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July 16: Day Osun voters stunned APC

July 16, 2022 has come and gone, but the events that unfolded on that date will continue to linger in the memories of the people of Osun State, the ‘Land of Virtue’. It was a day that residents of the state trooped out en masse to decide who would lead them for another four years.

The atmosphere was peaceful; the security operatives conducted themselves in an orderly manner to the extent that pockets of violence were not enough to deter the electorate in fulfilling their civic duty.

Not too old to vote Determined to choose a new leader, 95-year-old Adekunle Benjamin, and Mrs Shabina Oladipo, 90, were at their polling units in Oogi town, Ayedaade Local Government Areas, as early as 7:00 a.m. to cast their votes. Speaking at Unit 7, ward 8, Oogi, Benjamin, who claimed that he had been voting since 1952, said he came out early to vote because of his faith in a better Nigeria and improved economy.

“I am 95 years of age and I have been voting since 1952. I still have faith in this country. I am here to exercise my Civic responsibility and to vote for my candidate for better dividend of democracy,” he said.

Also speaking, Oladipo said she came out early to vote because of her desire for peace and development of the state. Miss Asogwa Ngozika, the Presiding Officer of the polling units said they arrived at the polling unit at 6:30 am. Ngozika said the electorate were also orderly.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke won in 17 of the 30 local government areas. He also won some local governments in the strongholds of the APC, such as Ilesa West and Ife North. There is no better way to demonstrate that power truly belongs to the people than the outcome of the ballot. It is even sweeter when the powerful are thrown down from a lofty perch by the will of the people.

This is the case with the just concluded governorship election where the incumbent governor, Gboyega Oyetola, has been defeated and his tenure will end at the expiration of four years. The INEC Chief Returning Officer for Osun, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who announced the result Sunday morning, said Adeleke, scored 403,371 votes to emerge victorious over the incumbent governor, Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 375,027 votes. Although 15 political parties took part in the election, the race was actually between the PDP and the APC, a rivalry that was formed in the 2018 governorship election. Although the election was then

 

a narrow victory for the APC, the battle became stronger with the increase in the number of eligible voters and realignments within the parties. Resounding victory Not even members of the PDP were expecting a resounding victory as witnessed in the concluded election.

 

In 2018 Adeleke won the first round of the election but was later defeated in the rerun with only 482 votes. However, in Saturday’s poll, the margin of victory was 28,344 votes. The PDP candidate won in 17 of the 30 local government areas. He also won some local governments in the strongholds of the APC, such as Ilesa West and Ife North.

 

He also won a decisive victory in Osogbo, the largest voting bloc in the state. Mr Adeleke’s popularity was defined by victories in strategic local governments and a brilliant challenge in areas expected to be the stronghold of the APC. He also maintained a clean sheet in his own Osun West domain. Ahead of the poll, there was a series of endorsements for Governor Gboyega Oyetola, and despite the endorsement coupled with working effortlessly, the Oyetola was unable to clinch a second term slot in the state.

The defeat of Oyetola’s APC may not be unconnected with the internal crisis within the party, poor economy and clamour for a change in government by residents. Divided party The party approached the election divided. They failed to settle the crisis within the party by calling all the aggrieved members together.

The governor and his advisers may have thought that they could win the election without the aggrieved members of the party. The disagreement between Oyetola and his immediate predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, till today, details of what caused the rift could not be ascertained as different versions and interpretation have been given.

 

Some political appointees of the governor were also said to have deceived the governor, as they did not live up to expectations at their various constituencies. Many of them were said to have not been good and making themselves available to the people. By this, they gave their constituents ugly and bad orientation about the good governance of Oyetola.

Osogbo, the state capital which is the stronghold of APC, lost gallantly to the PDP because of the inability of APC leaders in the town to reach out to the real voters. Another thing that may have gone wrong for Oyetola was the issue of the civil servants. It was gathered that civil servants voted massively in this July 16 governorship election – but not for Oyetola.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the state workforce were not happy with the way the incumbent governor was treating them and the fear that he may even stop paying their salaries if he was re-elected. Part of their grievances was that there has been no increment in their salaries.

According to them, every year it is statutory that their salaries be reviewed but has not been done since the APC came on board in the state. They also claimed the promotion given to workers, there was no commensurate salary to the promotion. They cited an example that a worker promoted to level 09 is still being given level 08 salaries. The issue of pensioners cannot also be waved aside.

The senior citizens, especially those that are on contributory pension schemes, are yet to collect their bond and these set of people are not entitled to a monthly pension.

Also, those that retired between 2011 and 2012 were said to have not been paid their gratuities. Wanting change Also, the citizens and residents of the state have also been clamouring for change. They have been groaning under the ruling APC at the national level.

They held the governor re-  sponsible for the challenges facing the country like high cost of living, insecurity, ASUU strike, lack of infrastructural development, among others.

According to a resident of the state, Mr. David Adetiba, a driver, he said because of the hardship people are experiencing in the land, they just want change of the present government.

“There is a high cost of living, as a family man, I can’t afford to feed my family three square meals daily. Things are so expensive. One of my children in a higher institution is at home because of the ASUU strike; things are not alright in the country. We don’t want APC again.” Failure to keep promises Another resident, Mr. Smart Owen also said the APC government promised change but instead they have brought hardship, insecurity to the land.

“We have realised that APC is worse than PDP. They promised to build more refineries, nothing was done even the one we have before they came to power is not working again.” He continued: “In my own perspective, I believe that the manifesto of Adeleke is better, so I voted for him, but if he does not perform to my expectations in his first administration, I will not vote for him the second time.”

A student, Gbemi Adeniyi, who also spoke with our correspondent, said: “I feel what caused Oyetola not winning the election can be categorised into two: One, he is an APC governor and the masses are tired of the APC government. Secondly, he didn’t fulfil the promises he made to the citizens of the state during his campaign to be elected as the governor.

“He promised to pay the arrears of the civil servants and retirees that were owed them by the previous administration of which he didn’t fulfil. There are promotions that are    supposed to have been implemented some years ago. “So what I feel made him not to win the election is the fact that the citizens, not only the state workers, are tired of false promises meant to trick them into believing the wrong person and giving their trust to someone who doesn’t deserve it”.

 

Another factor that contributed to the failure of the governor was the failure of his government to allow the PDP hold its final mega rally which further drew sympathy for Adeleke’s PDP.

 

PDP at a press conference addressed by the caretaker committee chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle expressed displeasure over the alleged refusal of the governor to allow the party to have access to the Osogbo Township Stadium and Freedom Park, Osogbo for its final rally.

 

The party said it considers the action of the state government “as an affront of a dying horse and a deliberate attempt to provoke violent reactions from the good people of Osun State.”

 

Preventing use of venues Immediately after the news of the alleged refusal of the governor to allow the PDP use the venues, residents started picking interest in the reason behind the action of the government.

 

Thousands of people, as a result of this, changed their mind and vowed to cast their votes for Ademola whom they believe is being victimised by the power that be.

 

Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Hon Lasun Yussuf had during the Party’s mega rally in Osogbo said that the outcome of the election would shock many. Lasun, who did not mention those he was referring to, said: “Many will be shocked with the outcome of the gube

 

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