where the godfathers are competing with each other to wield influence that will no doubt have far-reaching consequences in the 2019 presidential election, the people and their yearnings seem to have been relegated to the background.
The permutations going on in the Osun exercise are about power acquisition and consolidation in Nigeria's larger political field, hence the need to deploy all political machinery to the state so as to secure the needed victory.
Currently, political intrigues are at top gear among the five leading candidates seeking voters' attention, and their various parties are not leaving anything to chances in order to ensure victory for their candidates at the poll.
Fatai Akinbade - ADC
One of the strong contenders for the governorship sit in the state is Alhaji Fatai Akinade Akinbade.
Akinbade, a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), was born in April 1955 in Ogbaagbaa, a town in Ola-Oluwa Local Government Area of the state.
The candidate of ADC was the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that sent the administration of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD), under the former governor Adebisi Akande packing in 2003, and installed Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as governor.
Analysts are of the view that Akinbade was compensated with the post of the SSG, which is the next position after the governor and his deputy, because of the then electoral feat and later became the leader of the party in the Iwo Federal Constituency in 2004.
Before then, the engineer turned politician, was the Commissioner for Works under a Military Regime in 1994.
In 2014, Akinbade contested the same position on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) but lost to the incumbent Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Akinbade, who is believed in several quarters to be a political game-changer in the state was a contender to become PDP candidate for this coming governorship election before dumping the party for ADC after he lost the primaries to Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Moshood Adeoti - ADP
Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, the candidate of the ADP is one of the leading contenders as far as the race to the Osun government house is a concern.
Adeoti, a 63-year-old politician, hails from Iwo in Iwo Local Government area of the Osun West Senatorial District.
The ADP candidate, popularly called 'Sheu' by his supporters, was appointed the Secretary to the State Government following his role in the emergence of Aregbesola.
He was the pioneer Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun and a pure grassroots politicians.
He dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC),24 hours to the primary election of the party, citing discrepancies in the process of the exercise to favor Aregbesola' Chief of Staff, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.
Adeoti enjoys the supports of majority of local politicians as his exit from APC has left the party with a major loss of about 12 executive members and some other elders of the party followed him and declared their support for him.
Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola - APC
Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the coming election.
The immediate past Chief of Staff to the Governor Rauf Aregbesola, bagged his first degree in Insurance and Master's degree from the University of Lagos and worked in several insurance firms before establishing his own firm, Silvertrust Insurance Brokers LTD.
The Iragbiji born politician in Osun Central Senatorial district is believed to be a younger brother of the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The technocrat was in the private sector before the state governor, Aregbesola appointed him as Chief of Staff.
He is very experienced finance and administration. In the last seven and a half years, he has been identified as a man that has the technical know-how to govern the state.
Senator Ademola Adeleke - PDP
Senator Ademola Adeleke is the current Senator representing Osun West Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
The younger brother of the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke who died last year is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the forthcoming Guber poll.
The sudden death of his brother, Isiaka Adeleke in April 2017, brought Ademola Adeleke into the limelight.
He joined the PDP after the ruling APC failed to givrulingicket to replace his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke who died in April 2017, contested the by-election and emerged as the senator of Osun West Senatorial District.
According to political observers, since he announced his intention to contest the governorship election, the political calculation in the state changed immediately as he was seen as a major threat to the ruling party.
His landslide victory in the last bye-election in which he defeated the candidate of the APC with wide margin remained a good selling point for the PDP.
Senator Iyiola Omisore - SDP
Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore was deputy governor during the regime of Chief Bisi Akande as governor of Osun State. Omisore was the candidate of the PDP in the last governorship election in the state and was defeated by Governor Aregbesola in 2014.
Omisore was born on 15 September 1957 into a royal family line of the people of Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yoruba race. The Ife-born politician dumped PDP to join SDP after he realized that he would not secure the ticket of his former party, holds a Ph.D. in Infrastructure Finance and specialised in Public Private Partnership.
Omisore as the candidate of the SDP has made the party in the state a strong contender and one of the leading parties in Osun State ahead of the coming poll.