By Bankole Taiwo
The loud ovation that greeted the entry of Senator Iyiola Omisore to the hall of Oduduwa University, Ile Ife during the memorial lecture for the late Kabiyesi Ooni Okunade Sijuwade is a signal that the former deputy governor of Osun state is still relevant in politics. Even members of the ruling opposition party at the forum accepted the fact that rather than losing popularity, Omisore has indeed become a figure that cannot just be pushed aside. His attachment to the grassroots, falling standard of education in Osun which resulted in the poor performance of candidates that sat for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and payment of half salaries to teachers in the past two years by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been identified as factors that will work in favour of Omisore.
Beyond the euphoria that the last month Osun West Senatorial by-election victory generated among the PDP members in the country, the celebrated victory, analysts said had in an unmistakable terms rekindled the life-long governorship ambition of the former deputy governor of the State,Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Senator Ademola Adeleke, PDP flagbearer and younger brother to the late Sen. Isiaka Adeleke representing the Senatorial district until his untimely death had defeated the APC candidate, Sen. Mudashiru Husain winning nine out of the ten local governments.
Senator Iyiola Omisore, a PDP chieftain and governorship candidate of the party in 2014 was said to have been very instrumental to the success of the party in that election. Aside campaigning vigorously for the party’s candidate, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, he was also reported to have brokered peace among warring members of the party urging them to sacrifice their differences and remain one united family to give the party the much needed victory in the election.
Truly, the party members heeded his advice and worked assiduously to return the party to its winning streaks, hence, its landslide victory in the by-election. The committed interest of Sen. Omisore as well as his visible contributions towards the electoral success of the party in Osun West Senatorial district was said to have further endeared him to the party members with a renewed hope that the Ile-Ife born Engineer turned politician would be a formidable candidate for the party during next year governorship challenge in the State.
Already, there were reports that since the party bounced back to reckoning with the landslide victory recorded during the by-election, the former deputy governor’s house has become Mecca of some sort for politicians coming to identify with his leadership and possibly urging him to join2018 governorship race for the State that dubbed itself as the Living Spring.
Arguably, the Ile-Ife born politician is also not a push over in Osun State politics having served as the deputy governor from 1999 to 2003.
Despite being in detention at Agodi prison as a result of his alleged involvement in the dastard murder of the former old Oyo State governor and Attorney General of the federation, Chief Bola Ige, the 59 years old in 2003 went ahead to clear Osun East Senatorial sit and was re-elected again for another four years in 2007.
He had been handed defeat twice by the ruling party, APC in 2011 during his third term bid to return to the Senate as well as in 2014 when he lost his governorship challenge to Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, the incumbent governor.
Many are however of the opinion that the Senator has the political sagacity and clout and may as well hold the ace to realizing the dream of the opposition party to return to Osun State government house in 2018.
Commending Omisore for the rare feat, Ibadan politician and former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, described Omisore’s peace initiative as “very impressive and statesmanlike saying the party must come together to win elective posts. He said: “If we refuse to embrace peace at state and national levels, that is the end; we all go and look for another job, it’s as simple as that. We must now work to see how the Omisore model can be applied to other states with protracted issues of fictionalisation.” Also commending his rare feat, a Professor of Political Economy from the University of East London, Professor Isaac A. Coker, poured encomium on Senator Omisore for his ability to foster unity within the PDP factional leaders and among aggrieved members of the party in the state.