By Yaya Ademola
RELYING on the massive infrastructure development it had admittedly recorded in terms of roads, urban renewal and mega schools, and considering that the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is a street-wise, grassroots mobiliser, it was expected that his All Progressives Congress (APC) should have an easy outing during the governorship election in Osun State notwithstanding the defectors from the party on account of the outcome of the direct primary considered free and fair.
In addition to massive infrastructure development, the Aregbesola administration had surpassed many in the country in delivering unique, visionary, pioneering milestone Social Protection Programmes and various pro-poor people initiatives in consonance with his Six-Point Integral Action Plan that have revamped the economy and yielded many fruits.
It is instructive to note that while other major Political Parties – APC, ADP, SDP – were vigorously campaigning left, right and centres of the State, attending debates to present and canvass their programmes and manifestoes to seek for votes from the electorate, the People Democratic Party, PDP, did not.
For the purpose of convenience and clarity, this analysis will be restricted to APC and PDP. In the entire 30 Local Government Areas, APC won 15 while PDP won 12. Apart from Ede North and South, the political base of Adeleke’s PDP, the highest margin with which PDP defeated APC in the 12 LGAs is 3,799 – Irewole LGA. Osogbo LGA, the State Capital and APC Political base, with the highest Voters Register, PVC collection and accreditation, the margin with which APC defeated PDP is 8,880. In Ede North and South, the margin with which PDP defeated APC is 23,901.
This was the figure APC could not neutralise despite the fact that it won majority 15 Local Governments as against PDP’s 12 Local Governments. Since the matter is in the Tribunal, it shall be established whether or not PDP legitimately got the extra-ordinary winning margin of 23,901 acclaimed votes.
At the end of the counting, PDP had 254,698 while APC had 254,345, leaving 353 differences in favour of the PDP. However, because of violence unleashed in Seven Polling Units of four Local Governments by thugs with sporadic shootings which prevented some electorate to exercise their voting rights, ballot snatching, returning officer running away with results, etc, INEC declared the election inconclusive. It was inconclusive to the extent that the difference between the two leading parties is far less than the number of votes cancelled as a result of disruption (and consequent disenfranchisement of the voters therein) – margin 353; cancelled votes 2,449. Hence, a re-run.
Seven Units in Four Local Governments affected were Ife North (Ward 10, Polling Unit 002), Ife South (Ward 7, Polling Unit 7 and Ward 8, Polling Unit 10), Orolu (Ward 8, Polling Units 1and 4; Ward 9, Polling Unit 3) and Osogbo (Ward 5, Polling Unit 17).
APC National leadership with six Governors led by the Chairman, knowing the influence wielded by Social Democratic Party (SDP)candidate in Ife Zone, flew to Ife to strike a deal of support and collaboration with Senator Iyiola Omisore. It applied same approach to an aggrieved aspirant in the APC primary, the House of Representative Deputy Speaker, Hon. Lasun Yussuf, a strong man of Orolu. Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, ADP candidate, the strongman of Iwo, who did not matter in the re-run was also visited for alliance in the re-run. With these deals, among others, APC was sure of victory.
On its part, Adeleke PDP believed its tact would fetch it victory. Apart from the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who paid a visit to Omisore, Adeleke dynasty discouraged other PDP leaders from striking a deal with Omisore.
The clear lessons of the election must be learnt by all as the general elections approach early next year. For one, the pervading material poverty of the majority population, among whom are the electorate, have made good governance a secondary consideration in election matters. Parties whose traditional stock-in-trade was ballot snatching and writing bogus results, have moved on with the ICT age and advancing template of the electoral guideline, and scientific vote buying and corrupt inducement of voters, right from party primaries as seen recently with one of the major parties, is the order of the approaching electoral dooms day.
Parties that are reliant on following through the rules while banking on integrity and achievements are all in patent trouble with those that have nothing to offer but are masters of manipulations with loads of dough.
The sad reality is that, however, clinical the procedure is, once there is pervading poverty of the majority and a party enamoured to corruption and mindless of the rules, the people will never be able to conscientiously decide the outcome of election, especially in favour of good governance, democratic advancement and social progress. It is a challenge to all men of goodwill in and out of politics, and must be the focus of Osun election outcome analysis rather than partisan and pedestrian exchanges.