Analysis: Is APC defeat in Osun bye-election the beginning of its decline?

Governor of Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola during campaign [Photo: osun.gov.ng]
Governor of Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola during campaign [Photo: osun.gov.ng]

The 2014 humiliating loss in Ekiti to the Peoples Democratic Party was the jolt the All Progressive Congress, which held sway in all the states in the South-west except Ondo, needed to snap awake from its complacency.

Three months after the election was another in neighbouring Osun State. For a new party hoping to wrest power at the centre from the behemoth that the PDP was, two electoral defeats in three months in a region where it enjoyed its strongest support would have been irreparable. Whatever zeal its supporters had that time would have gone under like a torpedoed warship.

While other members of the APC might have looked at the newly-formed party with some uncertainty at the time, a former governor of Lagos State, and by far the most influential South West politician, Bola Tinubu, was not fazed.

He swung into action, rallying all top APC members, especially to turn their attention to Osun. Apart from the fact that one of his loyal proteges, Rauf Aregbesola, was running for re-election, the fate of APC, a party which he had been instrumental in its creation was on the line. Mr. Tinubu had so much at stake. Had the APC lost in Osun, he knew his days as a politician of note in the country would have been numbered.

His call was what other members of the party needed to get their act together and stand up to the PDP deluge which had washed the APC government away from Ekiti.

On August 5, 2014, every member of the APC worthy of note gathered in Oshogbo the state capital for what till date is perhaps the largest campaign rally held for a governorship election in the country.

Among those present were Mr Tinubu, the party’s national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, former interim national chairman, Bisi Akande, a former governor of the state and former senator, Isiaka Adeleke, former governor of Kwara State (now senate president), Bukola Saraki, a former PDP acting national chairman, Abubakar Baraje, and three former governors of Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo, Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi.

Governors present at the mega rally, as the event was tagged, were Adams Oshiomhole, (Edo State), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Adejoke Oorelope-Adefulire (Deputy governor, Lagos State).

The rally had thousands of people in attendance. The crowd at the event was so large that the PDP, which had a somewhat unsuccessful rally four days earlier, dismissed the crowd as “rented.

It was not just about the crowd, the party also scored some symbolic victory during the rally. A former governor of the state and a prominent member of the PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, seized the occasion to announce his defection to the APC.

Even Mr. Odigie-Oyegun was not expecting the huge turnout of supporters he saw on the day.

“In Osun, I have seen love and passion for Aregbesola. In Osun, I have seen what it means for a governor to be popular,” he said pumped up by the energy in the crowd.

“For those who have ears, let them hear and not tamper with a single vote in Osun. From now on, the battle line is drawn. The APC would not recognise any government with stolen mandate, it must not happen again,” he said filled with renewed confidence.

Like many predicted after the rally, Mr. Aregbesola won a convincing victory over his closest challenger, Iyiola Omisore of the PDP. The incumbent polled 394,684 votes, winning the highest number of votes in 22 of the 30 local government areas of the state.

With the victory of the APC in Osun, the party, which three months earlier was facing an uncertain future, turned its fate around and continued to soar after. The victory in Osun was the beginning of the end of the PDP. Six months later, the APC in the biggest political upset in the history of the country, defeated the PDP in the Presidential election.

After getting to power, the APC had wasted much of the goodwill it acquired after that remarkable victories in Osun and during the 2015 general elections. The country slid into its worst economic recession in over 30 years. Insecurity is at all-time high across the country. Even the Boko Haram insurgency which it often takes credit for surmounting is making a return like an hydra-headed monster.

So the APC went into Saturday’s bye-election in Osun West Senatorial district with much of its support atrophied. But just like the 2014 election, the bye-election is significant to the party’s future. During the party’s grand rally for the election, Mr Odigie-Oyegun reiterated the importance of the election.

He pointed out that since the party’s 2014 governorship election victory in the state, the APC has not lost a major election in the country. Reminiscing on the 2014 victory, he said the state was a major ground from which the party launched itself to national prominence.

Mr. Odigie-Oyegun, who is clearly aware of the dwindling support nationwide, again blamed the PDP for the country’s economic woes, like the party is wont of doing. He promised that the APC is doing everything to solve the problem.

Clearly, his message did not resonate well with the voters as the party’s candidate, Mudashiru Hussein, suffered a humiliating loss to the PDP’s Ademola Adeleke.

Whether the defeat of the APC will mark the party’s decline at the national level just like its remarkable victory in 2014 announced its rise to prominence is left to be seen.

However, despite its public show of confidence prior to Saturday’s election, it was clear all was not well with it. The senator-elect, Mr. Adeleke defected from the APC to the PDP to contest the election after his brother, Isiaka, who was the elected Senator of the district died under controversial circumstances. Some supporters of the late Mr. Adeleke accused the state government of complicity in his death, a claim faulted by an autopsy report.

