The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Osun is set to lift ban on campaign for the gubernatorial election billed to hold in 2018.
The gladiators within the party presently jostle covertly to succeed the incumbent, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
Aspirants, after the ban has been lifted, would be allowed to publicly declare their ambitions and embark on campaign.
The party, through the Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun had earlier this year barred aspirants contesting on the platform of the party from publicly declaring ambitions “in order not to distract the government in power”.
However, a reliable source within the party leadership confided in our reporter that leadership of the party has agreed to lift ban on campaigns in the first week of September.
It was gathered that scores of individuals have so far shown interest in the plum job, which has relatively polarised the party in the last few months.
Among those jostling to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola within the party’s fold include: Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, the incumbent Secretary to the State Government, and a former Chairman of ACN in the state.
Adeoti, who political pundits described as juggernaut, going by his grassroots knowledge and acceptance hails from Iwo, in the Osun West Senatorial District.
In the general political arithmetic in the state, the Osun West Senatorial District has been favoured by informal rotational method, after the duo of Chief Bisi Akande and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola from Osun Central held sway as governors of the state between 1999 and 2010.
The Osun East Senatorial District produced the incumbent, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola through a ruling of an appeal court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on November 26, 2010.
The court had upturned the victory of retired military general, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared winner of the gubernatorial election of April 14, 2007.
Despite this sentiment, analysts have argued that the rotational sentiment might not work for Adeoti, citing his disconnection with some power brokers within the party, and more importantly, the incumbent governor.
Another individual, whose name has come up severally in the political permutation for 2018 in the state is the speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salam.
Salam, a Masters Degree holder in Political Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife remains a political force in Ejigbo, his ancestral home, and one of the ancient towns in the West Senatorial District.
However, scores of stakeholders and conscious political minds have dismissed Salam as unfit and weak, saying; he practically lacks the requisite dexterity and courage to stir the ship of the state without blemish.
According to them, the parliament under his watch has been emasculated by the executive, and perpetually on its kneel.
Salam, they argued has not been able to prove his mettle and necessary acumen to run a virile and vibrant government going by his style of leadership in the assembly, which obviously put the legislative arm under the whim and caprice of the governor to the detriment of the people.
One other bigwig in the party, who has not hid his strong appetite for the number one seat in the state, is the incumbent Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Lasun Yussuf.
Yussuf, who is from Ilobu, another town within the West district emerged as the Deputy Speaker of the green chamber against the considered interest of his immediate political household and friends within APC.
The development has since pitched him against many interests in the party hierarchy, and became a substantial clog in the wheel of his ambition in the party.
Aside this obvious sin against the platform that produced him, majority of his constituents opined that the engineer turned politician needs to attend tutorial on human relations and public interaction as a prerequisite for the realization of his ambition.
Elder Peter Babalola, the Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, is another individual who has been telling those who care to listen about his interest to become the governor of Osun.
Babalola, a former chieftain of PDP in the state, who once served as the Chief of Staff to former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola defected to APC in the count down to 2014 governorship election.
He has displayed a political version of biblical Peter by being vocal, having excitedly divulged many of his past dealings in the PDP publicly in the euphoria of finding a new political bride.
While many in his new political family consider him as a loyal member, others still see him as a stranger who should not be trusted with a sensitive and bigger assignment.
It has also been rumoured that the incumbent Commissioner for Finance in the state, Mr Bola Oyebamiji is one of those eyeing the seat of power at Bola Ige house in Abeere.
Oyebamiji was said to have impressed governor Aregbesola by his excellent performance as the Managing Director of Osun Investment Corporation Limited, which according to some earned him the commissioner position and one of the options for his successor.
However, pundits say he is still a green horn in the political landscape of the state and impending power game, irrespective of his administrative savvy.
The name of the Chief of Staff to governor Aregbesola, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola has come up severally as the last joker in the power game against 2018.
Oyetola, an astute administrator and meticulous technocrat was said be a nephew of one of the most powerful chieftains of APC at the National level of the party.
According to a reliable source in the party, Oyetola remains the anointed candidate of a superior power bloc in APC and an inevitable choice of the governor at the long run.
However, opinion moulders have come up with different indices that could work against him at the poll, even if he eventually scaled through within the party to clinch the ticket.
One of those factors includes his significant role in the nagging imbroglio between the government and its workforce on nonpayment of salaries and emoluments, especially the backlog of pensions and other entitlements due to retired senior citizens in the state.
Also, Oyetola hails from Iragbiji, in the Osun Central Senatorial District that has produced the duo of former governor Bisi Akande and Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
All in all, the ruling APC has a big and onerous task ahead if it really wants to retain the governorship seat, going by its array of errors and miscalculations in the recent past.
It is no more news that its popularity has abysmally waned and its influence geometrically dwindled, especially in the wake of its ignominious defeat during the Osun West Senatorial District by-election, in which the ailing PDP defeated the party with a wide and unimaginable margin.