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AS preparations for the September 22 governorship election in Osun State gathers momentum, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and one of the governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, has warned the APC against jettisoning the unwritten rule of zoning, saying the party risks losing the election if it fails to present a candidate from the western part of the state.
But the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, disagrees, saying there is no need to adhere to any zoning arrangement, because it is not known to the party constitution. Oyetola, who is also an aspirant in the race, equally dismissed insinuations that he has been anointed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola. He said if that were to be the case he would not have bothered campaigning ahead of the party’s governorship primary scheduled for July 19.
Adeoti who spoke at the APC national headquarters after submitting his nomination form amidst agitations and protests for the party to zone the governorship ticket to Osun West senatorial district since the two other zones have governed the state since 1999.
He dismissed the reported endorsement of the Chief of Staff for the race, saying: “I am hearing that for the first time and I am saying it emphatically that if that should happen we would be getting it wrong, because even though there is no zoning in our constitution, I believe that indirectly there has been some sort of zoning.
“When we started in 1999, it was Baba Akande from Osun Central that governed the state for four years. After him, Prince Oyinlola from the same Osun Central took over. However, both of them come from different constituencies. Baba Akande comes from Ila, while Oyinlola is from Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Local Government.
“But both of them were from the central district. If their terms are put together, they spent 11 and half years. Governor Aregbesola is the person at the helm of affairs at the moment. After spending the constitutionally mandated two four-year terms, the governor who is from Osun East is going to step down on the November 27. So, how does it sound for another person from Osun Central to take the seat? What would then be the fate of people from Osun West where I come from?”
Adeoti argues that he is the most popular candidate for the job. He said: “Go and make a pilot survey, you will find out there that people are there for us; apart from what people are saying that the thing should go to Osun West, go and find out who is the popular candidate out of all. They will tell it is a current SSG, in person of Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti.
“Anyone can come here and say that he is the most qualified. I have told you earlier that you should send somebody there to find out. Meanwhile, you have your people over there; you can inquire from them; they will confirm what I have just told you.
“The position of the Secretary to the State Government as enshrined in the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria is the eyes and the ears of the executive, because all these programmes and the projects that have been done in Osun, I take the custody of each and every one of it.
“Aside from that, I am to service the executive, because by constitution it is likened to the position of majority leader in the state House of Assembly and the House of Representatives at the federal level, because whenever we are going to present a memo, which relates to the projects we are going to handle, it is usually prepared by me, as the SSG. There is nothing going on in the administration that I am not conversant with.
“Anybody can come here and say whatever he likes, but I have an edge, going by the mere fact that I have served in two executive positions; aside from my current position as SSG, I have also served as a local government chairman.
“When we were in the opposition, I had been the chairman of the party for about seven years and three months. When were in opposition, when we were facing the people in government at the time, they didn’t even care for their members, let alone those of us in opposition. So, I believe I have an edge with the experience I had that time and the experience I had, being the chairman of my local government.”