This piece is one of the outputs of the Positive Agenda Nigeria’s election campaign monitoring initiative in Osun. PAN is a group of academics and independent researchers dedicated to maintaining a favuorable environment for Nigeria’s socioeconomic and political activities. Animasahun Mojeed, a member of the organization’s team, contributes valuable information to the piece.
With the issue of the candidacy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming Osun State gubernatorial election still a subject of litigation, the candidate of the party recognized by Nigeria’s election management body (EMB), Senator Ademola Adeleke flagged off his governorship campaign in Iwo town, the political headquarters of the Osun West Senatorial constituency; the electoral district that the Ede-born politician represented in the upper chamber of Nigeria’s federal parliament between 2017 to 2019 following the death of his brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke who was occupying the seat until his demise.
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Shortly after arriving the ancient city, the governorship candidate and his entourage proceeded to the palace of the Oluwo of Iwo, His Royal Majesty Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu 1 for royal blessings ahead of the campaign rally. Oba Akanbi thanked Senator Adeleke and the PDP for giving Iwo the honour of hosting the maiden campaign of the party for the July 16, 2022 election. He prayed for the success of the party and the candidate in the election. Senator Adeleke and the campaign team then headed for the venue of the campaign rally at the Oluwo Palace Square.
Addressing the huge crowd that attended the rally, Senator Adeleke said he is on a mission to reposition the 31-year-old state once he assumes office as governor in November this year. Berating the successive All Progressives Congress (APC) governments in the state, Senator Adeleke said it is no longer acceptable to see Osun people suffer infrastructural neglect and economic hardship. In the words of the former federal lawmaker: “while making our way here, we saw deplorable state of the roads and try to imagine the kind of pains that people go through using them every day”. While insisting that these pains are needless and avoidable, Senator Adeleke pledged that “I can promise you that as your Governor, I will not allow this experience to continue as I will fix all bad roads”.
Speaking specifically on the bad condition of the Iwo-Osogbo road, Senator Adeleke rejected the explanation of the APC administrations on the status of the 57.6 km road. According to him, “Let us even assume it (APC administrations) is right that the road belongs to the federal government, does that stop them from pooling up resources to put it in a good condition to take away the pains Osun people daily suffer using that road and unlock the economic potentials it holds?”
Senator Adeleke also took a swipe at the Oyetola administration for what the former Senator called the insensitive manner in which the administration handles the welfare of government workers and pensioners in the state. While lamenting the hardship that retired civil servants are going through due to late payment of their entitlements, the PDP candidate affirmed that “me and my party is totally against this and will see to it that no one is denied their entitlements”.
Undertaking an assessment of the social sector of the state, Senator Adeleke scored the APC government low on education and health sectors. He described the bursary and scholarship programmes of the APC government as a deceit promising to pursue educational policy “that will truly improve education, not the cosmetic ones we have now. Teachers will get their entitlements as at when due, and we will support them with regular training as well as equip schools with the right tools that impact the right learning on students”. On health, he promised that if elected, his administration will “be deliberate in investing in the healthy being of Osun people by equipping healthcare centres and hospitals with what is needed to attend to the health need of the people”.
Also speaking at the rally, the Director General of the Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organization (AACO), Honourable Sunday Bisi cautioned against rigging in the July 16 election warning that the PDP will strongly resist any form of irregularity during the election. He expressed confidence that from what he has seen so far across the state, Osun people would elect Senator Adeleke as governor in July.
The PDP should be commended for the zero violence recorded during the campaign rally in spite of pre-rally fears. While the uncertainties of the outcome of the litigation against his candidacy stares him in the face, Senator Adeleke will take his “rebuilding” message to other senatorial constituencies in the state hoping to convince Osun voters to trust him with their mandate in the July 16 gubernatorial contest.