#OsunDecides2018 : Registered electorates in Osun State will today exercise their political rights to elect a new governor who will pilot the affairs of the state for the next four years.
The election is significant in many ways; it is the last major election before the 2019 general election, it’s preceding party politicking is one filled with drama and the election also serves as a litmus test for measures taken to curb vote buying.
Beyond this, the contention expected of an election where 48 candidates have emerged from different political parties is an intrigue to await.
The election is going to be a shift from a two horse race that is prevalent in many Nigerian elections. At least five major contenders are considered potential winners in the election.
They are; Iyiola Omisore, a former deputy governor of the state donning the flag of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Gboyega Oyetola, a former chief of staff to the incumbent governor. contesting under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); Isiaka Adeleke, a senator seeking to become governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); a former Secretary to the State Government, Fatai Akinbade contesting under the African Democratic Party (ADP) and another former Secretary to the State Government, Moshood Adeoti of the Action Democratic Party (ADP).
Even though other political parties may be considered as underdogs, aggressive campaigns and media engagements that played out few days to the election is a pointer to what upset these ‘underdogs’ could mutter.
Beyond party politics, attention is on the state to see how it fares in the ugly trend of voters’ inducement which has characterised recent elections in Nigeria. It is still left to be seen if vows by INEC and security agencies will stem the tide.
Over one million people are eligible to vote in the election. According to INEC, about 1,246,915 permanent voter cards were collected by potential voters of the 1,682,495 registered voters.
Voting is expected to hold in about 3,010 polling units, across 30 local government areas.
The intention of the opposition parties is to defeat the ruling APC as the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola bows out in November. The campaigns have been intense and the parties have speared no effort to ensure victory today.
However, INEC has promised a free, fair and credible exercise with the support of security agencies, and collaboration of other stakeholders.
The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development, has deployed about 180 observers in the 30 local governments of Osun.