Presidential Election: Prospect Of Tinubu, APC In Osun

By Adebayo Adedeji

The much discussed presidential election in Nigeria holds in 12 days time, on February 25, and this writer will attempt to highlight the chances of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress ( APC), in Osun State, where no fewer than 1.6million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Tinubu, the APC Presidential Candidate, is projected to reap bountifully from ethnic sentiment that has shapened the previous presidential election outcomes in the state when politicians of Yoruba stoke were on the ballots for major political parties. In 1979 and 1983, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a Yoruba of the Unity Party of Nigeria ( UPN), earned 85% and 82% respectively of the total votes polled in the state ( when Osun was still part of old Oyo State). In 1993, another Yoruba, Chief MKO Abiola, of the Social Democratic Party, polled 83% of the votes in the state. In 1999, the Yoruba candidate, Chief Olu Falae polled 76% even when he contended with his Yoruba compatriot, Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2003 when Obasanjo was adopted as Yoruba candidate, he polled whooping 95% as against 2% of Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani. Given this election result trajectory, it is expected that Tinubu would clinch at least 70% of total votes in the state on February 25.

The affirmation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the July 16 governorship contest is a testament that Tinubu's party is the people's choice in the state and the winning streak is expected to be repeated come February 25. Since the January 27 declaration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola as the true winner of the poll, the rank and file of the progressives party in the state has been strengthened as members, whose spirit hitherto had been dampened by the disappoinment of the earlier election result, are now spurred to campaign vigorously for the candidate of the party. The morale boosting, on account of the tribunal victory, which showed APC defeated PDP with a margin of 24,655, reflected in the massive turn-out of jubilant crowd at the party's presidential camapign rally on February 2, where Tinubu was the cynosure of all eyes. The home-coming reception validates the truism that success has many parents while failure is an orphan. The reception is a confirmation that Osun electorates do not want to identify with a failure PDP, generally seen now as election riggers and certificate forgers.

Another factor that will also work in favour of Tinubu in Osun State is the renewed hope his manifesto breathes to the people. Many are excited about Tinubu's electoral promises of job creation and skills acquisition for youths, soft loans for market women and business owners. Many are thrilled by his promise of providing loans and grants for university/polytechnic students to soften the economic challenge faced by them. It is believed that during Tinubu presidency, enrollment in schools will increase without attendant financial stress currently encountered by parents.

Nothwithstanding the biting economic hiccups experienced by many, the choice of Tinubu as next president of Nigeria appears more desirable to Osun electorates than any candidate on the ballots. This is given to the fact that Asiwaju Tinubu's avowal to the welfare of the people and cause of humanity, over the years, has never been in doubt. His recent solidarity with the people of Nigeria regarding the currency debacle, when other presidential candidates played ostrich or encouraged the establishment to implement the poorly conceptualised policy, may also entice the electorates to throw their weight behind him at the poll for he is perceived as a genuine champion of the well-being of the masses.

The achievement of the APC-led federal government in Osun may also contribute to the emergence of the party presidential candidate. The APC-led federal government, for instance, constructed in Osun no fewer than 50 rural water schemes through Partnership for Expanded Water Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programmes. The FG of APC also completed in Osogbo, Osun State, 72 units of building of different categories under the National Housing programme (NHP). Again, through the Federal Government Zonal Intervention Projects, over N10billion has, in the last eight years of APC at the federal level, been invested into Osun. Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs), popularly known as Constituency Projects, are projects executed by the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies based on the nomination of legislators. These projects include infrastructure, construction, training, distribution of equipment, gifting of goods and cash handouts to constituents. Through ZIPs, police barracks have been built in the state, so also classrooms, e-libraries and ICT centres numbering over 3000. Rehabilitation of Federal Polytechnic Ede road was also midwifed through the Zonal Intervention Projects. It doesn't stop there, there are social investment initiatives such as N-Power, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program(GEEP) as well as Conditional Cash Transfer introduced by APC-led government of Nigeria through which over 100,000 indigenous people of Osun have been empowered.

The lacklustre performance of the current government in the state will also accentuate the resolve of the voters to select the All Progressives Congress at the poll. The morbid experience of the last 3 months, where brigandage, violence and assassination have become pure-water in the state may be the blood tonic voters need to reject Atiku Abubakar of PDP at the poll. They fear that, given their experience in a short spell of Ademola Adeleke as governor, where hooliganism has been canonised by the state government, offering the PDP an opportunity to develop wing at the federal level is a licence to institutionalisation of everything bad in the society, as is being experienced in Osun, where wanted criminals like Emir Ajagungbade, Bode Itaapa and Solo Iwara are members of the Governor-in-Council.

ADEDEJI is a member of the Media and Digital Communication Directorate, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Osun State.