*OPINION: Olubiyi Fadeyi and the task of pulling a pleasant surprise, by Jare Tiamiyu*
“I can tell you that we’re tired. Our party seriously gave that ticket to a wrong person. No one looks for any good from him if he eventually win that election. He doesn’t look like someone who will perform. He is not campaigning. It seems he’s suffering from (asasi) spell from SRJ.” These were the exact words of a vibrant member of the People’s Democratic Party said in January.
Shortly after he used his stronger financial muscle to defeat heavyweights like Gani Olaoluwa, Kamorudeen Ajisafe and Felix Ogunwale (Jumokol) to win the keenly contested primaries of the People’s Democratic Party, many people started learning about who Olubiyi Fadeyi popularly called Ajagunla is. Then his media helmsmen started reminding us that he was the senatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress in 2019 where he gathered paltry over a thousand votes across the 10 local government areas.
To help residents and electorates in the senatorial district further, most especially in his academic qualifications, Fadeyi also adopted the Iyiola Omisore’s style by putting his qualifications on his posters. I believe readers will remember the HKS, HKE (Harvard) etc on his first set of posters. Maybe it’s a good style as his opponent is a Doctorate Degree holder in law.
During the Osun State governorship elections, Fadeyi was largely unseen at the forefront of the struggle neither was his impact felt during the election. But at least, we must not forget that the PDP won the governorship polls in Boluwaduro and Ila local government areas where the now Senator-elect hails from.
As the governorship election results were out, it became obvious that only miracle can take the incumbent Senator, Ajibola Basiru back to the hallowed chamber as Adegboyega Oyetola, whom he (Basiru) served as Director General of his campaign, lost eight of ten local government areas in Osun Central.
However, despite this advantage that political observers and actors expected to boost the morale of Fadeyi, the Abuja-based businessman-turned-politician became more invisible, irregular and less active during the political campaign.
As the 2023 campaigns were at its peak and Basiru was not giving anything to chances, Fadeyi was still not seen. Only Alhaji Muniru Adebayo Raji and some party members were canvassing for votes on his behalf. In short, history has it that our Senator-elect became a scarce commodity online, in the media and even in the grassroots. He sent representatives to all events such as community day celebrations, religious groups invitations, social programmes, among others. The role of Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji towards his emergence, even though criticised, will also be appreciated by the PDP members.
The sinking of Basiru with over 16k votes is affirmation of the rejection shown in July. Basiru who was alleged of arrogance by persons within and outside his political parties, was later humbled by the results in his senatorial district. He immediately tried all possible best to remove the regalia of arrogance he has procured since his days as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola but it looked like that it was late already. His new found attitude was not enough to wash off damages already caused by his sharp mouth.
Back to Fadeyi matter. During the campaign, our Osun Central Senator-elect has no social contract with the people he will be representing. He contested majorly without a known manifestos or agenda as his speech during any public gathering or at campaign still remains as surplus as new naira notes. Yes, one may say he has an agenda released by his media handlers but the Muhammadu Buhari’s experience where his agenda was different from the paper presented during campaign, remains a valid lesson.
It’s safe to say Ajagunla won on the popularity of Senator Ademola Adeleke and most importantly, the outright rejection of APC and Ajibola Basiru in the Osun Central. More so, the penetration, hardwork and rigorous campaign of the three house of representatives candidates in the zone also translated into votes for him. What a lucky candidate!
As Olubiyi Fadeyi will be sworn in and inaugurated in June, residents of the ten local government areas will be hopeful that he has learnt from the failure of his predecessor and the newly discovered wisdom of the electorates. He has been labeled an opportunist, but many people believe he has capacity to pull a pleasant surprise in the coming years. That will not only cement his place in Osun political history but also ensure the popularity of his Party doesn’t wane.
Finally, Osun Central people will hope that electing Fadeyi is not a mean of increasing the number of his offices in Abuja.
Jare Tiamiyu is a journalist and Chairman of Osun Online News Publishers, he writes from Ilobu, Irepodun local government area of Osun State.