Editor's note: The debate on Osun state gubernatorial election holding on Saturday, September 22, has continued to dominate the media space in the last few weeks. While some political analysts believe that the victory recorded by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the recently conducted election in Ekiti state, would give the party leverage to win Osun election, others opine that the choice of its candidate may give the People Democratic Party (PDP) an edge at the poll.
NAIJ.com reports that in this article, a media and communication campaign strategist, Kamoru Aremu Salaudeen, writes about the big issues of the election campaign ahead of September 22 gubernatorial election in Osun state.
Salaudeen is the director, media and public engagement for Positive Campaign Initiative (PCI), Nigeria.
By September 22, electorate in Osun state will be at polling units in three senatorial districts to elect new chief executive officer for the state to succeed the incumbent, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Like other elections in the country, parties and candidates have been marketing their programmes and plans to the electorate since the lifting of ban on political campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in July 2018.
Before the real election campaigns, parties and candidates had crises during primaries. Some of these crises are likely to work against or favour some candidates in the September 22 election.
Across all the parties, most especially the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in the state and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party being considered by the electorate as the credible opposition and likely to defeat APC’s candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, pre-primary and primary crises nearly choked the parties.
Few hours to the commencement of the APC’s primary election held in July, some aggrieved aspirants of the party announced their withdrawal from the race, citing perfecting of the process to favour a particular candidate.
For the PDP, all the aspirants contested but the outcome of the exercise received mixed reactions, especially from the second winner, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, who felt that there were irregularities during the election.
Other parties such as Action Democratic Party (ADP), the party which former Secretary to the State Government, Allahji Moshood Adeoti, is using to realise his ambition after defecting from the ruling party and Social Democratic Party (SDP), the party that chose former deputy governor and Senator, Dr Iyiola Omisore as its candidates also have their own share of intra-party crisis.
Since the defection of the former SSG, reports have revealed that the ruling party in the state has lost her key members mostly in the west region and some parts of central and eastern region.
In order to pacify aggrieved members and regions in the state, some of the parties have chosen their deputy aspirants from the regions they believe would enhance their chances in the September 22 election.
For instance, the ruling party strategically chose Benedict Olugboyega Alabi from Ikire, to increase its chances of getting maximum votes from Osun West, the region which has been clamoring for governorship candidate since 2017.
As the campaign messages unfold, parties, candidates and their supporters are using different narratives to set up their programmes to the electorate.
Our observations have shown that the four leading contenders -Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke; Senator Iyiola Omisore and Alh. Moshood Adeoti - are being framed differently particularly on social media platforms.
Alhaji Oyetola is being seen as a stranger (from Lagos State) who would serve the interest of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the APC. From the mass media to the new media, Senator Adeleke is not being spared from the certificate scandal and Adeleke dynasty narratives.
Throughout July and some days in August, his secondary school certificate was a subject of litigation. However, the outcome of the legal tussle said he qualifies to contest.
Meanwhile, PCI has found that electorate and public affairs analysts in the state are not happy that a party could present a candidate without the minimum qualification. Beyond, certificate issue, PDP’s candidate is being portrayed as candidate for Adeleke’s dynasty.
Electorates and analysts believe that there is no difference between the dynasty and liking APC’s candidate with the APC’s national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.
Senator Iyiola Omisore might be on his last attempt to become the governor of the state having contested against the outgoing governor in 2014. The narrative being woven around him has to do with his renewed ambition to rule the state on the new platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP).
For Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, his last minute withdrawal from APC primaries having allegedly sensed the party leaders’ move to skew the election to favour an anointed candidate has seemed to draw sympathy for him from some sections of the APC.
He was the state chairman of the party before he was drafted into the outgoing Aregbesola-led executive council.
It is widely believed that recent defections witnessed in the party results from the sympathy and support for Adeoti who has now sought refuge for his ambition in the ADP.
Indeed, electorates in Osun have many issues to understand for them to make the right decisions in the September 22 election.
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This is imperative because the state needs a governor that would not only be able to sustain the current infrastructural development witnessed in the two terms of the outgoing government, but that would also possess the administrative dexterity to manage the humongous debt profile of the state and fix the socio-economic challenges facing Osun in the last three years.
LinkedIn : positive campaign initiative, Nigeria or 08117632795
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported about certainties, uncertainties ahead of APC, PDP over Osun west agenda ahead of September 22, governorship election in the state.
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