Osun 2018: Defining The Stake – Olumuyiwa Kumuyi

Voters in the State of Osun will be heading for the polls in September 2018. It will be a defining moment for citizens and residents alike. The stakes in this election year will determine for good or ill where Osun will also be in the next four years.
If between 2010 and now the extraordinary battle had been to demonize the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the ruling party for supposedly going out of their way to venture an ambitious plan of development for the state, the next four years will oscillate between continuing Aregbesola’s projects or destroying them.
This is what the 2018 election is all about. First, the battle between 2010 and now to oust Aregbesola, failed badly in 2014. But the disinformation exercise to negatively characterize the governor’s efforts was a success. Negative media against Aregbesola and the ruling party outclassed positive reportage of his successes.

Now that a transition is inevitable, the question of who succeeds Aregbesola becomes the critical issue. There are contending and conflicting interests across the board; seventy percent of them are intent on destroying Aregbesola legacy.
However, the facts on the ground as to what has happened to this state between 2010 and as you read this script is that, since Osun was created some 27 odd years ago, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was the most incredible agent of change and progress that the state has known!!
So, the curious question is why is 70% of aspirants across the political spectrum so desperate to wipe out his legacy?

The answer is simple; they are all jealous of his success in the first place and scared of the implications for the future of kleptocracy in the state. This tragic scenario is trending politically throughout the country. But that is a subject for a later date.
We do not need to say it, but Nigeria is basically ruled by mediocre. Always, “the best president will never rule Nigeria,” because it is a country that prides itself on mediocre. That is the biggest stake in Osun today.
Shall we have a mediocre or a dedicated and knowledgeable professional take over from Aregbesola?
There is only one place that decision can be taken – at the APC primary. The outgoing governor has raised the bar of performance so high that the APC has become obligated to produce the best aspirant as its successor candidate.
By July 7, 2018, that candidate will emerge no matter what. There are great expectations and powerful interests at play here which raise doubts that the ruling party can deliver the best on offer.
The opposition parties are hoping and scheming for the worst to happen to destabilize the APC, while the party is working hard to manage the hotly contested primary to produce their best and still remain stable.

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If things go terribly wrong during the exercise, it could give the opposition an advantage; but the other parties themselves will have to be more cohesive than they are at the moment to win.
However, that kind of co-operation by the opposition parties is least likely because they are currently working at cross purpose, and that is why the APC remains favorite to emerge victorious in September.
But the most important factor that could influence victory for the APC is the party’s performance in the last seven and a half years. Regardless of the massive negative media that the personality and style of the out-going governor had attracted over the period of his tenure, the fact remains unassailable that Rauf Aregbesola has out-performed most other governors in the country.

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The opposition parties cannot wish that away. But the key consideration here as well is that not a single one of them is a credible alternative to the APC in Osun.
The most “outstanding” of the opposition parties- the PDP- is in tatters. The others do not have the charismatic personality to stand up to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the campaign trail, where the out-going governor has a massive advantage.
Even if the opposition combines to challenge the APC, or the ruling party falls short of producing their best candidate, (a very unlikely event), the party can still clinch victory in September because of the negative and destructive attitude of the opposition to obliterate Aregbesola’s legacy.
That legacy will be the nemesis of the opposition. The silent majority of Osun citizens know that the best that has ever happened to the state is the Aregbesola-led APC government. They won’t be anxious to substitute the party with either the failed PDP or the untested “newcomers” in the other opposition parties.
That is the crux of the matter.