In his reaction to his victory, Mr. Adeleke promised to help PDP defeat the APC in next year’s governorship election in Osun. Also, in their reaction, the PDP House of Representatives caucus claimed the APC’s loss was a sign it would lose the 2019 general election.

However, observers believe that while some voters who voted for Mr. Adeleke might have done so in protest against the hardship in the country, and against Mr. Aregbesola who has had seemingly unending run-in with civil servants and pensioners due to backlog of unpaid salaries, others may have just voted in sympathy with the younger Mr. Adeleke to succeed his late brother.


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  • emmanuel

    “However, observers believe that while some voters who voted for Mr. Adeleke might have done so in protest against the hardship in the country, and against Mr. Aregbesola who has had seemingly unending run-in with civil servants and pensioners due to backlog of unpaid salaries, others may have just voted in sympathy with the younger Mr. Adeleke to succeed his late brother.”

    – Nicholas Ibekwe, PT 2017

    If you have stated this, which is clear that the APC is a moral burden to Nigeria, how else do you want to convince us with your jaundiced write-up that the APC is not a bad brand?

  • Peedepee

    Emmanuel:

    Where’s General Obasanjo who said PDP party is dead? General Obasanjo can now see that political analysis
    is not given to him or given to any Tom, Dick and Harry. General Obasanjo got zero percent in public policy
    analysis because he’s mentally dishonest. Anyone possessed of average intelligence would understand
    that for PDP to die APC must be growing inversely. General Olusegun Obasanjo does not think much.

    Like an ostrich which buried its head in the sands, he could not see the APC elephant just rotting.
    A party like APC which scorns thinking and thinks development is common sense, is a tragedy.
    As a tragedy the near-illiterate APC party threw Nigeria into the worst recession within a year.
    Obasanjo does not know that as APC fails and implodes, PDP party will naturally be vivified.
    Knowledge eludes General Obasanjo on what he endeavours without relevant schooling.

    • Uncle Bene

      APC PARTY STANDS FOR NOTHING – IT HAS
      NO FORM, SHAPE OR DIRECTION. TREASURY THIEVES QUICKLY CAME TOGETHER AND CALLED
      THEMSELVES APC. NIGERIANS FELL FOR A NEW NAME PASTED ON THE HEADS OF SOME OLD
      CRIMINALS WHO HAVE NO GOOD SCHOOLING; NO KNOWLEDGE, NO MORALS, NO CLARITY OF
      THOUGHT BUT WHO JUST STUTTER OVER JADED SLOGANS LIKE ‘RESTRUCTURING’ WHICH THEY
      QUICKLY REJECT ONCE ELECTED INTO OFFICE, TO SHOW THE UTTER DISHONESTY OF APC.

      • Country Watch

        @disqus_SNwzLV27yI:disqus

        Those who conflate Islam
        with politics are going to bed hungry amongst the 28 million un-employed ones in Nigeria;
        and smelling all over the place in wants and penury. That’s what should happen to cretins
        who can’t separate a mosque from a State. In Oshun state the Islamist APC party played
        its usual card and rallied the Muslim faithfuls like a herd of cows to vote for an unkempt
        riff-raff with little or no education – Raufu Aregbesola – as governor.

        After that un-enlightened,
        electoral Islamist Jihad, it has been sorrows, tears and blood. Raufu Aregbesola
        fumbled and wobbled on the job with his poor numeracy and literacy skills but he
        showed the naïve populace a long beard as his claim to fame, like a Mujahedeen.
        But everything has a limit, for even Islam has a limit.

        And as Raufu Aregbesola
        ignorantly destroyed the basis of community happiness in Oshun state, the
        APC stalwarts saw economic reasons to re-think. Students in Oshun state failed
        Wasc on the aggregate by 70% every year. At a point Oshun state was posting far
        worse Waec result than a majorly illiterate Zamfara state. As Oshun state fell into
        disrepair under Raufu Aregbesola the Muslims faithful saw the light; that there is
        more to public order and human progress than Islam.

        • Aby Love

          Imbecile

      • Aby Love

        I hope you will be reasonable enough when APC win next election. You ,ekwerremadus of this word is praising inec today but am sure you will crucify them when you lose tomorrow, charlatans.

    • Ola B. Akinbawon

      @disqus_SNwzLV27yI:disqus,

      Every defeat has a rational basis that can be analyzed. A thorough defeat of incumbent APC government
      in Oshun state by 62% of the votes across 10 of the 11 local governments in Oshun West senatorial zone
      is a total rout – nothing less. The defeat was inflicted by a PDP newcomer in politics without any pedigree.
      If APC stalwarts feel they can mis-analyze this as just an election defeat; wise heads know this is total rout.

