The Osun-West Central senatorial by-election will hold today in 10 local governments of the state.

The seat became vacant following the death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke on April 23, 2017.

Many indigenes of the 10 local government areas have returned home since Thursday in solidarity with the candidates of their choice.

The 10 local government areas are Ede North, Ede South, Iwo, Egbedore, Isokan, Ayedade, Ayedire, Irewole, Ejigbo and Olaoluwa.

The contest is straight fight between the Peoples Democratic Party’s Ademola Adeleke, who is the younger brother of the late senator, and Mudashiru Hussein of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

None of the two candidates can be dismissed with a wave of the hand. But many factors, according to analysts, will shape the poll.

The APC candidate enjoys the backing of the governor, Rauf Aregbesola, who had unreservedly squandered a huge quantum of energy, resources and his goodwill on securing the needed votes for his erstwhile commissioner.

Besides the support from Aregbesola, Hussein is not a political neophyte. He was once a member of the Senate and House of Representatives.

He represented Oshodi-Isolo federal constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) between 1999 and 2007.

He then contested the senatorial seat in 2007 against Isiaka Adeleke, but lost. However, he defeated the late Senator during the 2011 elections on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria. He was pressured to submit the ticket to Adeleke in 2015 when both became members of the same party.

Although the APC has dominated the state since 2010, many things may work against the party in the election.

Adeleke defected from the APC to the PDP at the twilight of its primaries after his opponent, Hussein, who was disqualified by both the primaries' committee and the appeals committee, suddenly received clearance by the party’s national working committee. 

Adeleke accused the party leadership of failing to allow transparency in the process.

Adeleke’s emergence as the PDP’s flagbearer became possible when two other contestants for the ticket, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi and Olayiwola Falabi stepped down for him.

Unlike other states where either by-election or general election has taken place in recent times, PDP is not divided on the candidature of Adeleke.

Another factor that may work for Adeleke is the existing zoning arrangement in the senatorial district.

While Hussein from Ejigbo was a serving senator, the lot fell on an Ede man to become a member, House of Representatives. With the stepping down of Hussein in 2015 and the emergence of Adeleke from Ede, the lot correspondingly fell on an Ejigbo man as Member, House of Representatives.

Already, 8 political parties in the state have endorsed and adopted Adeleke as their consensus candidate. The parties under the aegis of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) directed their members and supporters to vote for Adeleke in the election.

The parties that adopted Adeleke include Action Alliance (AA), Social Democratic Party, (SDP); Green Party of Nigeria (GPN); Alliance for Democracy (AD); Democratic People’s Party (DPP); Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN); All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).

Although religion does not make any difference in Osun politics, it has, however, taken the front banner in this election.

Ede is predominantly Muslim and this may have forced Adeleke to change his middle name with which he registered as a voter overnight from Jackson to Nurudeen. Adeleke’s father’s was a Muslim but he obviously hitherto practised his mother’s religion, Christianity.

Both APC and PDP are optimistic of victory. But only the voters, with their voter cards will determine the outcome after all.