After months of internal party primaries and intense campaign across the 30 local governments in the state by political parties, the stage is set as the Osun State governorship election holds today.
A total of 48 candidates from 48 political parties are vying for of 1,246,915 votes in a bid to get the mandate of the Osun people to become the state’s next governor in November.
Despite the multitude of candidates, five of them are expected to be the key battle contenders for what seems to be a very tight election to replace the incumbent Governor, Rauf Aregbesola.
Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC; Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party, SDP; Fatai Akinbade of the African Democratic Congress, ADC; and Moshood Adeoti of the Action Democratic Party, ADP, are candidates whom the spotlight would beam on.
All the aforementioned candidates can be described as heavyweight politicians in their own right as Oyetola is the incumbent Chief of Staff to the state government, Adeleke is a serving Senator representing Osun West senatorial district, Omisore was a former deputy governor and senator, Akinbade was a former secretary to the state government, while Adeoti was the immediate past state government secretary.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has guaranteed all the candidates, political parties and voters in the state of a free, credible and fair election.
Read Also: Osun Election: 435,015 PVCs Uncollected – INEC
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Olusegun Agbaje, the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, said the electoral body had perfected strategies to ensure the successful conduct of the election.
Agbaje said 1,246,915 Permanent Voters Card, PVCs, have been collected by registered voters in the state as at Wednesday when the collection of the cards for the election ended.
He, however, reported that 435,015 registered voters would not be allowed to vote due to their inability to collect their PVCs.
He asked the people of the state to be law-abiding in order for the election to pass peacefully.
The election would also be a litmus test for INEC as they would experiment their new directive which would bar voters from holding their phones once they handed their ballot papers and move to the voting cubicle.
Read Also: Osun Election: No Ban On Mobile Phones At Poling Units – INEC
The electoral management body said it issued this directive in a bid to stem the controversial issue of vote-buying by political candidates and forceful inducement of voters.
The Osun governorship election will also be keenly assessed by political parties as well as local and foreign election observers to determine if INEC is prepared to conduct the much bigger 2019 general elections.
As expected, there is a massive security presence in Osun State as Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, deployed a Deputy Inspector General, an Assistant Inspector General, eight Commissioners and 18,426 police officers to maintain law and order.
Also, other security personnel from the military and para-military have also been deployed to the state to help monitor the situation.
Voting will start by 8am and is expected to end by 3pm.