    • Gbabe

      LEAVE GENERAL OBASANJO ALONE, PLEASE. HE DID NOT INTRODUCE HIMSELF TO ANYBODY

      AS A BRILLIANT SCHOLAR OR A GREAT THINKER; BUT AS A RUFFIAN WITHOUT ANY PEDIGREE.

  • Ola

    All Politics in Nigeria is becoming LOCAL. This Senatorial election in Osun West has peculiarities that came about after the death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke (the brother of the winner).

    These peculiarities are not the same when compared to APC wins in Edo, Kogi, Ondo and Rivers Bye Elections.

    There were many cross over votes from APC to PDP partly to spite Aregbesola and out of sympathy for the late Senator.

    I am happy that the elections went well and hope this can be replicated countrywide.

    • Izedomi Ohirein

      The type of PDP alliance around Adeleke’s candidacy is very similar to the alliance in the Senate,which produced saraki & NASS rogue leadership.
      The Adeleke’s are APC, the Senator elect even made Awo victory sign.

    • Babso

      It went well because some of the votes came from APC as protest votes against Aregbesola’s arrogance and imposition of wrong candidate. It was a political miscalculation that caused the defeat. Next election will be different if no imposition and injustice.

  • endipin

    APC has taken the people for granted and the people are getting wiser by the day. Its like “you do yourself, God catch you” situation.

    • Sonomelaye

      @endipin:disqus

      “Democracy is defined as a government of the people, by the people,
      and for the people, but what we had in the time of Jonathan was ‘greedocracy
      – which is government of the greedy, by the greedy and for the greedy. Today, now
      under Muhamadu Buhari, we have ‘criminocracy’ – a government of criminals,
      by the criminals and for the criminals. Wrong appointment for instance led to the
      emergence of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation
      (SGF, Babachir Lawal) who became a grass-cutter”.

      ………………APC Senator Dino Melaye

      (June 1st, 2017)

      • Save Lagos Group (SLG)

        @endipin:disqus

        Anyone truly concerned about how the shambolic APC party led Nigeria into the worst,
        ongoing economic recession since October 1st 1960 should now pause a while to look
        at the rear-view mirror. Don’t weep for them! Nigerians are not fully evolved humans but
        crass creatures with no thought-process, for the most part. They extol thefts and scorn
        honesty.

        The journalists amongst them are touts for the most part; as they put out their
        hands to receive bribes in exchange for extolling theft in print by other names
        and describing theft as PERFORMANCE whilst being willfully blind themselves
        and keeping the populace blind as well on public accounts.

        That conspiracy was perfected in Lagos state under the worst stealing government Nigeria
        has ever had. Not less than ₦800 billion was stolen from the Lagos state treasury under
        Raji Fashola who thereafter forged account statement to conceal the theft. In the name
        of APC party mentally dissolute journalists like
        Tunde Fagbenle, Ayo Olukotun and
        Jimi Disu
        kept quiet for the eight (8) years of Raji Fashola’s stealing depredation,
        praising it to high heavens without ever asking for public accounts till today.

  • sirOscie

    Obviously…. APC is in the decline

  • Papa Oghworiodo (Effurun)

    MY CHILDREN,

    I am sorry for all of you. You have no future again. Your life is now destroyed by APC people.
    We are lucky here in Warri because there is nothing called APC here. We must thank God.
    If God does not quickly call you people to heaven the APC people will kill all of you faster.
    I am telling you this thing because I can now see the signs of total destruction from APC.

    Yesterday, my FM radio was crying that flood water has carried people away in Lagos.
    But is that not the same Lagos that journalists are saying is now exactly like London?
    Is flood water carrying naked father and mother on the bed together away in London?
    I am very sorry for those of you who are doing Islamist politics of APC in Yorubaland.

    • Save Lagos Group (SLG)

      @Papa Oghworiodo:

      Than you, Papa. May your tribe increase!

      The journalists amongst them are touts for the most part; as they put out their
      hands to receive bribes in exchange for extolling theft in print by other names
      and describing theft as PERFORMANCE whilst being willfully blind themselves
      and keeping the populace blind as well on public accounts.

      That conspiracy was perfected in Lagos state under the worst stealing government Nigeria
      has ever had. Not less than ₦800 billion was stolen from the Lagos state treasury under
      Raji Fashola who thereafter forged account statement to conceal the theft. In the name
      of APC party mentally dissolute journalists like Tunde Fagbenle, Ayo Olukotun and
      Jimi Disu kept quiet for the eight (8) years of Raji Fashola’s stealing depredation,
      praising it to high heavens, without ever asking for public accounts till today.

