BY Clifford Ndujihe & Dapo Akinrefon
IF the winner of today’s governorship election in Osun State is to be determined by the issues canvassed by the candidates and their parties during the campaigns, which ended yesterday, none of the leading candidates will be elected.
Reason: most of the candidates, arguably, have not convincingly articulated any policy on education, healthcare, job creation, agriculture, infrastructure, rural development and road construction among others during the 89 days campaigns, which started on May 11.
Since May 11, the campaigns have been dominated by exchange of brick-bats, campaign of calumny, character assassination, mud-slinging, allegations and counter-allegations among the leading candidates. They have said little or nothing on what they would do for Osun State development-thirsty voters and how.
As the campaigns petered out, the candidates did not deem it fit to change the scenario leading observers to wonder what the electorate would base their decision on when they troop out today to exercise their franchise.
A perusal of media reports on Osun 2014 reveals campaigns lacking in issues and ideology but replete with abuses and bickering. For any issue-based campaign, there are on the average five abusive ones.
The major culprits are the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which incidentally are the front-runners in today’s balloting.
The reports were dominated by exchange of brick-bats between APC and PDP. If APC is not accusing PDP of planning to rig the election in connivance with the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP will be accusing of plotting to rig with thugs from Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and other APC states.
If APC alleged that PDP was planning to terrorise the citizens with security agencies, PDP would counter that APC was planning mayhem using ‘state boys’ it had armed.
Both parties also bickered and traded words over religious hate campaigns, desperation to win, inciting residents, plot to cause mayhem, militarizing the election, threat to lives of leaders and plots to win with cash and rice dubbed ‘stomach infrastructure’ among others.
Hold Aregbesola responsible for hate campaigns –Odeyemi
Asked who should be held responsible for the acerbic accusations and counter-accusations that trailed the campaigns, Prince Diran Odeyemi, the director of Media and Strategy of the Iyiola Omisore Campaign Organisation, he fingered the APC and its standard bearer, Governor Aregbesola.
His words: ”It will be wrong to accuse PDP of violence because the records are there that no single incidence of violence was recorded in all the places we visited while it was in the news that we were attacked by APC thugs otherwise called “state boys” by Governor Aregbesola.
”We did not campaign in Ilesa East because we were attacked almost immediately we completed our campaign in Ilesa West and APC felt humiliated with the support we got in a place considered to be Aregbesola’s strong hold.
When he commenced his campaign in Ife, they had a field day with no record of attack anywhere. So who is violent in this case? 187 Osun APC thugs were arrested in Anambra, 200 in Ekiti and one commissioner was arrested in Delta recently with a bullion van loaded with money to recruit militants for the election. So who is violent?
Senator Omisore has replied that his ambition does not worth the blood of anybody in Osun, so who is violent?”PDP is responsible for chaos in Osun –APC
Responding, the Osun chapter of the APC countered that the PDP was responsible and warned the party and its governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore and his supporters to desist from causing chaos in the guise of political campaigns.
In a statement by the Director of Publicity, Strategy and Research, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, the party cautioned all agents and promoters of conflicts and chaos to refrain from such acts or “face the wrath of the law”.
The statement read: “People could still remember that during its tenure, the PDP administration promoted chaos, terror and violence to an unimaginable level. Since PDP’s exit from power however, peace returned to Osun. Our people have from 2010 embraced the peace and harmony that Aregbesola’s government heralded.
“It has been shown to the whole world that this state values, enjoys and promotes harmonious living among its various peoples.
This is one of the cardinal programmes of the APC government. Ours is not a government that fans the embers of disquiet, discord and chaos. “Government will do everything humanly possible to sustain the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that have become the state’s hallmark in the last four years. Any attempt by opposition agents to plunge the state back into the state of ‘nature where life is nasty, brutish and short’ will be prevented.”
APC, PDP‘ve failed Nigerians –Okorie
Speaking on the issue, National Chairman of the United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, said it was time the electorate abandoned the PDP and APC because they had failed the country and embrace alternative parties.
“We see APC and PDP as two sides of the same coin. We see them having equal distribution of the same characters that have kept Nigeria in comatose, politically and economically. So, we see a political battle line that is drawn between the progressive forces and the reactionary forces. And these two parties, the APC and the PDP belong to the reactionary forces.
They are not telling Nigerians anything new. They have not told Nigerians what any of them will do to improve on our situation. Instead, what they are doing is throwing tantrums at each other. Going deep into their repository of vocabulary to find the most acerbic words to attack each other without ever saying what they want to do differently.
So, if you leave those two parties just like that without any alternative that means Nigerians are doomed because they have no choice,” he said.