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Osun 2018: Gladiators, political parties strategise for epic battle

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THOUGH 2018 governorship election in Osun is about 25 months away, politicians, political parties and aspirants for the coveted seat of the governor are not leaving anything to chance, as they have begun discreet mobilisation and sensitisation of people, with a view to currying favour and support from  the electorate.

 

 Investigation conducted by Sunday Tribune indicated while some of the governorship aspirants have not publicly declared their intentions, few of them who had already done so have explored the use of their foot soldiers and local contacts in communities to shore up support.

 

However, while many of the political parties are preparing their arsenals and holding consultations in view of the imminent battle, some of these parties are enmeshed in crisis, culminating in factions, which may, if not nipped in the bud, whittle down their chances before the 2018 gubernatorial election.

 

Deeply submerged in internal wrangling is the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is sharply divided into two factions.

Since the party’s state congress in May, 2016, the seeming unity and cohesion within the PDP in Osun has collapsed, leaving in its wake a fragmented political entity, which can no longer speak with one voice on cogent issues.

The leadership tussle at the national level of the party, leading into the emergence of two national executives of the PDP, led by Senator Alimodu Sherrif and former Governor Ahmed Markafi respectively have further exacerbated the crisis in Osun PDP. While one of the factions is being led by Honourable Soji Adagunodo as the state chairman, the other faction, believed to be loyal to Senator Iyiola Omisore, the governorship candidate of the PDP in the last election, is led by Dr Bayo Faforiji.

Regardless of the intra party squabbles, some of the notable members of the PDP in Osun, eyeing the governorship seat have not shied away from mobilising and making subterranean moves to create leverage for their ambition ahead of the election.

Notable among the PDP stalwarts, who have begun underground campaigns and nocturnal meetings include the former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Adejare Bello, who was the running mate to Senator Omisore in the last governorship election; Chief Lere Oyewumi; Dr Kayode Oduoye, who also contested for the seat of Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin in last House of Representatives election, among others.

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However, pundits are of the view that the resolution of the crisis of leadership rocking the PDP in Osun and at the national level is a key factor for the chances of any of the governorship aspirant ahead of the polls.

One of the analysts, who spoke to our correspondent under the condition of anonymity said, “for the PDP to make any headway in the 2018 governorship election, there is an urgent need for the party to put its house in order. Failure to restore peace and non-resolution of the internal crisis may spell doom for the party in future elections.”

As the PDP battles to fix its internal crisis, the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in Osun is also striving to rally its members to a common front, bearing in mind the need to retain the control of the state beyond 2018.

But, the task has been daunting as members across the three senatorial districts have become polarised along various political interests, considering many of its governorship aspirants jostling to secure the party’s ticket in the critical election.

Apparently realising the danger the towering ambitions of its members interested in the governorship seat may portend to the unity of the party, the Osun State chairman of the party, Gboyega Famoodun,  in a recent statement, cautioned any member interested in the governorship ticket to halt their moves and desist from making any public declaration until the party gives its approval.

According to him, “the party will not take kindly to any violation of this instruction as there were more important things to do in service delivery to the people of the state,” adding that “what is most important for the party now is for everyone to join hands with the governor to solve problems confronting the state.”

The statement further reads: “the governor of the state, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, is right in the middle of his second term, grappling with the difficulties of economic recession. This is not the proper time for any aspirant to divert attention from the serious business at hand.

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“Everybody with governorship aspiration should put it on hold until such a time that the party will consider appropriate. Only then will it make political sense for anyone to come out and talk about governorship aspiration.”

Notable among the party chieftains, who have commenced movements to boost their chances of clinching the governorship ticket of APC include the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Lasun Yussuf; the incumbent Speaker, Najeem Salaam; Senator Isiaka Adeleke; Chief of Staff to Governor Aregbesola, Alhaji Gboyega Oketola, among others.

But, out of all of these aspirants, only Senator Adeleke, who was the first governor of Osun and who currently represents Osun West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, has publicly declared his governorship ambition.

Prior to the declaration by the Ede-born flamboyant politician and business man, there were speculations that Adeleke, a politician known with a trademark cone-shaped cap, was not tinkering with idea of vying for the ultimate seat in Osun come 2018.

But, his special assistant on media and public relations, Olumide Lawal, said the development forced the clarification from his camp. The strongly-worded statement signed by Lawal practically declared the readiness of “Serubawon” to once again take a shot at the oval office in Abere White House.”

Sunday Tribune reliably gathered that Adeleke’s declaration propelled the APC to issue a warning to those planning to succeed Aregbesola within its fold, but pundits hold the notion that the party’s statement was specifically directed to the camp of Ede-born politician.

