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Opinion

#OsunDecides2022: Inside Osun Elections, Where Light Trampled Over Darkness

Observer’s Diary

 

Moving forward and having managed to recover from the shock and mental trauma gotten as a result of the massive vote buying that was staged at the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, which was held on June 18, 2022, there has strangely been a paradigm shift in attention to the next stop: Osun!

 

Viva Osun! Yes, the state of Osun was indeed the next stop. And there definitely has been a lot of situations and heat in the buildup to the July 16 governorship elections.

 

First is the circumstance that surrounds the selection of the party candidate at the primaries of the ruling party, APC, which successfully pitched the incumbent Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, over the tent of his predecessor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, whose camp has thrown their support to another aspirant, Alh. Moshood Adeoti—was the secretary to the state government during the tenure of his principal. 

 

Similarly, the discrepancies marred the selection of party candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). There were dissenting voices as a result of the emergence of Senator Nurudeen Adeleke as the party candidate from the suing Dọtun Babayemi camp, which had initially held an unrecognized parallel primary until squashed by a federal high court in Osogbo on May 18. So, it means moving into this election, there were a lot of vested interests, which were not only heating the polity but also creating a lot of fuss.

 

In the heart of Osogbo, Halatria Hotel Towers was the ascribed arrival location as carefully outlined by the Center for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID). My arrival was marred with tumultuous stress and overspending as I missed my way, mistaking a branch of the hotel. Instead of the towers adjacent to the city stadium at Omowest, my motorcyclist took me to the suites at Ibikunle. It was very late before I knew he was taking me to a different address.

 

After my eventual arrival at the right location, for two straight days, I, together with about 40 others, were lodged, trained and deployed. On Friday, everyone moved to their place of assignments. My place of primary election observation was Ilesa West—although INEC made a huge mistake as my tag carried Ilesa East. It took communication with Miss Bukunmi and further affirmations from Mr Mboho Eno and Mrs Busola Ajibola to get convinced and traverse Ilesa West with a wrong LGA tag. No! Don’t get it twisted. I had no fears, but my body likes shying away from intentional troubles, as I do not want to be another Daniel in Lion’s den. 

 

Mary Adebayo was my partner. We altogether arrived in Ilesa and lodged at Heringan Hotel & Event Centre, beside Total filling station, Imo, Ilesa. Almost immediately, I’d sent in our location to our superiors and my parent, should another Rahman Adedoyin Ife hotel saga reoccur; and just before we lay our heads on the moderately sized bed, we took our time to carefully map out the polling units we were to tour and saw through the right strategy to make it work.

 

A Clog In The Wheel Of Progress

 

I woke up at 5:30 am and said my prayers. My partner and I got all dressed up. We’d expected the calls of our bike men, but none was coming. Earlier the previous evening, we’d made arrangements with two bike men. We got one’s digit while the other got ours, promising to put a call through as soon as he charged since he doesn’t know his digits offhand. All eventually became an unfortunately helplessly futile exercise.

 

As early as 6:30 am, before road blockades became the order of the day, we had to hit the road to find other bike men. Luckily, we did! ‘Allahu Akbar–Hallelujah!’

 

In no time, we set out to the field, and my first point of work is unit 6, ward 1 and then unit 1, ward 2 and unit 6 in ward 8. Thereafter, we made our way to unit eight in ward eight, unit two in ward eight and then unit eight in ward four. Subsequently, I traversed unit five in ward four, unit 7 in ward 1, unit 8 in ward 1 and unit 15 in ward 7.

 

Voters’ Belief in Disbelief!

 

On each of these occasions, it was largely observed that there were little respect for and adherence to COVID-19 regulations by the voters. Almost everyone wants to vote at the same time. Tightly packed queues with not even a single respect for priority voting, notwithstanding the presence of the elderly, pregnant or people living with disabilities. They’re a bunch of believers who are reeking in unfortunate disbelief!

 

Light Trampled Over Darkness

 

The way it seems to the people of Osun, the current administration of the APC is tiresome. And a statement was made to affirm that. I bet you’re thinking of a public statement. Yes! But dear reader, I mean the ripple effect as a result of the voting process, from the nooks of Ede to the crannies of Ayedaade, the shouts and rants of ‘imọlẹ’ rent the air. Even in Iwo, Ilesa (Where I observed), Ilobu and Isokan, the umbrella party have taken over everywhere and with everyone you see, there’s always a two-finger placed on the eye—an insignia particular to the party’s candidate. It was a massive shutdown. In fact, we can be safe to say David Adeleke, the famous music star, had also contributed to this mass movement as he’d, days earlier, hit the Òsogbo mega rally of the PDP to support his uncle.

 

Even when the origin of the word can only be traced to the APC presidential candidate, upon the conclusion of the elections, the aphorism ‘O lulẹ’ (he failed) became the new slang in town.

 

Conclusion

 

The just concluded Osun state governorship elections are a talking point for the growth and development of the Nigerian democracy. While we battled a lot of vote buying and selling (vote trading) in Èkìtì State, we can say little about the situation with Osun. Although this is not to absolve any of the political parties in the state of any blame, the ‘o lulẹ’ mantra description of Governor Gboyega Oyetola was large a result of the people’s resolve to install a new government—which brings hope for a nation whose socio-economic growth is wallowing in an all-time abysmal low. But could this response also be replicated in the 2023 general elections?

DISCLAIMER: This story has been published on Campus Reporter with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.

 

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