FEW expected Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State to have passed peacefully. For us the peaceful conduct of the election was the surprise. The result might have been predictable, but many expected violence to becloud Osun.
Predictions were that the fiery inclinations of the major gladiators would produce huge bouts of violence, no matter the outcome of the poll. Their campaign speeches and direct attacks on each other were used as measures of the expected violence.
Thankfully, they were proved wrong. Many reasons could be given for the peace witnessed in Osun. Unless otherwise discovered, we would rate Osun people the most important factor in the peaceful election.
People were not ready to be used in the predicted violence. Without willing tools in the hands of politicians, violence evaporated. As the parties accused each other of desperation, expectations were that they would disrupt the election, if they thought the results were not in their favour.
It did not happen. From accreditation to voting, the exercise went well. Complaints were expected, and they were made, but they were minimal.
Like in Edo State last year, it was obvious the parties took propaganda too far. The tactics seemed to be to keep complaining and cease when the results are in your favour. We saw that in Osun State.
A major issue that appeared to have adverse effect on the results was the heavy presence of security agencies. They were in their numbers in earlier elections in Edo and Ekiti States. There appears to be a progression in the number of security personnel with subsequent elections.
Fears that they were recruited to help the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, win the election proved unfounded. They did their work, and the people conducted themselves in manners that gave the security agencies no reason to harass them.
Commendations for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the handling of the election could be qualified. However, it would seem that INEC, in Osun, was able to deal with the cyclical issue of distribution of electoral materials. It would be necessary to find out if INEC was efficient in Osun or benefitted from Osun’s less challenging terrain and good road network.
President Goodluck Jonathan quickly congratulated Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the winner. His party might be sulking over not winning elections in Edo, Anambra, and now Osun, States they once ruled. No ruling party has lost such number of States in our history and the President did nothing about it. His impartiality is commendable.
As the winner celebrates, we should note that the answer to peaceful elections lie in our collective decision to work against violence. We hope the Osun surprise continues through 2015.