The 2015 general elections have come and gone but in this post mortem, RICHARD AKINTADE looks at the factors responsible for PDP’s woeful outing in Osun state; a state pundits said the party would have a decent showing
It is no more news that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari emerged victorious in the just concluded presidential election by defeating incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In Osun state, the elections were preceded by intense campaigns from both the APC and the PDP. Before the elections, many political pundits are cynical about the continued victory of the ruling APC in the state with some predicting that it would be an uphill task for the party to emerge victorious but the result of the election proved them wrong as the party did not only win but improved on its last governorship election performance.
It would be pertinent to examine some of the reasons adduced by the pundits for the cynical perception and how APC was able to maneuver its way to victory.
According to some of the pundits, the inability of the state government to pay salaries as well as pensions to retirees for upward of five months would definitely affect the fortunes of the party. They averred that the state is a civil service state where salaries and wages of civil servants plays significant role on the economy.
They berated Aregbesola’s administration for giving too much attention to policing and politics at the expense of its discharge of statutory responsibility to the workforce.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola did a lot of yeoman’s job in convincing the Osun populace at every given time, by explaining and pleading for the understanding of the people that his inability to pay is due to dwindling federal allocation which has dropped from over N5 billion to about N2.6 billion for over one year in a state that requires N3.6 billion monthly for salary emoluments.
Thus, he has been able to carry and curry the sympathy of the larger percentage of the society. He, again, has been able to use this as a point of campaign calling on the mass of the people not to vote for the re-election of President Jonathan for the administration’s vindictive punishment of the state for belonging to a rival political party.
The issue of workers’ salaries assumed a controversial dimension during the presidential campaigns when President Jonathan campaign train stormed the state and he declared on the campaign podium that his administration is not owing any state any allocation due to them.
He added that Governor Aregbesola therefore have no reason not to pay workers’ salaries as at when due. He tasked the worker’s to ask for their pay.
This became the talk of the town in Osogbo, the state capital as well as all other towns and villages. When General Buhari campaign stormed Osogbo the following day, Governor rose to the occasion by denying the allegation of President Jonathan as he accused the federal government of not saying the whole truth about the federal allocation.
Pundits had alleged that imposition of candidates on party members by APC leaders would affect the fortunes of the party in the build up to the election but again this was proved wrong. When the primary election of APC was conducted after the failure of consensus arrangement, it was trailed by protests and crisis galore. Many of the aspirants that lost out but considered more popular within the party fold felt that the party betrayed them for an earlier agreement of second or third term for many of its members in the legislative arm.
One of the strategic and disciplined step taken by APC was to prevail on the aggrieved members to consider the interest of the party above personal and remain within its fold.
This, some other pundits refer to as politics of strategic planning and execution. Some of the pundits had thought that PDP would have exploited the opportunity of the schism created by party primary to poach into APC membership as they alleged that if such had happened within the PDP, APC would have poached into PDP membership. They cited the way heavyweight politicians like Senator Isiaka Adeleke, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Hon. Patricia Etteh, to mention just a few of them were poached by APC to their fold with ease.
The period of six weeks extension by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) became a blessing in disguise for the APC.
This is because while the APC re-strategised its campaign structures and intensity, the PDP relaxed and it was as if they were waiting for the power of incumbency from the top to effect a meaningful impact.
To cap it, the issue of disunity and distrust within the party continued to rear its ugly head. There were allegations and counter allegations of embezzlement of party campaign funds. This shows that within the PDP fold, there is deep schism.
While the division in the PDP was getting to the public glare, the APC was consolidating and making moves to poach strong members of the party.
It is not surprising that at the election APC garnered a total of 383,603 which is 60% of the votes cast while PDP garnered a total of 249,929 which is 39% of the votes cast.
In the National Assembly election, APC was able to win the three senatorial seats. PDP was able to wrestle two House of Representatives seats out of nine occupied by the APC.
The internal wrangling in the PDP gave it out and allowed the APC easy way to victory and curiously, it is not abating. Chief Ogundokun, one of the PDP stalwarts in the state alleged that Senator Iyiola Omisore, the party’s guber candidate in last year’s election was threatening to assassinate him.
In a letter he wrote to Osun State Commissioner of Police dated 30th March, 2015, Ogundokun said: “Omisore and his agents are on the trail to assassinate me owing to my role in the Peoples Democratic Party, where I have invested a large chunk of my resources to finance and develop the party.
“Omisore, began a campaign of calumny, blackmail and accusation of inter party activities against me for my boldness in disclosing before Mr. President and others at Aso Rock Villa of his selfish role, dictatorial tendencies and his failure to take advice and listen to voice of reason during the gubernatorial election in Osun State in which he was our party’s candidate.
“Omisore is a big problem we have in the party. His attitude has made many leave the party in droves. Iwo, where I come from is the largest and the most populous local government. He is always fighting everybody, including Fadahunsi and Engr. Jide Adeniji, both who are using their resources to help the party and ensure that Jonathan won in Osun State. Now, I’m his next victim because I exposed him.
He blackmailed the president for failing to intervene in his favour in the judicial processes of the tribunal.”
A PDP chieftain in the state said the party lost the presidential and national assembly elections in Nigeria because of lack of commitment of some governors to the aspiration of the party.
With such squabbles, it would have only taken a miracle for the PDP to make much inroads in a state it even failed to win in the 2011 presidential election.