By Kayode Crown
Osun State went to the poll on Saturday and barring any change, in a few polling units, rerun elections will take place on Thursday to finally decide who will be the governor of the state for the next four years.
It was a tight contest between the ruling APC and the PDP. And as it stands, PDP’s Adeleke has the highest number of votes leading APC’s Oyetola by a mere 353 votes. This may go down as one of most closely contested election in the history of the country. The people freely expressed their franchise and cast their political lot where they wanted.
Punch reports: “Although the candidate of the PDP, Senator Ademola Adeleke scored 254,698 votes to beat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress who polled 254,345 votes, INEC said Adeleke could not be declared the winner because the number of votes cancelled – 3,498, was higher than 353 by which the PDP candidate defeated Oyetola.”
The PDP, emotions running and protesters deployed to INEC’s office to make their grievances known, is crying blue murder that its candidate should have been declared the outright winner.
It is a rare occurrence to have a governorship election declared inconclusive. But it is better an election is inconclusive than to be obviously concluded in the favour of the person who is supposed to be the loser, in a throwback to the Maurice Iwu immoral INEC era (2005-2010) of election daylight robbery, which generated in the people, general voter apathy and a complete distrust in the electioneering process. It was the pre Attahiru Jega era (2010-2015), where some semblance of sanity started coming into the system.
With Maurice Iwu as INEC Chairman, after the commission had declared a stolen mandate, the court gets to do the needful in overturning some of them.
That is why I said that it is better the election is inconclusive than to be stolen. No one said that it is easy to unseat an incumbent political party, especially one with representation at the federal level, with the proverbial federal might. But the PDP somewhat surprised themselves with its showing at the polls on Saturday, pulling all the stops to pick more announced votes than the APC.
It wants to do everything in their power to win in the rerun election coming up tomorrow, and are reportedly in talks with some of the other candidates to throw their weight with them to ensure victory for its candidate.
They can hardly stand the wait as the political fortunes of the party has been dwindling for some time now, but was recently given some sort of boost by defectors from APC to it, including some state governors and several members of the National Assembly.
But all that will be for nothing if not translated to victory at the polls and a win in Osun state would definitely be a strong wind on the tail of the ship of that party as it hopes for better days, having, as it were, fallen from grace to grass.
This was a party that boasted of ruling the country for sixty years, which was cut short by the will of the people after sixteen years, as a lesson for the boastful that no throne lasts forever and in a democracy like ours, being brash is completely unnecessary and can even backfire and you may have to eat your words when the political tide changes.
It does not matter who you are, the people would find a way to make you bite the dust, if you start to think being in the position of power has become your right rather than a privilege and a platform for service.
Among the factors which probably went against the ruling APC may be latent angst that the people have against the government from months of unpaid salaries or fractionally paid salaries, which has left them demoralised and unhappy, barely holding on by the skin of their teeth.
And before the election, there was the certificate saga involving the candidate of the PDP, but the people thought that does not matter, because really, is it “certificate” we need or a heart of service? If someone comes on board and can speak well, but is only concerned about packing his account full, of what benefit is the “turinchi” (Hausa for English) to anyone?
No one can say that the eight years of Rauf Aregbesola added nothing to the people of the state. Famous among them is the “opon imo”, which is a tablet pre-loaded with textbooks for students in the state to enhance their learning.
It has transformed education their and radically improved the pass rate of secondary school leavers. “Opon Imo” contains e-textbooks, past questions (WAEC and JAMB) and virtual classroom for ALL approved subjects from SS1 to SS3.
It has been endorsed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, WAEC and it won the e-learning and science category in World Summit Award, World Congress in Sri Lanka in 2013.
But all is not lost for the party if it can crawl on its knees and beg the electorate to give it another chance. That does not guarantee anything since the people’s minds may have already been made up. But it’s still worth a try.
With their PVCs in their hands, they will match to the poll to exercise their franchise. Their fate is in their own hands and particularly, the fate of the state is in the hands of a few polling units.
This is a most serious obligatory responsibility as the people would be electing their number one citizen for the next four years. They need someone who cannot only talk the talk but also walk the walk, someone who will live and breathe service to the people. They have a long to-do list for the coming governor to attend to, some of which were not handled well by the outgoing administration or at all. So whoever is declared winner tomorrow should get set for real work.
The average family wants food on their table, cloth on their backs and a roof on their head. Finding ways to help the people to meet these basic needs should be a basic objective of government.
But a governor that cannot separate politics from policy, run the risk of tripping on his own foot, and would be seen as weak in the needed commitment towards making his occupation of the position worth the while of the people.
The people cannot be fed with story, or even hope, they want specific deliverables which would make today better than yesterday and they don’t need someone who tries to divide the people along religio-ethnic lines, thereby fracturing the peace that have been existing between the different people groups. A big task awaits the next governor of Osun State, as all eyes are on the state tomorrow.