#OsunDecides: These are the 4 factors that will decide today’s elections [YNaija Analysis]

by Godwin Akanfe

Who is on the lips

Less than 24 hours before the Osun gubernatorial poll kicks off, it is crystal clear the state is locked in a two-horse race between the candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Iyiola Omisore respectively.

Of course, many residents acknowledge the campaign efforts of the Labour Party candidate, Fatai Akinabade. In the process, he has become even more popular but that is as far as his chances could go as few consider him a “real” contender. At best, he is considered a “spoiler,” who is aiming to share in the votes that could have gone either to PDP or APC, seeing that he has concentrated his campaigns only in rustic communities.

Stomach infrastructure

Omisore cornGoing by public perception, an imposing factor that shaped the June 21 Ekiti governorship election was “stomach infrastructure,” and this is expected to rub off on Osun gubernatorial election. Many commentators see this as a new sociological factor that should be accommodated by political governance and others say it is a stigma on Ekiti people. While proponents of the two sides rage on, one thing remains incontestable: that the term “stomach infrastructure” was coined by the Ekiti people and for the Ekiti people. Only time will tell how this will be interpreted in the larger Yoruba nation and therefore how Ekiti people would be perceived.

The PDP has latched onto this as its main campaign thrust in Osun but there is no weighty evidence to show that majority of Osun people have bought into the mantra. A petrol station attendant, Tunde whom this reporter spoke to this morning, said, “Aregbe has tried, and one good turn deserves another. I will vote Aregbe.”

This attitude may be because one of the incumbent administration’s policy thrust is to “banish hunger,” which has seen a huge dose of focus on improving the lot of artisans and traders.

“Osun is different,” many people who I spoke to say. However, this perception has not deterred both APC and PDP from engaging in some form of “incentivising politics” as prospective voters are being wooed by both parties with customised packaged rice, fufu, etc.

Son of the soil

Ask any indigene of Ile-Ife who he/she is voting for, and you trigger for the “Son of the soil” sing-song. “It is the turn of Ife,” they say. However, the same does not apply in Ilesa, the home town of Aregbesola as the son-of-the-soil factor is relatively weak there. Although, Ilesa voters are predominantly Aregbesola’s supporters, many of them say they are voting for him, largely because of his “performance” and less because he is one of them. In an interview with an APC chieftain, Famuyide Tajudeen in Ilesa today, he kept stressing the incumbent’s performance over his nativity.Rauf-Aregbesola1

The son-of-the-soil vogue among Ile-Ife indigenes faces stern threat from the Modakeke axis though, and also from many residents/settlers of Ile-Ife. This threat has placed all the four LGAS in Ife on red alert, security wise, because it implies that Omisore may not reap a preponderant percentage of votes from Ife, which he would need direly to stand a chance of defeating the incumbent governor (the four LGAs in Ife have a higher voting population than the six LGAs in Ilesa).

Today’s sealing off of Ife may be a step further in confirming fears that this election will be red in the university town, and fearing the worst, students in higher institutions in the town have mostly skipped away (the major university in Ife, the Obafemi Awolowo University is currently closed due to a strike).

On another hand though, it is widely believed that the Ooni of Ife supports Omisore, which is a big plus for the challenger.

Another threat to the son-of-the-soil fad is the Senator Omoworare factor. The senator, an Ile-Ife indigene, defeated Omisore in Ile-Ife in the last senatorial election and it remains to be seen which way his supporters would swing.

For and against

Outside of Ile-Ife, supporters of Omisore complain that money in Osun does not trickle down to the lowest part of the economic chain and they believe the PDP candidate is well poised to solve this “problem.” “There is no money, no sales, all our money has been taken to Lagos,” they would say, when asked why they want to vote for Omisore.

Apart from the son-of-the-soil and economic sustenance factors, “change” is another thing going well for Omisore. Many of his supporters say they do not believe in Second Term, which they claim is usually despotic in nature.

PDP has tried to latch onto religion and some educations policies to win voters’ hearts but the attempt has been less successful as the three mentioned above.

Similarly, Aregbesola has three key strengths. He is perceived largely as a “promise keeper” and this means he does whatever he promises. Secondly, his regime has largely been proactively peaceful. Armed robbery, hooliganism, and banditry that reigned supreme in the previous PDP administration has proved a huge baggage for Omisore, who is believed will toe similar line judging from the violence that marked the last senatorial election and his alleged role in the murder of Bola Ige, Nigeria’s former attorney-general.

Mention “Oko Eleje (bloodied vehicle)” in Ila axis and you will see old women out-running the younger ones to scamper for safety. Similarly in Ilesa where bullet holes still adorn many houses that share neighbourhood with banks. All that were history since Aregbesola became governor and this fact alone is enough to get him thousands of votes.

Thirdly, Aregbesola is reputed to have recorded many “first of its kind” in the history of governance in Osun and this won him the hearts of many residents of Osogbo, especially.

“Federal might”

It is difficult to separate Osun election from 2015 presidential election. Many suspect this is why Omisore’s candidacy and campaign has received a large dose of support from the presidency. A reflection of this is seen in the fact that Aregbesola’s supporters love the candidate more than the party while an average Omisore’s supporter love the party more than the candidate.

Osun poll, more than that of Ekiti, is metamorphosing more into one of the battles of 2015, with the defection of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola to the APC. For those who are in the know, Oyinlola’s defection clearly shows where former President Obasanjo, who has been having a running political battle with

President Jonathan, will pitch his tent. In fact, unconfirmed reports say the former president intervened on Thursday when attempt was made to change the security details of Prince Oyinlola.

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