By Badmus Adepoju Gbadamosi
The parable of the Cattle heard and Egrets succinctly describes Nigeria’s Democracy and zoning, for as one moves, the other follow. Right from the first republic, the political zone of origin has always been a prime factor in sharing political offices, both at the National and state levels. This system of zoning became even more entrenched in our polity in the build-up to 2003 general elections when the fanning of the dying embers of tribal sentiment became a potent tool in the hand of do or die politicians to bamboozle Nigerians in their usual manner.
Moreover, the multi ethnic nature of the country and the need to foster equity was a plausible excuse that favours such arrangement.
Usually, the state’s zoning system is based on senatorial delimitation, which implies rotating the governorship seat between the three senatorial zones that make up the state. Other principal and non-principal positions are thus shared equitably. It is this same zoning system that has therefore been practiced by all states of the federation, including our dear own State of Osun.
Between 1999 and 2003, Chief Bisi Akande from Osun Central senatorial district ran the affairs of the State and gave way to Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola from the same senatorial district who governed the state till 2011. The incumbent governor, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola is from Osun East Senatorial district. He took over in 2010 after an over three year’s legal battle at the elections tribunals.
With the above brief history of the patterns of power distribution in the state from 1999, the question of where the next governor of the state should come from should never arise. One might even think it’s religious that all political parties field candidates from Osun west; the only senatorial zone that has not had a shot at the number one political seat of the State since the return of democracy to the Country in 1999.
However, the fact that two plus two is never four in Nigeria’s brand of politics should be expected to play a role at disrupting the equitable arrangement. There have, of course, been insinuations that the incumbent governor was not looking in the direction of Osun West Senatorial district to shop for his successor. Rather an attempt is suspected of being made to foist upon the state a candidate from Osun Central Senatorial District in person of Mr Gboyega Oyetola, a first cousin of the APC National leader and chief-of -staff to Ogbeni Aregbesola.
It is strongly believed at some quarters that Governor Aregbesola’s body language does not betray the suspicion of the people. Moreover, there is reliable information that the Governor’s choice of Oyetola will be in exchange for a Senatorial slot in Lagos.
This suspicion of an attempt to short-change the people of Osun West precipitated a gang-up against the incumbent governor and it contributed in no small measure to the protest vote recorded against the APC in the recent senatorial by-election, where the ruling party smelled the burns of its skin.
Every person with a sense of justice and equity agrees that the agitations of the people of Osun West senatorial district to produce the next governor of the State is overtly justified. And the decision of the people to go with any political party that fields a candidate from the zone if APC fails to is thus understandable.
As it stands, the people of Osun West Senatorial District consider it a dishonor, an all- out war and a blatant disregard for their enormous contributions to the success of Aregbesola’s ascension to power if he dares confirm their speculation. If that happens, it would be the height of insensitivity on the part of party leadership and a clear case of the mice peeing into the pot of bean soup, when everyone must hold on to their pap .