Lasun, Omisore Turn Brides as APC, PDP Dig in for Votes

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Davidson Iriekpen

It is no longer news that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed tomorrow for the supplementary Osun State governorship election in four local government areas.

What is news, however, is that the announcement has again renewed the rivalry between the two top contenders in the poll – All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – in the four local government areas where the supplementary election will hold. The local government areas are: Ife North, Ife South, Osogbo and Orolu.

The supplementary governorship election was announced after Senator Ademola Adeleke scored 254,698 votes while his closest rival, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the APC, was credited with 254,345 votes. Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was credited with 128,049 votes to take the third position.

The re-run was declared by the electoral body because the 353-votes difference between Adeleke and Oyetola was less than the 3,498 cancelled votes.

The re-run is to be conducted in Orolu Local Government Area (three units, 947 votes); Ife South (two units, 1,314 votes); Ife North (one unit, 353 votes); and Osogbo (one unit, 884 votes).

Records available to THISDAY revealed that in 2014, the two political parties shared the four local governments into two. While the APC won two, PDP also had two.

While in Ife North, the APC recorded 8,603 in the total vote cast, PDP had 9,841. The same results were recorded in Ife South where the PDP scored 12,811 as against APC’s 7,325.

In the same 2014, while the APC scored 39,983, in Osogbo, the PDP got 11,513 and in Orolu the APC pooled 8,558 as against PDP’s 6,789.

However, in last Saturday’s election, the APC took three local governments and the PDP got one. While the ruling party scored 6,527 in Ife North, 7,223 in Ife South and 23,379 in Osogbo, the PDP pooled 5,486; 4,872 and 14,499 respectively. It was only in Orolu Local Government Area that the opposition party managed to run away with victory with 7, 776 as against APC’s 5,442.

THISDAY gathered that so far, high-wire political intrigues by chieftains of the APC and the PDP to outsmart one another ahead of the governorship re-run in selected polling units have commenced.

Top officials of the APC have launched out in three ways. One: senior party officials have been approached to prevail on the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yusuf Lasun, who represents Orolu Local Government Area to work on him to help mobilise for the party to win the remaining 947 votes.

The PDP had won the council area by 7,776 votes compared to the APC, which won 5,442 votes and the SDP, which got 2,043 votes. That is despite the fact that the area is represented by Lasun, an APC stalwart.

Lasun contested in the APC primary and lost out to Oyetola and is perceived to have been lukewarm towards the election. A source said that Governor Rauf Aregbesola is unwilling to talk to him but that some political stakeholders had volunteered to speak with him. The party has also launched moves to entrench its hold in the Osogbo area where the APC got the upper hand.

Omisore, who has also become the beautiful bride of the two parties, is still weighing his options after receiving emissaries from the two camps. While many might not recall that Omisore lost the two local governments in Ife, which are his stronghold to Aregbesola in 2014 when he ran on the platform of the PDP, others feel that he still holds the ace especially with the poor governance recorded by the incumbent governor.

Little wonder emissaries from the APC and PDP met with him. While some APC chieftains have met him secretly, the PDP emissaries led by Senate President Bukola Saraki met the former PDP senator and deputy governor.

Forty-eight per cent of the votes are to be contested for in Ife North and Ife South Local Government Areas, which are generally regarded as Omisore’s stronghold. Though the APC won in the two local government areas last Saturday, however, the Omisore factor combined with the PDP local strength could be a threat to the APC.