THE All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will test their strength at the Osun west senatorial by-election on July 8.
The seat became vacant, following the demise of Senator Isiaka Adeleke on April 23.
Adeleke was warming up for next year’s governorship poll. Sources said the district was behind his aspiration to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola. But, the calculation changed, after his demise. Instead of preparing for next year’s poll, the district is preparing for a by-election to fill the vacancy created by Adeleke’s death.
Senator Mudashiru Hussain emerged as the APC candidate. The late Isiaka Adeleke’s younger brother, Ademola, is the candidate of the PDP. Bade Falade is the SDP flagbearer. Drama characterised the process leading to the candidates’ emergence. For APC, no fewer than four aspirants, including former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, signified intention for the position before they dropped for the duo of Mudashiru Hussain and Ademola Adeleke.
Hussain survived disqualification twice from the screening committee and the Appeal Committee of the APC after the intervention of the National working committee, which gave him the go ahead to participate in the primary. But, on Wednesday, Hussain was given the ticket when his co-contestant, Ademola Adeleke, had withdrawn his candidature and resigned from the APC before defecting to the PDP. He was given the ticket unchalleneged.
Ademola Adeleke emerged as the flagbearer of the PDP, scoring 343 delegate votes. Two contestants for the seat on the platform of the PDP, former Minister of the Youth Development Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi and retired Colonel Olayiwola Falabi, earlier cleared for the primary, stepped down for Ademola Adeleke after he had shown intention to defect from the APC. In the SDP, former member of the House of Representatives Hon. Bade Falade got the ticket.
The struggle for victory on July 8 is the major pre-occupation of the three political parties and their standard bearers. Hussain had been in the Senate between 2011 and 2015 before he relinquished the position for the late Adeleke, who was forced out of the PDP, few months to the 2014 governorship election by strong elements in the party. He found solace in the APC and contributed immensely to its success at the poll.
Thus, in 2015, the APC gave him the senatorial ticket.
Supporters of Adeleke believe that, with the support of Ede North, Ede South and Egbedore and an alliance with Iwo, Ayedire, Isokan and Ola-Oluwa, Ademola Adeleke would make it. Also, late Adeleke’s political structure in the APC and the PDP is an advantage for the young Adeleke. Many had benefited from the late Adeleke’s generousity and they think now is the pay back time. It is also believed that Iwo and its environs had conceded the senatorial seat to Ede, believing that when it is time for the 2018 governorship poll, Ede would support a candidate from Iwo.
Thus, PDP leaders prevailed other contestants to step on down for him. But, some people believe the Adeleke family and Ede should allow others have a shot at the vacant seat. They believe that good things are not meant for them alone. Also, it is believed that the younger Adeleke has never been a politician, and thus, he cannot be a replacement for his late brother.
Hussain is from Ejigbo. his strenght is Aregbesola’s support. But, Aregbesola’s support for him could also be his albatross since a section of the state, especially public servants and pensioners, are not friendly with the governor for his inability to cater for their welfare. Also, Hussain does not have a deep pocket like the late Adeleke. When he was a member of the House of Representatives and later, a senator, he was not closed to the people. Ejigbo, where he comes from, is also the town of the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salam, and the member of House of Representatives, representing Iwo/Ejigbo Constituency. People are saying Ejigbo could not have it all in Osun West senatorial district. But, the governor, according to his associates, is bent on compensating Hussain, despite odds against him.
The SDP candidate, Bade Falade, who is also from Ejigbo, is not a popular politician, although he had been a member of the House of Representatives. He is being sponsored by some elements within the PDP to be a spoiler. He is not a serious contender. According to some politicians, Falade is expected to split the votes of the APC candidate in Ejigbo axis.
Of all the factors in favour and against the three candidates, the determinant is the voters in the district who have the power to reject and accept their candidature.