Osun 2026: Opposition to Oyetola deepens as APC Ife Zone Lays Claim to Candidacy

by Adabanija Kamorudeen

As the race for the 2026 gubernatorial election in Osun State is gradually gaining momentum, the APC Ife Zone of Osun State where the current chairman of the party in the state, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal and former National Secretary of the party Otunba Iyiola Omisore hails from have laid strong claim for the candidacy of the party to come from the zone in 2026.

A Chieftain of the party in the state who is from Ife Zone that are currently agitating for guber candidacy in 2026, Mr. Ayobami Owojori has cautioned the leadership of the party against listening to misleading information and advice that are against the agitation of Ife Zone in the party.

Owojori, who is from Iremo Ward II, Ife Central, the local government of the state, said the Osun APC should be very careful in choosing a candidate for the 2026 governorship election.

According Owojori in a press statement made available to newsmen, he said it will be political suicidal for the party to pick its next governorship candidate from Osun Central where the APC won just two local governments in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

The APC Chieftain who was reacting to a position canvassed by O’toge, a political group which had earlier posited that the party should consider Osogbo and either of the National Secretary of the APC, Senator Ajibola Basiru or the Executive Director of Marine and Operations of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Engr. Lekan Badmus, as an alternative to the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola.

The party stalwart called on the APC leadership at the state and federal level should rather consider Ile-Ife for a reputable candidate for the party in 2026.

According to him, Osogbo alone cannot secure victory for any candidate, saying what matters is the popularity and acceptability of the flagbearer of the party.

He said: “Our conviction would not allow dust to settle on the attack of the O’toge Group on the Minister for Marine and Blue Economy, Alhaji Isiaka Oyetola. From their view, his political incompetence and the folly of allowing the ex-governor to be the flagbearer of Osun APC in the coming 2026 gubernatorial election.

“The group further emphatically pitched their preference for the APC governorship candidacy with either of the National Party Secretary, Dr. Surajudeen Bashiru Ajibola or the ED Marine Operations at the Nigerian Ports Authority, Engr. Olalekan Badmus.

“It is possible that a certain section of the APC leadership in Osogbo believes that the Minister is unelectable, that Osogbo land is a strategic option of where the APC can depend on to win the 2026 election and that thirdly they possess an array of viable choices like Badmus and Bashiru.

“We want to contradict the inaccurate perception that it is only Osogbo that can produce a viable option for APC in Osun State in replacement of Alhaji Oyetola in 2026 governorship election. We are inclined to believe that the O’toge group is a manifestation of rebellion against Alhaji Oyetola’s leadership by a select political class of APC in Osogbo.

“It is also the beginning of a campaign to erroneously position Osogbo as deserving of the APC governorship ticket in 2026 with potentials of defeating Governor Ademola Adeleke at the poll”

Owojori stated further: “While a party in opposition like APC in Osun State should not strictly consider zoning ahead of other electoral factors in the choice of a governorship candidate; it will nonetheless be a political suicide for the party to pick her next candidate from Osun Central (where Osogbo is situated).

“The people of Osun State are already sensitive to the fact that Osun Central had in the past produced three of the six civilian governors who had spent a cumulative fifteen years and five months out of a conceivable twenty-seven years and three months, leaving the other two senatorial districts to share the remaining eleven years and eight months.

“There is an electoral belief in Osun State that the political party that gets the quantum of votes from two out of the two LGAs of Osogbo, Ile-Ife, and Ede could easily win a state election. The people of Osogbo should therefore remember that they cannot achieve this without at least one of the two other distinct areas.”

Mr Owojori traced the electoral history of Osun from 1992 till 2014, saying: “In 1992, Governor Isiaka Adeleke won Ede and Ile-Ife to defeat Alhaji Bayo Salami who won Osogbo, Governor Adebisi Akande (from Ila Orangun) won only Ile-Ife decisively while Governor Isiaka Adeleke won Ede and Doctor Olu Alabi won Osogbo in 1999.

“Governor Rauf Aregbesola won Ede and Osogbo in 2014 to defeat Otunba Iyiola Omisore, who won Ile-Ife massively. The high number of votes in Osogbo is obviously not the sole determinant of where a party should pick its candidate.

“That ex-governor Akande, Oyinlola, Aregbesola and Oyetola are all from Local Government Council Areas that are not with high numbers of registered voters is an indication that the acceptability of a candidate by the party is essential in an election.

“A political party with the intention of serving the people should first look at the quality, experience, personal character and electability of the candidate and not only the electoral constituency capacity of the candidate. Osogbo should ensure that the ambitious aspirant(s) from the locality are electorally presentable.

“Furthermore, we will suggest that any constituency desirous of governorship candidacy in APC should have their loyalty to the party reviewed by the last round of state election which has essentially brought our party to opposition in Osun State.

“Questions should be asked on why we won only two LGAs in the Central Senatorial District in 2022. We won Ifedayo with a margin of less than 300 votes, resolutely won Boripe (the home of Governor Oyetola) with over 13, 000 votes and disgracefully lost all the other eight LGAs (including Osogbo and Olorunda). Data tells us that our party is stronger in the West and East Senatorial Districts, where we won six and five LGAs, respectively.

“For these reasons, the APC leadership in Osun and Abuja should beam their search light on Ile-Ife for a reputable candidate that can be acceptable to both party members across the state and the wider Osun State communities. The search should start now.

“The APC leadership in Osun State should actually say O’toge to the overt rebellion within the Ileri Oluwa caucus tagged O’toge. It is directed at misleading the party and the teeming Osun populace by sponsoring the rhetoric that it is only by fielding an Osogbo candidate that will lead to an APC Governorship victory in Osun State.”

In one of the stories making the rounds in Osun political space and as previously reported by PRIMEREPORTERSNG, it was learnt a group within the factionalised APC in Osun who called themselves ‘Otoge’ had reported Oyetola to Tinubu and the first lady stating their preference for either the APC National Secretary, Ajibola Bashiru or the newly appointed Nigeria Port Authority Executive Director, Egnr Lekan Badmus.

While reacting to the current internal disagreement of the party, an APC Chieftain, who is a member of the group, said, “All what we’re doing is to salvage our party from continously nosediving. We can’t continue to watch as one man with his inordinate ambition continues to destroy our party.”

He further said they’ve set up structure across the state, and there’s no going back on their demand against Oyetola candidature but rather Ajibola Bashiru or Egnr Lekan Badmus

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