Another dimension to the emerging struggle and intrigues that may shape the nature of the 2018 battle in Osun is the recent report, which surfaced in social media, of a meeting between a group of politicians loyal to Senator Omisore and Senator Bola Tinubu at the latter’s Lagos residence.

As close associates of Senator Omisore told Sunday Tribune, the former deputy governor is not comfortable with crisis in his party, though he is exploring many avenues to restore peace and unite all the factions.

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On the other hand, Tinubu, a major deciding factor in Osun politics since 2005 may be moving ahead of forces, rooting for homemade and formidable politicians, like Omisore, who has consistently challenged him.

From this calculation, reaching out to Omisore is perceived as part of the moves by the APC leader to plug all loopholes within the ruling party and even outside it, by identifying and engaging forces that can be engaged by interests outside Osun to work against him.

To this end, meeting between Omisore’s camp and Tinubu in Lagos, taking into consideration the influence of the former in South-West PDP, is also being considered by some analysts as an indication that old allies in Alliance for Democracy (AD) of 1999 may realign to spring a surprise.

According to one of the sources to the meeting, “Senator Omisore was not in attendance, but Chief Bisi Akande, who was governor of the state when Omisore served as deputy governor, was present. The factional PDP leader in the state, Dr Bayo Faforiji was also said to have attended the meeting.”

Similarly, Diran Odeyemi, one of closest allies of Omisore and the spokesperson of the party, was said to be part of the meeting, while some major political players within PDP in Osun sympathetic to Omisore were also in attendance.

Though details of the meeting were kept under wraps, one of the insiders hinted our correspondent that issues relating to how to position South-West region in vantage position ahead of next general election dominated the discussion.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: Buhari to address the Nation at 7pm on Thursday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will make will make a national broadcast Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7pm.

This was stated in a Press Statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adriana

According to him, “Following detailed briefing by security chiefs on the current situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari

”Television, radio and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria respectively for the broadcast”.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: ‘Military offensive on protesters is an abomination, Akande -Sadipe talks tough

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Akande-Sadipe

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has called on President Muhammed Buhari to address the killing of unarmed protesters across the nation, while condemning the killing of protesters by Armed Security operatives in the country.

Tolulope Akande Sadipe in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday said, “I weep for my beloved country, Nigeria. This is the Darkest Moment in our Nation. The Current Action is Unacceptable”.

She wondered why men of the Nigerian Army turned on the people they were meant to Protect, firing live bullets at citizens holding the Nigerian Flag and chanting the National Anthem, describing such as an “Abomination”.

“I, as a member of the House of Representatives cannot keep quiet in the midst of this abominable action. I was duly elected to be the voice of my people and my people are weeping”, she said.

She opined that the protests were about a generation trying to end the systematic rot that pervades the society, which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nation.

The APC chieftain  continued, “We need to be honest with one another on this matter. We need to face the truth on ground. The youths were out there because they are tired and fed up of victimization, daily oppression, injustice, unemployment, untapped talents, lack of opportunity, poor healthcare, poor education and lack of infrastructure and power across the Nation. The Youths are protesting for a better future for themselves and their children. The #EndSARS PROTEST stands for the systematic ROT in our Nation.

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“This was about the realities on ground. This was about the ROT since independence. This was about genuine service to the people who elected us to represent them. This was not about the President, this was not about the current administration, this was not about North and South, this was not about Religion. This was not about party affiliation. This was about a Generation trying to end the systematic ROT that pervades our society”.

Speaking against the backdrop that there are some external forces pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, the lawmaker representing Oluyole Federal Constituency  said the Federal Government should genuinely address issues.

“Those alluding, that there is a 5th Columnist within or external, there is a solution. If there is a 5th columnist or external negative force, pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, if we do the right thing, by genuinely addressing the issues that have led to the distrust between leadership and our youths, by addressing the rot that has pervaded our Nation. The 5th columnist in our midst or external negative force, would fail. But with this action, what have we said to the Youth and to the world.

“This is the time to make the wrongs right and it is not by bringing out the Army to shoot its own citizens, that we achieve this. We can still put a stop to this inferno. We must realize that no position is permanent and it is the country we make that we shall all live in”, she added.

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Concluding, she empathized with all the families of fallen Youth Patriots, praying that their death would not be in vain.

 

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National Issues

Nigeria Excluded From 2022 US Visa Lottery

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Nigeria has been barred from the US visa lottery application for 2022, a document obtained from the US Government website showed. 

In a 19-page document published on the website, Nigeria is the only African country barred from the visa lottery.

“For DV-2022, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than, 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam,” the document read. “Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.”

Although natives of other African countries are allowed to apply, the document explained that “persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” it said.

“Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.”

In the document captioned “Instructions for the 2022 diversity immigrant visa program (dv-2022),” applicants must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for the visa lottery.

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“The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing,” the statement added.

“The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.”

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