Dele Adeleke, an aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has explained why he is challenging his uncle, Ademola Adeleke, for the party’s ticket ahead of the Osun 2022 governorship election.
In an interview with Channels Television, Adeleke said he is more competent than his uncle, who was the governorship candidate for PDP in 2018. He also said that being Senator Adeleke’s nephew should not hamper his aspiration to serve the people of the state.
He stated that running for a political office is more about competence than political alliances and, claiming to be the best candidate PDP can produce to challenge the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“He (Sen. Adeleke) is also aware that I’m running,” he said, noting that his uncle was “shocked” when he informed him about his aspiration to jostle for the PDP’s governorship ticket.
Asked how long he had wanted to pick Osun governorship race, he said he began to nurse the political ambition when he started playing the “engine room role” in the political space of Osun and beyond.
In 2018, Mr Adeleke was the PDP’s Returning Officer during the gubernatorial election in the state, PREMIUM TIMES gathered. He had defended his uncle during the polls, challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in courts after the elections.
“I believe all those have actually prepared me for the political landscape of the state,” he said.
He, however, said his aspiration is as a result of the “massive call to service from youth in Osun and different sectors across the state”. He also said some stakeholders have charged him not to shy away from “this social responsibility”.
“And these calls didn’t just start. These calls have been going for long and I have been saying no,” he said. “The truth is that prosperity is there to judge us.
“What happens if peradventure I do not throw my hat in the race, PDP doesn’t get the opportunity of producing a formidable candidate and the PDP gets to lose this election and Osun State gets worse?”
He added that he would not be able to live with the reality of having the opportunity to make a difference and shying away from it.
Interestingly, Senator Adeleke’s nephew said he will not step down for him in the political race even though he is pressured to do so. He said his nephew should rather step down for him, considering his old age.
“It is time for a generation of shift. It is time for those who are fit and able to deliver,” he said. “The role of leadership or governance, especially in Osun, is a very serious thing.”
‘Osun in a Precarious State’
Moreover, Mr Adeleke, a financial expert, said his decades of experience in the banking industry would save Osun from its current precarious economic state. He said he believes he is more fit to bring better economic fortunes to the state than any other candidate both in PDP and APC.
“Osun is in a precarious state. Osun is the 10th most indebted state in Nigeria,” he said. “In 2020, Osun paid the sum of 21.6billion as loan repayment. That is the third-largest loan repayment in this country. In fact, our debt per capita is the highest in Nigeria.”
He said even Senator Adeleke knows he is fitter and more prepared for the gubernatorial race.
How it started
In September 2021, Senator Adeleke returned from abroad, publicly declaring his intention to run again for the Osun governorship election.
During a welcome party organised for him in Osogbo, the state capital, he urged Governor Oyetola to start preparing his handover notes, saying his days are numbered on the seat.
“I am back and ready to kick start my campaign,” he said. “PDP belongs to everyone, I can’t stop anyone interested in the party’s ticket from contesting it, but l appeal for decency among everyone for peace within the party and the state.”
He also urged interested parties to be modest with their campaigns in the interest of the state and their party.
How it’s going
When Senator Adeleke declared his ambition to run again in 2022, what he did not know was that his nephew was nursing the same ambition.
On December 11, 2021, his nephew, among others in the state, picked the party’s nomination form, expressing his interest to wear his brother’s political shoe.
Others who collected the nomination forms of the PDP were Akin Ogunbiyi, Sanya Omirin, Dotun Babayemi, and Fatai Akinbade.
In a statement issued after purchasing the form, Mr Adeleke said the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state, under the watch of Governor Oyetola, had put the state into debt through misplacement of priorities.
“This is what the APC represents – misplacement of priorities and mismanagement of scarce state resources,” he said.