|By TUNJI WAHAB
For fear of losing the governorship slot to other senatorial zones in the gubernatorial race coming up in Osun State in 2018, party elders on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) have slated a harmonisation meeting for Sunday, October 30.
Our reporter gathered authoritatively that the meeting slated for Iwo, is to, among other things, ensure that the zoning arrangement, which is now in favour of the Western Senatorial District of the state is enforced and not tampered with.
The belief in the state is that the western axis is expected to produce the next governor to succeed Governor Aregbesola who is from the Eastern Senatorial District.
Aregbesola succeeded Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola from Okuku in the Central District while Oyinlola also succeeded Chief Bisi Akande who also hails from the Central axis of the state.
The only time the Osun West produced the governor was in the 90s during the botched Third Republic under President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB).
And the then Governor from the western zone, Isiaka Adeleke, who incidentally was the first civilian governor, spent only 22 months before the republic was terminated by the late General Sani Abacha as Head of State.
Recall Abacha ousted Chief Ernest Shonekan, to whom President Babangida handed over as Head of Interim National Government (ING) on August 25, 1993. Abacha came three months later to install his authority as military in power thereby removing the civilian structure that was already 22 months old in the then newly created Osun State.
And going by the growing number of the governorship aspirants springing up from the western zone on daily basis, the leadership of the party, according to our checks, has put heads together to forestall a situation whereby the slot would elude the axis as a result of avoidable in-house bickering.
It is against this background that an all-inclusive meeting of the aspirants has been slated for Iwo with a view to strategising on how to handle the sensitive matter, to avoid losing the slot to other zone.
An elder of the party in the zone who doesn’t want his name in prints confided in The DEFENDER that, “The meeting is called actually to sieve the boys from the men,” stating that, “within ourselves, we know those who are serious and those who are mere pretenders,” asserting that, “the race is for the real men who are already tested and trusted.”
At the last count, not fewer than seven aspirants, including a woman, have signified their intentions to succeed Aregbesola in 2018 on the APC ticket from the western zone of the state.
Notable among them are the state’s first civilian governor and now a Senator, Isiaka Adeleke (Ede), former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Professor Majeed Alabi (Ejigbo), the sitting Speaker, Hon. Najim Salam (Ejigbo) and House of Representatives member, Hon. Gafar Amere (Iwo).
The rest are the current Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti (Iwo), the secretary, APC, Osun State Chapter, Gafar Salensile (Iwo) and the daughter of a Lagos based elder statesman, S.O. Babalola, Idiat Babalola (Ede), who is rumoured to actually be eyeing the deputy governorship slot to pair with the current Chief of Staff to Governor Aregbesola, Gboyega Oyetola (Iragbiji).
Unconfirmed reports have it that Oyetola is also nursing ambition to succeed his boss from the Central zone.