Ademola Adeleke’s election to take the seat in the Senate has changed the political climate of both Osun State and the country.
The resounding victory on Saturday was, in many ways, a challenge to established opinion, overturning the expectation that Senate elections are usually in conformity with the will of the Executive in the States. This formality was supposed to play out regardless of the fact that Dr Adeleke moved to the PDP from APC with a significant following, affecting the chances APC had in gaining the mindset and mandate of the Osun West people.
Adeleke’s victory was not slim, neither was it helped by obvious malpractice. It was as radical as it was emphatic. We could, in the language of tech enthusiasts, define this as some loose form of disruption.
It was to give hope to ordinary Nigerians that being involved in the political process is not yet a futile undertaking.
To be sure, it cannot be said that Dr Adeleke’s victory came about entirely as a result of the clear and uninterrupted will of the common people. For the most part, the landscape of selecting and anointing candidates remains a distant issue far removed from the touch or understanding of the average man or woman on an Osogbo street. What Dayo Israel expresses as “the story behind the story” will still have to be demystified before we arrive at Kumbaya.
With those in mind, it will be stoic not to admit that PDP’s triumph here means something. Not only does it represent a trample on the austerities of Aregbesolaism but a soft trump on the perception of an invincible Executive influence on legislative positions.
Very importantly, it waters down, to an extent, the Asiwaju influence to anoint and appoint. While no singular influence determines party choices in the East and South-South, the North and South West remain the regions where legacy choices of former leaders bear on current nominations. Lagos continues to be the stronghold of the former Lagos State Governor to dictate and declare, but recent occurrences in other parts of the South West indicate a rise in the questioning of his directives. It does not take away the fact that he is still widely popular and revered – as Ayodele Fayose confessed his loyalty to him – but the significance of not being able to get his boy (Aregbesola) consolidate the base of the APC in the state and in the Senate cannot be reasonably overlooked.
Adeleke’s victory is one battle won, thankfully not pyrrhic, in the continued struggle for a credible democratic system in Nigeria: elections by the people, for the people.