© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Osun Decides 2018: A brief profile of Osun State
OSUN State is currently basking in the spotlight as the people of the state go to the poll to choose the next governor come September 22.
The State, formerly referred to as the ‘State of the Living Spring’, but now known as ‘the Land of Virtue’, was created from the old Oyo state on August 27, 1991, by the administration of the then Military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida. After the high wire politics among the interested parties, Osogbo was eventually selected as the capital city.
The landlocked state roughly spreads over an area of 14,875 km2, with an estimated population of about 4 million people according to the National Population Census carried out in 2006. It is bounded by Ogun State to the south, Kwara State to the north, Oyo State to the west and Ekiti and Ondo State to the east. The state is within the tropical rainforest with an abundance of resources. Minerals resources found in the state include gold, kaolin, and others.
Osun state is a multi-cultural society that is home to different sub-ethnic groups namely Ijesha, Ife, Ibolo, Igbomina and Oyo all of Yoruba extraction, whose culturally rich and uniquely distinct tradition can be seen in all spheres of life such as arts, literature, music and other social activities in the state.
The agrarian state prides itself arguably as the “breadbasket of South West Nigeria” because of the abundance of food and cash crops it is naturally endowed with, which pools traders and artisans to the state and further help in its economic development. The state is also famous for many prominent markets such as Owena, Sekona, Ikirun, Ifon, Odo Ori markets and attracts people from different parts of the country to the state.
Osun state is a cultural hub with ancient antiquities that boost a thriving tourism industry that had seen visitors from different countries of the world paying visits to tourist attractions like the Osun – Osogbo sacred grove, Olumirin waterfalls in Erin – Ijesa amongst others. Every year, adherents and non-adherents of Osun, one of the Orisa (the traditional deities of the Yoruba people), travel from all over the world to attend the annual Osun – Osogbo festival in August. The foremost traditional ruler in Osun State is the Ooni of Ife, currently personified by Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) who is believed to be a descendant of Oduduwa the ancestor of the Yoruba nation.
In the build-up to the Osun 2018 gubernatorial election, it is not unusual to hear different political rhetorics, speeches and campaign slogans from various politicians gunning for the office of the Governor but the ball lies in the court of the eligible voters to determine who occupies the Government House at Abere for the next four years. Records obtained from INEC as at 3rd September 2018 reveals that 1,682,495 people were duly registered to vote while the number of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that has been collected is put at 1,208,187 which is estimated at 72.03 per cent, also the number of uncollected Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is put at 468,025 which accounts for 27.9 per cent of the voting populace.
With 48 political parties vying for the plum job, the only female aspirant in the polls is Mercy Ayodele on the platform of Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN) while all the other candidates are all males. With 3,010 polling units spread across 332 wards in the 30 local government councils of the state, though the outcome of the election is uncertain pundits and political enthusiasts know who the major contenders are to replace the current governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Chronological list of democratically elected governors of Osun State and their parties
- Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke (SDP): was in charge from January 1992 to November 1993.
- Chief Bisi Akande (AD): served from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2003
- Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (PDP) took over from Chief Akande and was in charge from May 29, 2003, – May 29, 2007, for the first term. He served for three and a half years of his second tenure but was removed by the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, on November 26, 2010.
- Rauf Aregbesola (ACN/APC): was declared the validly elected Governor in the 2007 election by the Court of Appeal. He began his first term on November 27, 2010, and won a second term in 2014. He is the current Governor of Osun State.