Seven Takeaways from Osun Gubernatorial Election
Last Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State, which saw candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, emerged winner, has left on the political space, some instructive takeaways no one can gloss over at this material time.
Although the takeaways cut across interests and political parties, the inherent lessons addressed some of the mistakes, identified the strengths that played in, exposed the weaknesses that unsettled certain equations and hinted at the prospects therein for the actors to cultivate and leverage ahead of next year’s election.
The Power of BVAS
Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State, was one of the finest undertakings by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), if and when the success is measured.
This, however, was made possible, largely because of the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), an electronic device designed to read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and also authenticate voters.
The Osun election, to a very reasonable extent, was credible, free and fair, thus producing the sort of result difficult for any honest competitor in the election to challenge, not even the defeated governor, Gboyega Oyetola.
This is why both the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which despite frustrations from certain quarters, stuck to its guns, and President Muhammadu Buhari, who wasted no time in approving it, because it would enhance his resolve to leave behind a legacy of decent electoral culture, are commendable.
Where’re Obi and Kwankwaso?
The Osun election, as critical as it was, being the last off-season exercise before next year’s general election, has exposed the façade of the OBIdient Movement, whose face is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the much-talked about influence of the strongman of Kano State’s politics, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
While Obi’s Labour Party failed to fly despite fielding a prominent person as its candidate, Hon. Lasun Yusuf, who was at a time a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Kwankwaso’s New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) was completely not in the equation.
Unfortunately, for these two gladiators, over 3,000 youths in Osun registered for the election, the highest in recent time, yet, those who voted were split mainly between the two big parties – the APC and the PDP. It would appear that the two, especially, Obi is social media tiger with zero ground game. Indeed, they may actually pose no threat in the 2023 elections.
Davido, the Game Changer
Hip-hop mega star, David Adeleke, with the stage-name, Davido, deployed his overwhelming influence and used same to neutralise the opposition for his uncle and winner of the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Davido, many may recall, played similar role in the campaign of his uncle in 2018, when Adeleke gave his first shot at the governorship of the state and lost.
But in the days leading to the Saturday, July 16 election, Davido gave his all, including giving a free show to potential voters, mobilising the youths and coordinating the undecided online, a development many believed greatly impacted the outcome of the election.
Without a doubt, Davido made a huge difference in the victory of his uncle.
Tinubu and Oyetola: Wõn Lu’le
Perhaps, the duo of presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu and outgoing Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, might have fallen at a rather inauspicious time. An election that should have signposted a promising 2023 general election for them became foreboding.
Ordinarily, as the presidential candidate of the ruling party, Tinubu was expected to provide the much-needed coattail for the victory of Oyetola in Osun and by extension, give an indication of the things to come as the nation journeys towards 2023.
But all that failed to give. Instead, they both lu’le in a big way. Question is, was it a sign of potential crisis for the candidate and his party or fatigue has begun to set in for Tinubu? Either way, the outcome of the election was ominous for Tinubu and the APC, lest, they pay attention.
PDP on Rebound?
Perhaps, the election was a clear sign that the opposition PDP was on a rebound, although not yet uhuru. The PDP must have to put its house in order as quickly as possible – assuage frayed nerves and bring everyone together for the challenge ahead.
Suffice it to say that the Adelekes played a major role in the life of the PDP in the state and by implication, the eventual success of their son, Ademola, at the poll. There is, however, no better time for the PDP to do a review and fully get its groove back than now.
The Osun election has shown that 2023 could be anyone’s game and the incumbency factor would be accorded no place whatsoever. While the election is open to the most hardworking of the parties to take, it goes without saying that the PDP is coming on stronger and better and might as well take its chances.
Religion on Sabbatical
Coming at a time a controversy about the place of religion in the body polity was unceasing, it was shocking to see that religion played no role in the outcome of Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State.
Although a debate over which faith Ademola Adeleke subscribes to has not been properly exhausted, the general submission is that either as Nurudeen or Jackson, he swings both ways, which makes it easier for him to maintain some sort of balance between the two religions.
That is not to say, however, that Osun could be said to represent Nigeria with all its contradictions and fault lines. It is, nevertheless, exciting to note that religion took the back seat when the fate of Osun was decided at the poll last Saturday.
APC Brand Troubled?
There’s no how the Osun election is analysed and the submission would be kind to the ruling party as it were. The APC, up until Saturday, was the ruling party in both Osun and the federal government and yet, lost the election woefully than it won it in 2018.
Is that some verdict on the government of Oyetola in Osun State and by extension, the government of Muhammadu Buhari? Does it say something about the leadership of the party under the command of Senator Abdulahi Adamu?
Whatever it is and whichever scenario is applicable, there’s an urgent need for the APC to do some introspection and fix things as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there would be no grounds to re-try its popularity before the general election next year; it can still put in some efforts and hope they turn out well.