© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
2014 voting pattern that may shape Osun governorship election
THE Saturday 22 September gubernatorial election in Osun State is going to be a different one, if not unprecedented.
In 2014, only 20 parties presented candidates for election, and the number was even fewer in the previous polls – 2007, 2003 and 1999. But the 2018 election will feature candidates from 48 political parties, the highest in the voting history of the state.
Also, over 1.6 million people across the 30 local government areas have been registered to vote in 2018, according to the data published by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in August. Compared to 1.4 million registered voters in 2014, more than 200,000 new voters have joined the electorate, and the 14 per cent addition may skew the election outcome on Saturday. It remains uncertain though how many of the registered voters would turn up on the election day as voter’s apathy appears to have risen.
Many government workers who were excited at the inauguration of the present administration in November 2010 are no longer enthusiastic due to the delayed salaries that lasted for more than two years and left many broke and frustrated.
In the last governorship election, more than 45 per cent of the registered voters did not come out to vote. The situation may not improve remarkably on Saturday, considering the number of people who have relocated in the last four years to other parts of the state or outside without being able to transfer their PVC.
According to the INEC, 21,685 voters requested for PVC transfer from one polling unit to another within the state. And while 7,688 transfers were made from other states to Osun, 3,015 transfers were made out of Osun State. These changes, however, will affect the outcome of tomorrow’s election.
The Saturday election also will be unique in the sense that the local government areas where the current ruling party, APC, got a critical mass vote in 2014 are going to be closely contested. For example, Osogbo local government area where the APC scored, 39,983 votes, the highest in 2014, will be more keenly contested by the candidates of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Moshood Adeoti and Adeolu Durotoye who hail from Iwo and Osogbo LGAs respectively. The second largest votes (26,551) for APC in 2014 came from Olorunda, another local government area comprising a part of Osogbo town and its environs. APC, unlike 2014, will struggle to snatch victory in this area as well.
Add Iwo LGA, another stronghold of APC in 2014, where the party recorded the third largest votes of 20,827. There are strong indications that election results in Iwo may not remain the same on Saturday with the defection of Adeoti, a grassroots politician and a former APC stalwart. Adeoti hailed from Iwo, and he was instrumental to the electoral victory of APC in 2014 in his constituency, the reason he was retained as the Secretary to the State government after completing four years in the same office. Observers believe Iwo would give victory to ADP.
Another force that may upset the apples cart in the 2018 Osun election is the candidacy of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP). Adeleke hails from Ede, the town next to Osogbo, the state capital.
There are two local government areas in the old town (Ede North and Ede South), and each of them handed a significant victory to APC in 2014 when Governor Rauf Aregbesola slugged it out with the then PDP candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore who is now the flagbearer of Social Democratic Party SDP. Seven per cent of the total votes scored by APC in 2014 came from Ede North and Ede South. It is unlikely APC will get that much in Ede in the next election, now that Adeleke is the PDP candidate.
Meanwhile, Ife (Central, East, South and North) that pulled the largest vote block of 68,038 for PDP against APC in 2014 may no longer vote for PDP candidate because of Omisore’s defection to SDP. It is conceivable that most of the votes from Ife will go to SDP instead of PDP or APC. Omisore is from Ife Central.
Olaoluwa, the hometown of Akinbade is one of the local government areas with the least valid votes in 2014 after Ifedayo, Boluwaduro and Atakumosa LGAs. And more than 50 per cent of the 15,735 votes were given to the ruling APC. That may not happen tomorrow because of Fatai Akinbade’s name on the ballot paper. But even if Akinbade, the governorship candidate of African Democratic Party, ADC obtains the majority of that vote on Saturday, it is unlikely the figure will put him ahead except he is able to get significant votes from other local government areas. And this is where his teaming with the retired justice Folahanmi Oloyede from Ilesha East may allow for greater traction in the 2018 election. The incumbent governor is also from Ilesha East, so the choice of Oloyede is to neutralise APC’s influence in Ilesha. Yet it would be tough for ADC to get significant votes from the victory deciders LGAs like Osogbo, Olorunda, Iwo and Ife.
In the final analysis, Gboyega Oyetola of APC is positioned to emerge victorious in the Saturday election, not necessarily because he is more popular than other leading contenders, but because his party has more resources to spend both for campaign and mobilisation. And more telling is the fact the opposition parties are unable to forge a coalition that can help deplete the votes of the ruling party in a more considerable way.