    • Abani

      @sirOscie:disqus

      “But my fear is that there are so many corrupt persons around Muhamadu Buhari and in APC while Buhari has

      deliberately decided to limit his probe of corrupt persons only to those who served under Goodluck Jonathan.

      This is very sad and a clear evidence of selective trial of opponents.”

      ………………Balarabe Musa

      [August 21, 2015]

      • Last Patriot

        @sirOscie:disqus

        Once Muhamadu Buhari ultimately quits office; at whatever time, federal boards must be dissolved;
        including N.T.A, FRCN, NCC, NNPC and NBC. President Buhari stuffed federal boards with invalid
        and mostly unthinking appointees. The result is utter mediocre performance all round. No federal
        agency is exceptional today or seen to be working with any sense.

        An immediate audit must follow and all indicted board members; chairmen and directors, must be
        convicted and then sent to prison. That first step will send a strong signal to Nigerians and to the
        international community that at last a new and purposeful government has come on board after
        Muhamadu Buhari’s nonsense, laxity and messiness.

    • Ayodeji

      Your stay in Warri had really affected your exposure and your view about certain disasters and its effect on countries of the world, regardless of how developed… Flooding is a natural disaster and it happens everywhere. There have been cases in London, England…US and recently in Japan. No country or state is immune from it. I’d advise that you read more on the greenhouse effect.

      • Border_Marksman

        Ayodeji you are funny. Floods can be natural and can happen anywhere once rivers/ streams overflow due to excessive rainfall etc etc. However, in Lagos, what contributes to flooding are usually man made (govt and civic responsibilities). Govt approving people to build structures on drainage systems and canals, poorly constructed roads with inadequate drainage facilities, insufficient waste disposal and collection. These and many more unnatural factors are why Lagos floods

  • Dan-gote Group Of Company

    This is to the general public individuals can now order 3XCement directly from the factory at a promo price of 13OO Naira for per bag transportation and offloading is 3OO Naira for per bag minimum for purchase is from 1OO bags and above kindly contact sales manager Mr Olakunle Alake on 2 3 4 7O 6 6 O 9 I 9 7 9 for inquiries Note booking and delivery is two working days and it nation wide

    • olukolade animashaun

      @AlbErn:disqus

      APC is not a party. It hasn’t held a national convention to agree party policy in government.
      What’s happening in Nigeria is one-man-rule by Muhamadu Buhari who has no Wasc/Gce.
      Little wonder Muhamadu Buhari ran aground into recession within a year of taking office.
      Recession simply means GOING BACKWARDS and that’s what APC’s done to Nigeria.

  • Zakut Bechor

    APC will use their own broom to sweep themselves out of power in 2019

  • Ashibogu

    Ashibogu can safely Project that APC will disintegrate to bits and pieces before the 2019 General Elections. Only God knows how events will play out. As for APC, it shall and will not stand! In fact, the Party has ceased to exist in the spirit realm. It can be likened to a ceiling fan whose switch has been turned off but it’s blades are still oscillating. The blades of APC will soon cease to oscillate.

  • curseless

    The Osun election was largely based on personality and not party as such. The late Adeleke is well loved by his people and the voted to retain his legacy regardless of the party affiliation . Then Aregbesola did not help the situation as he has become an abertrous on the party’s neck.

  • Bright Ezeh

    Still PDP is not a good alternative, no body in PDP is up to sick buhari and osibanjo

  • The prophet

    The victory of adeleke is not a protest or anger votes, it is a sympathy vote for the adeleke family. PDP should not see it as a reflection of their popularity not does it reflect the unpopularity of APC. Adeleke would have still won the election on other parties eg SDP, UPP platform. But I can assure that adeleke family would decamp before to APC before 2019 election.

    • Bayo Ola

      Your analysis captured it more than the editorial. Ademola Adeleke would have won the Bye-election under the platform of any political party. If APC had fielded him, APC would have convincingly won the election. People voted for Adeleke and not for PDP. It was more or less a sympathy votes for the late Senator Adeleke. I believe it serves APC right, as the alternative to Adeleke was not neither better than Ademola. Hussein of APC is a stark illiterate. Ademola is a dancer. I prefer an educated dancer than an illiterate from Abidjan. How would a party in Yoruba land (the part of Nigeria with many educated graduates) be fielding a candidate with questionable academic credentials? Although Hussein has been elected as a senator and a legislator in the past, perhaps this is the first time he was paired against a better candidate, the dancer, but jolly Ademola. Ideally, once the APC observes that the people wanted one of the Adelekes to replace their late brother, Serubawon, the party would have yielded to this request. Hindsight is 50/50. While it is likely that Ademola would cross carpet back to the APC, one hopes the APC has learnt its lesson!