AS preparations for the September 22, 2018 governorship poll in Osun State gather momentum, strong indication emerged that discreet moves are on to narrow the choice of gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to the Chief of Staff (CoS) to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and another aspirant, Mr Adelere Adeyemi Orilowo, an engineer.
While Oyetola hails from Iragbiji in Osun Central Senatorial District, while Orilowo, who currently heads an Osun State agency is a native of Iwo town in Osun West Senatorial District.
This plan, it was gathered, is already causing ripples in the party with other aspirants reportedly vowing to thwart the move.
Though there are quite a number of other gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the APC, including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Lasun Yusuf, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salaam; the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, Dr Abiodun Saka Layonu (SAN), Dr Ezekiel Adebola Oyemomi, impeccable sources informed our correspondent that the party may eventually settle for either Oyetola or Orilowo.
According to one of the sources, who pleaded anonymity, power blocs within the APC in Osun State and outside the state, among whom are Governor Rauf Aregbesola, his political mentor and national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu and some stalwarts of the ruling party are the masterminds of the arrangement.
The source, who confided in Saturday Tribune further disclosed that July 7, 2018 had been fixed by the party leadership for the conduct of its primary exercise, where the flag bearer of the party would emerge.
He explained that the forces backing the choice of Orilowo are pointing at his Christian background which they argue could secure votes from Christians in the state as well as from Osun West Senatorial District against the perceived fears that stakeholders and power blocs in the axis may gang up against any party that fails to pick its flag bearer from Osun West.
Saturday Tribune also learnt that the ruling APC is looking at the religious factor of attracting votes from the Christian population, bearing in mind that the first executive governor of the state, Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke was a Muslim while his successor, Chief Bisi Akande is also a Muslim. Former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is the only Christian who has governed the state as civilian governor since its creation in 1991 just as the outgoing Governor Rauf Aregbesola is also a Muslim.
However, when contacted, the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in Osun State, Mr Kunle Oyatomi said he was not aware of the plan and the decision of the party leadership in the state to conduct the governorship primary on July 7.