Osun: Who Won the Election? By Obinna Iroegbu
I do not want to believe that I would be the only one who is looking at the just concluded governorship election in Osun State differently. I am certain that dispassionate observers of the trend and dimensions of the election would be agitated by the same question, ‘Who won at Osun?’ In 2011, during the general elections, Rauf Aregbesola was barely a year on the saddle as the governor of Osun State. The Osun electorate had yet to test the man by having a taste of his style and method of leadership. The people’s expectations were, as could be said, relatively high. In anticipation of the good governance promised by Aregbesola’s party personified by the exploits of the two-time Commissioner of Work in Lagos State, they decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. The electorate in Osun voted massively for the then Action Congress of Nigeria represented by Aregbesola. The support was total. Suffice it to say that the then ACN got as much as 90 per cent of the total votes cast in an election which was not as thoroughly monitored and well-supervised as the Saturday election.
The situation that played out in Osun was not the same in other southwestern states. In Ekiti, where the events that brought about the emergence of Governor Kayode Fayemi was akin to that which gave birth to Aregbesola, the people were still in love with this gap-toothed and soft-spoken PhD holder in War Studies. Pensions were still regular; gratuities were still paid as and when due; there were not so many arrears of promotions and other subsidiary allowances like leave bonuses. However, the voters, just as was the case in the other parts of the South-West, based on the result of the presidential poll, expressed their desire to hook up with the government at the centre. The people voted for Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party but the margin was not much. The result was, as can be said, 50/50. Needless to say, Jonathan won the presidential election despite losing about 98 per cent of the votes cast in Osun and in some other parts of the North.
Now, with Aregbesola having been fairly tested, the Osun electorate have made a statement. And the statement is clear. The candidate of the PDP, Iyiola Omisore, as the figures indicate, did not win. But, did the PDP completely lose? The total votes garnered by Omisore were more than what gave Ayo Fayose victory in the Ekiti election which was held in June. Omisore’s votes were nearly twice what brought Aregbesola to power as established by an Appeal Court judgment in November 2010.
Considering the fact that those who had a reason to vote against such a “performing governor” as Aregbesola in the election would still have enough reasons to snub him in 2015, does this not spell doom for the opposition in the forthcoming general elections? Simply put, if the PDP retains its popularity in most or all the places it won in 2011 (like the South-East, South-South and North-Central) and gains 49.5 per cent sympathy as is the present case in Osun, what do we think would be the overall result? The APC must wake up to this reality.
Although Omisore may not have won the election, the PDP did not lose. Osun was almost entirely for the opposition until the masses tested what they could offer. Obinna Iroegbu, Assistant Lecturer in the Department of English & Literary Studies, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
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