As Osun State goes to the poll tomorrow, WALE ELEGBEDE writes on the issues that will shape the election and emergence of the fifth governor of the state in a couple of hours
Created on 27th of August, 1991, by the military regime of former head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, Osun State, has had four democratically elected governors and four military administrators.
Aptly named the State of the Living Spring, the state has a population of 3,416,959 and occupies a land mass of 9,251 square kilometers. The State has witnessed three elections due to several protracted election litigations.
At the advent of the Fourth Republic, Osun State which has 30 local government areas, was governed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD). But in 2003, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) upstaged them from the Government House and confined them to the opposition.
After seven years in the saddle, the PDP was booted out by the ruling of the court in 2010 and the ‘progressives’ got their mojo back.
Thus, the leadership of the 27 year old state has rotated between the PDP and the metarmophosing progressives.
But another history of the state is about to be written tommorow as the governorship election takes place in the South-West state.
The build-up to the poll has been intensive; the candidates and their parties have poured vitriol on each other, promises have been made, alliances have been tied and broken, just as massive public campaign have been done by all.
But at the heart of tomorrow’s election are issues that unlike the campaign’s that came and gone, have refused to the voting consciousness of the electorate because they hold them dearly as the talking point even after the make believe world of campaigns.
For them, their votes will go along the lines of these issues, regardless of the sentiments that may be read from it. These issues are the key election battleground which may sway victory or otherwise to any of the candidates and their parties.
The latest trend of vote-buying is one of the issues that analysts believe may define the outcome of the gubernatorial election in Osun.
Vote buying is a practice of inducing voters to make them vote for a particular candidate during an election. It was the headline of the governorship elections in Edo, Anambra and Ekiti States and its being anticipated that Saturday’s polls will be no different despite assurances by the electoral body, INEC, that it will tighten the noose on such irregularities.
The election is expected by many to be a close contest between five leading candidates, though there are 48 candidates in the election, including four women.
The experience from the Due to the four previous successive governorship elections in the country in the last two years, has made vote buying a recurring issue that may surface again tomorrow across the local governments.
But the electoral body is spitting fire ahead of Saturday’s poll and it said that it has engaged measures to check the oddity.
On Monday, the commission banned the use of phones, cameras or ”any device that can snap image inside polling booths.”
It earlier threatened to publish names and prosecute those caught either buying or selling votes.
Watchers of the unfolding events in the Osun State governorship election are of the view that one of the critical issues that will determine Saturday’s election is religion.
For two dominant political parties in the , namely the All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),
The people of Osun State practice Islam, Christianity and their ancient religion, the traditional faith. Interestingly, the different towns within the state have their dominant religion.
The outgoing governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a Muslim and his party’s governorship candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola is also a Muslim.
Expectedly, religion will play a big part in Saturday’s election but where the pendulum will swing is what is left to be seen.
The election is expected by many to be a close contest between four leading candidates, though there are 48 candidates in the election, including four women.
Interestingly, observers aver that Oyetola of the APC (Osun Central), Adeleke of the PDP (Osun West) and Iyiola Omisore of the SDP (Osun East), Moshood Adeoti ADP (Osun West) are the candidates to watch out for in the contest.
Incidentally, the candidates hail respectively from the three senatorial districts in the Southwest state. The three are popular and their parties have strength to carry through the polls.
Although the Osun West zone clamoured that the APC should zoned its ticket to the zone owing to rotation principle among the three senatorial districts in the state, the APC rather took the ticket to Central which had produced two former governors for the state.
Expectedly, the Osun West zone will likely queue behind their sons (Adeleke and Adeoti), a move which may eventually divide votes from the zone.
The Osun East where Omisore is coming out from may not be too handful for the SDP as the outgoing governor, Aregbesola, is from the district. Omisore is from IIe Ife while Aregbesola is from Ilesha.
Salaries, emolument, pension
The candidates especially the frontrunners have unfolded their policy thrusts and agenda for the people of the state in their various campaigns. Of course, the issue of salaries and emolument was a recurring one due to the the events in the state.
Oyetola said the state cannot afford to retrogress following the vast improvements recorded in the last seven-and-half years of the current administration.
According to him: “Having been a privileged member of the team that has brought the current transformation our state has witnessed these past seven and a half years, I know what the issues are.
“I know that what our people need is an agenda of continuity and revitalisation that will deepen the current gains in infrastructural development.
“I know what we need is to continue to work and even harder to increase our revenue base to support the payment of salaries, pensions and other deserved emoluments of our teeming workers.
“What our state needs urgently is to further soar with inclusive, innovative and unwavering governance. We cannot afford to retrogress. Not anymore. The job at hand is too urgent to be left alone for just anyone unprepared.”
On his part, Omisore said that his manifesto is centred on human capital development.
The former deputy governor remarked that the party was insisting on human capital development because the success of any policy and programme depends largely on human capital development.
He noted that unemployment rate in Osun was high and for him to plan, he must know the number of unemployed graduates.
According to him: “We want to plan for the development of Osun. The present government is not sincere. Our people are impoverished, but the state government is giving jobs to plumbers, masons and other artisans from Lagos.”
Omisore said he would ensure local content in his government, if elected. “All jobs emanating from Osun State would be done by the people in Osun, while graduates would be employed and trained to be employable.
“Osun’s money shall be spent by our people and not Lagosians. Unemployment shall be tackled using my professional and entrepreneurial goodwill to benefit Osun people.”
For Adeleke, his wealth of experience as a lawmaker and his upbringing will come to the fore when he becomes the governor of the state.
According to him, “I’m contesting because of the people. Our people are suffering and we need to liberate them.
“If I become governor, I cannot steal money that belongs to people. I have achieved everything that I could need money for in life.
“I have built houses, I have cars; I have everything. So, what would I do with stolen money? So, I won’t steal as a governor. I only want to serve.”
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