Less than 15 months to the arrival of a new occupant of the seat of power in the Bola Ige House, Osun State government house, political maneuverings, consultations, scheming, alignment and re-alignment are in top gear.
While the incumbent Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is currently facing unnerving challenges from various contentious issues principal of which is loss of trust by majority of the citizens due to what is generally perceived as his 7 years of misrule; abandoned projects, low state of the economy, inability to pay salaries and pensions, controversies within the educational system, his ability to get a sellable successor has become a formidable task.
As Aregbesola’s tenure winds down in November 2018, the question of who takes over from him is permeating the political space. The APC’s polarization and the innocuous ambition of many of the party’s stalwarts to step into Ogbeni’ shoes are making succession task more daunting.
Notwithstanding that the election is about 12 months away and political parties have not flung their doors open for campaigns to the Bola Ige House, notable politicians in both leading parties APC and PDP have started earnestly to position themselves to clinch their parties’ nominations by seeking the backings of the juggernauts, influencers and king-makers within the folds of their respective political parties.
Notable among aspirants within the PDP that have overtly or covertly signified their interests in governing the state in 2018 are Senator Iyiola Omisore, Adejare Bello, Lere Oyewumi, Adeola Adewopo and Kayode Oduoye.
In the fold of the ruling APC, Yusuf Lasun, Mojeed Alabi, Gboyega Oyetola and Nojeem Salaam are some of the contending forces for the position of the number one citizen of the state.
However, political analysts believe that aside Senator Omisore, all others are better described as Political Lilliputians. This is because, going by his growing popularity at the grassroots and the influence he commands among low and mighty in the entire Osun state politics and even at the national level, confronting the Ile Ife born Prince is more of an excessive in futility.
In terms of experience, Omisore is not new to the politics of the state. Since 1999 when he was elected deputy governor to Chief Bisi Akande, he has been a recurring decimal in the scheme of things in the state. He ran against the incumbent Governor in 2014, the result of which was allegedly rigged in favor of his opponent. He is from Ile-Ife, the same senatorial district as the current governor.
Recent developments in the state, and the rare reviews in the media which Omisore has been enjoying especially as it concerns his professional calling, as a world class engineer, promoting thought leadership in engineering career development, and national infrastructural growth through his Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, have all come to repositioned Omisore as a desirable leader.
The loud ovation that greeted his entry into the Oduduwa Hall, at the Oduduwa University, Ile Ife venue of the 2017 Memorial Lecture held last month for the late Ooni of ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, was a signal that Apesin Odua and two terms Senator is the candidate to beat come Osun 2018 gubernatorial race.
Moreso Omisore has been commended from many quarters for his ability to broker peace among the PDP warring factions in the state. His political weight which he put behind the candidature of Prince Ademola Adeleke has also been identified as being instrumental in the Senatorial victory of Senator Adeleke.
Omisore’s academic and career profile are intimidating to say the least compared to other aspirants for the Osun Seat of Power in 2018. He earned a Ph.D in Infrastructure Finance with specialization in Public Private Partnership from the prestigious International School of Management, Paris, France. Other institutions he attended are George Town University, Washington DC, for Advanced Budgeting Course, University of Carolina, for Advanced Leadership Course and West London College for Renovation and Leadership Course. He attended the prestigious Harvard University for Public Finance Course and the International Weiterbildung and EntwickluggGmbh Germany for the Aid Effectiveness and Donour Harmonization Course.
He is a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Fellow Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, Fellow Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Fellow Association of Cost Engineers, Fellow Institution of Electrical Engineers, England and Wales, Fellow Institution of Mechanical Engineers, England and Wales. He is a registered Engineer with the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria, COREN; and Chartered Engineer of Engineering Council and Chairman Board of Fellows, Institute of Public Administration in Nigeria.
In a yet to be published book titled, Iyiola Omisore: An Accomplished Professional in Politics written by Dare Adelakun, Otunba Omisore’s experiences in politics has been chronologically captured. The book portrays the good, the bad and the ugly experiences of Omisore.
A snippet from the book; “Politics seemingly present the worse, fiercest storm in the life of Iyiola and threaten to sweep away his brilliant profession. His ordeal commenced when he was wrongly accused and framed up in the unnecessary murder of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige on December 23, 2001. Consequently, the impeachment attempt on him as a Deputy Governor was futile and did not sail through in December 2002 over the framed up accusation of the murder of the Late Chief Bola Ige.
“His involvement in politics started early in life because his family has always been involved in politics both at the state and national levels. He has also been active in international relations, where he represented Nigeria interest and position at various global processes and conferences. During the period of the political transition of the Babangida administration, he was involved in the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) but in the course of time, he became a member of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM). In the Abacha years, he perched on the political tent of United National Congress Party (UNPC). During the General Abdulsalami Abubakar transition, he was involved with the pan Yoruba group popularly known as Afenifere (a pre-democratic activist group of South West origin), where he was caucus Leader for Osun State. From day one of its inception, he was functionally instrumental in the formation of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All People’s Party (APP) and finally the Alliance for Democracy (AD) where he was the financial backbone.
“Senator Iyiola Omisore was one of the founders of the Alliance for Democracy, AD in 1998. He was the financial backbone in the formation of the party. Obviously, the party in question was formed in his suite at the NICON Hilton Abuja. Among the Southwest politicians, he brought many resources financially for the formation and take off of the party more than anybody”. The above revelations and many more exposes are contained in the book which will be published at a date to be announced.