By Sarafa Adeniyi
It is no longer news that the outgoing Governor of Osun state, Gboyega Oyetola, has filed a petition before the election tribunal to challenge the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke.
in the July 16 governorship poll. What is however news worthy is the real reasons why Oyetola choose to contest the Osun election outcome.
For Osun people and many segments of the electorate, the route embarked upon by Oyetola was a futile one as the governorship poll has been adjudged as one of the most transparent and credible election in recent memory. The truth, which a preview of the petition revealed is that Oyetola’s legal action is actually lacking in strength to change the return of Senator Adeleke by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Then, what is he out to achieve? Well, a lot and that is exactly what this piece is trying to point out.
1. TO STOP INCREASING DEFECTION
By the night of July 16, results trickling from the various local governments across the state showed clearly that the All Progressives Congress (APC) 12-year in power in Osun was over. When the INEC announced collated results on July 17, it became sealed that Senator Adeleke will be the Governor of Osun from November 27.
This reality did not take long to resonate with politicians in the APC and the fact that the party will not be in power for four years was not something some of them can endure. This makes some of them to make open and subtle attempt to identify with the Governor-Elect, and as a result, many planning to jump ship to the new party in power.
Upon noticing this development, Oyetola was probably concerned that this could leave the APC empty by the time the general election holds next year February, that has his Uncle, Bola Tinubu, as presidential candidate of the APC. It was for this reason that he choose to go to the tribunal to give false hope to members and hold them down in the party till when election hold next year.
2. TO AVOID FALLOUT AGAINST TINUBU AMBITION
Losing Osun was a bad one for APC, especially the presidential ambition of Tinubu, who had before the election consider the state as one of its base. To avoid the fallout of the loss on the presidential election, Oyetola’s camp came up with the tribunal option to give impression that it can be returned to office, and leverage on it to drive votes for his Uncle.
The calculation in the camp of Oyetola was that legal dispute will not have been fully exhausted by February next year, and this will playdown impacts of losing Osun on the election of Tinubu. How that will work remain yet to be seen.
3. TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST PUSH TO TAKE OVER THE PARTY
Oyetola sensed that his loss of the July 16 governorship poll may have stripped him of the leadership of the party and feared that former Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, may launch serious push to take over the party once he stepdown from office on November 26. For years now, Oyetola and Aregbesola had fought over control of the structure of the APC in Osun state but the outgoing Governor prevailed in many of the times because of the influence of his office.
When he ceased to be Governor on November 26, there will certainly be question on who should control the structure of Osun APC. Even before then, there has been calls for Oyetola backed chairman, Gboyega Famodun, to stepdown so as to restructure the party. Oyetola camp believed that contesting the election outcome can be leveraged to push back against Aregbesola and his loyalists.
4. TO GIVE FALSE SENSE OF HOPE FOR OTHER CANDIDATES IN NEXT YEAR ELECTIONS
With the loss of APC in the Osun governorship poll, there has been heightened fear among candidates of the party for next year’s elections. Many of them are said to have lost hope on their chance of winning and are not seriously interested in committing resources into the elections.
The tribunal option is however considered a way to raise their hopes. It is not clear how much magic this can do because the feelings among the electorates for the APC doesn’t seem to change.
Summarily , nobody should be shocked that the petition has no substance. It is not meant to have justifiable foundation. The tribunal action is just a political action to at best delay a sinking boat from total collapse.
● Sarafa Adeniyi is a member of the PDP Media Team.