By Oluwaseye Ogunsanya & Mustapha Lawal
The Osun State governorship election is billed to hold on Saturday, 16th July 2022 with all forms of campaigns scheduled to end Thursday, 14th July 2022. According to INEC as well as various stakeholders, preparations are in top gear to ensure that the process is hitch-free.
The election is significant because it precedes the 2023 general elections which are just seven months away and it also comes one month after the conclusion of the Ekiti state governorship election.
Observers claim that the recent gubernatorial election in Ekiti State was marked by the inducement of voters by the two major parties in the race, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC). These parties were accused of engaging in the act after videos surfaced showing how money was distributed to the electorate to influence their voting in the election.
Stakeholders have asked INEC to conduct themselves better during the Osun election, noting the necessity of stepping up voter education so that vote buying does not dominate the process.
As the Osun governorship election takes the center stage this weekend, here are the key details to know
This election will be the 6th to be conducted since the creation of the state in 1991.
5 persons have governed the state since its creation namely:
Isiaka Adeleke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) — He ruled for 22 months due to the annulment of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election by the then military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida. This action led to the dissolving of all political offices in Nigeria.
Adebisi Akande of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) — He ruled the state from May 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy till May 29, 2003.
Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — He managed the affairs of the state from 2003 till 2010 when he was sacked by the Supreme Court.
Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over in 2010 and was subsequently elected for another term in 2014.
Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the incumbent and he is seeking reelection to govern the state for another 4 years.
According to INEC, 1.9 million voters will take part in the election as against the figures of 2018 which stood at 1.68 million.
The total number of polling units stands at 3,763.
The number of registration areas for the election is 332 in the 30 lGA.
Out of the 18 registered parties in the state, 15 political parties will be contesting the election.
The final list of candidates released by INEC reveals that there are 15 candidates for the election. This represents a decline from the 48 candidates who contested the 2018 election.
The election is all-male, in contrast to the 2018 governorship election, which featured four female candidates for governor. However, six female deputy candidates were fielded by the Action Democratic Party, Boot Party, New Nigeria People’s Party, National Rescue Movement, Young Progressive Party, and Zenith Labour Party, compared to none by the APC and PDP.
The incumbent Gboyega Oyetola of the APC and Ademola Adeleke of the PDP will be running against one another again in what appears to be a rekindled battle. Remember that in 2018, Oyetola was in second place with 254,345 votes and Adeleke was in first place with 254,689 votes, but INEC deemed the result inconclusive, forcing a rerun in which Oyetola won by only 482 votes.
According to data, Osun State’s voter registration has grown steadily throughout the course of electoral cycles.
In the 2003 election, there were 1.37 million registered voters, and 58.63 percent of those individuals cast ballots on election day. In the 2014 election, there were 1.41 million registered voters, but only 53.14 percent of them cast ballots. 1.68 million people were registered to vote as of 2018. But voting participation fell to 45.74 percent.
In the latest Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) released by INEC, an additional 360,548 persons have completed their voter card registration. It is only hoped that this addition to the existing number of registered voters will translate to increased voter turnout in the July 16 polls