Nigeria: Inside Osun APC's Marriage of Inconvenience With SDP

20 August 2019

The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Social Democratic Party (SDP)counterpart became bed-fellow at the heels of the rerun governorship election of September 27, 2018 in the state.

Recall that the governorship election of the state was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when it became obvious that there was no clear-cut winner of the election.

The election as announced by the electoral body, had Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party leading other political parties with the All Progressives Congress candidate, Oyetola, closely coming second and the Social Democratic Party maintaing a distance third position.

According to INEC, the candidate of PDP could not be declared the winner of the election because the margin between the votes he got and that of the runner-up which was the APC was below the figure of registered voters in the areas elections were cancelled in the state.

The two political parties made move to win SDP to their side because the areas where the larger number of votes were cancelled covered the stronghold of the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore.

Therefore, immediately the election was declared inconclusive, Omisore became the beautiful bride being sought after by the two frontline political parties.

While the then Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki led PDP delegation to Senator Iyiola Omisore at his Ile-Ife country home, the chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole led his party's delegation to the beautiful bride.

Besides, some APC governors made appearances in Ile-Ife apart from underground contact that definitely will not go without mouth-watering promises.

At the end of negotiations left, right and centre, Omisore opted for the APC on the ground that its leadership have assured him that his concern and that of his party for the state would be addressed by APC when elected.

We should not lose the sight of the fact that Omisore defected to the SDP from the PDP where he was the gubernatorial candidate during the 2014 governorship election in the state.

He left the party because he saw the handwriting on the board that he may be denied the governorship candidacy ticket of PDP in the 2018 election.

At the end of the rerun election, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola was declared the winner and while congratulatory message was been sent to Oyetola, Omisore was equally receiving appreciation messages.

Though, PDP would have loved to win the election on the platter of gold without the support of Omisore, but the party was humbled by Omisore's support because it was obvious that they would have lost the election outright without Omisore.

However, beside what Omisore as a person could have probably got as personal gain from the coalition, the Social Democratic Party membership could hardly point to or rather enjoy dividends from the marriage.

The axe that broke the camels back was the recent statement made by governor Adegboyega Oyetola at a media interaction with journalists that he was not prepared to accommodate any other political party in his cabinet except the APC.

Oyetola had said that he was voted into power at the strength of his party's manifesto to electorate of Osun State.

He noted that his believe in inclusive government translates to party supremacy, adding that his party would be fully involved in the formation of his cabinet.

He however welcomed advice and constructive criticism from other political parties adding that the state belong to all, irrespective of their political affiliation.

And true to his words, like it has never happened in the history of cabinet formation anywhere in Nigeria, members of APC are currently electing who will represent them in Oyetola's cabinet local government by local government.

Hence, there is no way a none member of APC could participate in the election or selection process.

However, SDP appreciated the governor for what it described as his openness and sincerity during the interactive meeting with the state APC members on issues concerning the formation of his cabinet .

The SDP in a statement made available to newsmen in Osogbo by the Special Assistant to the state Chairman on Media Relations, Hon. Sola Ayandirin, asserted that the coalition deal involving the SDP and the APC , was not intended to be permanent.

According to the Chairman, Dr. Bayo Faforiji, the reasons for entering into the coalition talks at the beginning was not for personal benefits.

The party also made veiled reference to future elections by asking members to prepare for future challenges.

'We in the Social Democratic Party recognize the importance of party patronage and therefore wish the Governor well.

"We assure the Governor of our willingness to regularly provide useful pieces of advice to the government in the interest of the welfare of the people of Osun state.

"The advancement of Osun people's welfare is the duty of all, irrespective of party affiliation.

"This is a clarion call to all members of the Social Democratic Party in Osun state to close ranks, join hands, and rebuild the party in preparation for future challenges. Our coalition with the APC is not permanent.

"The SDP went into coalition talks with the APC ahead of the September 27th, 2018 rerun election because it was expedient to do so in order to ensure continuity in governance, not necessarily in the expectation of any returns.

"Now is the time to restore the identity and the dignity of our dear party in Osun state. We are very appreciative of the support and the understanding of the National Chairman, the National Secretary and other members of the National Working Committee of our great party.

"We assure you of our readiness to mobilize our members for the immediate task of repositioning the party in Osun state. The Social Democratic Party wishes Governor Oyetola a fruitful and progressive tenure in the service of Osun state' the SDP posited.

To douse tension, A release by the Media Consultant of the chairman of PDP in the state, Mr Kola Olabisi on behalf of the State chairman, Prince Adegboyega Famoodun debunked the interpretation given to the statement of Governor Oyetola by some people that the marriage has fallen apart.

Famoodun noted that the general public was being misinformed about the reality on ground.

He declared the coalition as unshakeable" saying that "misinformation spreading like a wild fire that the coalition between the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in Osun State and the Social Democratic Party(SDP), has hit the rocks is false and mischievous"

Famodun who corrected the misinformation about the marriage between the APC and the SDP in the state said that such notion of any gulf in the coalition should be disregarded as there was no basis for such severed relationship.

The party chairman disclosed that the APC under his watch was not contemplating promotion of any strained dealings in the coalition.

He urged media managers of any form to desist from spreading mere rumour which could only fuel disaffection among the members of the coalition.

Famodun stated that the APC is a political party with conscience which will never forget its benefactor that came to its aid at the period that could never be forgotten in the political history of Osun State.

He charged those who have been rejoicing over the misinformation to look elsewhere for the place to trade in their mishief by investing gainfully their time since this rumour has refused to fly.

In Famodun's words: "Tell it to the world that there is no iota of truth in the misinformation being peddled by some disgruntled members of the public that there is a crack in the Osun APC/SDP coalition.

"No matter its size, there is no hitch in the Osun APC/SDP coalition. There is no reason for it and we are not contemplating any break in the political amity.

"Those who are worried over the rumour should not have a sleepless night over it as it is mere tissues of lies and deliberate which should be disregarded in its entirety", he stated.

The state party chairman said there was nothing absolutely to gain by putting spanners in the smooth relationship of the APC/SDP coalition which has come to stay for good.

Collaborating Famoodun's position, SDP said the coalition between it and the ruling All Progressives Congress has not been threatened.

SDP's spokesperson in the state, Taiwo Akeju, in a chat with our Correspondent in Osogbo, said even with the declaration by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola that no opposition party member would be appointed into his cabinet, his party still believes "the spirit of a coalition between SDP and APC is still alive."

He, however, said the party would not discuss further details of the coalition with the media.

Akeju said despite the declaration by the governor, SDP still believes in the coalition and would continue to support the state government.

Akeju said, "Our coalition with APC is not threatened. We heard the statement credited to the governor and our reaction is that we are still in coalition. We won't discuss our matter on the pages of newspaper."

Time will tell whether the marriage is heading to the rock or not.

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