The Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, was the only major candidate that shunned the Osun State Governorship debate organised by Channels Television on Sunday.
Adeleke’s podium with his name written on it remained vacant from the beginning to the end of the two-hour debate.
The event started at 7:00 p.m with three candidates present.
They include Moshood Adeoti, Action Democratic Party (ADP); Iyiola Omisore, Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Fatai Akinbade, African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) later arrived after the national anthem had been recited and the three candidates have introduced themselves, reading their profile.
Adeleke, who has issues with his WASSCE certificate and his university degree, never showed up. Iyiola Omisore, a former member of the PDP, who quit to join the SDP, mocked Adeleke for his absence.
During the debate, zoning was one of the issues discussed by the candidates.The candidate from the West Senatorial District insisted it should be the turn of the zone to govern the state. The others disagreed.
Read the responses of the candidates when asked about zoning in the state.
I think it all borders on equity. When this state was created, I think everybody was very hopeful that everything will be equitably distributed. But for the Central (Senatorial District) to have already spent 20 years and the East – already eight years is running out. Everybody believes that it should come to our Senatorial District (West). It is not that we do not have the materials; we have very qualified people and we believe we deserve to have a shot.
It is an open secret that since 1999, when this republic came into being, West Senatorial District has been deprived of governing this state. In 1999, Chief Bisi Akande was there; he governed the state for four years. We in the Alliance for Democracy then had it in mind that Chief Akande to go for the second term but man proposes and God disposes. Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola won the election in 2003 and he was there for four years… We believe that after 11-and-a-half years for Central and eight years for the East Senatorial District, it is the turn – that is what people are clamouring for – of the West Senatorial District.
I usually don’t like to get into this controversy, to be honest with you. But if you look at the historical perspective of the state, there is no time zoning has ever been adopted. Even when the state was part of Oyo State, we had a situation where Chief Bola Ige was the governor, Chief (Sunday) Afolabi was the deputy and Chief Bisi Akande was the Secretary. Progressives usually go for the best anywhere it is found. In any case, it is important for all the zones to participate actively in the choice of who rules the state. If the best comes from West or East or Centre, so be it. If Nigerians could be mayors in advanced countries, let the brilliant people in the West (Senatorial District) come out.
Osun State came into being; the first governor of Osun State came from the West, second and third from the Central, fourth one from the East. That zoning formula has concluded. Whoever becomes governor now, starts the new zoning… I believe that zoning is only myopic, lazy and mediocritic.
On salaries to Osun Workers: APC’s Oyetola explains:
“I think there is a misconception, we don’t pay half salaries. We pay Modulated Salaries.
He further explained that the state is currently not oweing any workers, adding that for those who were not being paid in full, an agreement had been reached between them and the government on the system of payment when the country experienced an economic downturn.
“Levels 1 to 7 have full salaries. We are not oweing anybody on levels 1 to 7.
“Levels 8 to 10 now earn 75%. Its only 12 and above that earn 50% and like I said, when there was economic downturn, it was a joint decision between the workers and the government.
“There was a committee that was set up where we resolved that rather than laying off workers, we believe the situation we found ourselves was temporary and decided to let every worker still be on the pay roll,” he said.