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Osun guber: Now on the thumb of INEC, security agencies

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Like a student that believes he has read all that he needs to read to write and pass his examination, the 48 political parties that field candidates for the gubernatorial election taking place in Osun State tomorrow, see themselves as entitled to victory by virtue of their level of preparations.

For months now, there had been too many activities by the individuals who are standing election; their parties, stakeholders, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). There had been meeting upon meeting, some of which were held even outside the state. Sleepless nights had gone into it; there were all manner of consultations within and outside the state.

Journeys were made by some of the aspirants outside the shores of the country to consult with Osun indigenes in the Diaspora. Indeed, people have invested their time, energy and resources in this election, each expecting bountiful and rewarding harvest.

INEC engaged the parties and candidates on many issues; the security agencies met several times to emphasise the need for the cooperation of one and all. The candidates  were told to put their supporters in check, reminding them that the gubernatorial election is not a do-or-die affair. There is the need for them to be gentlemanly in the competition. A lot of money was deployed by the parties, the contestants and even INEC.

Verbal salvos were hurled at various points, preparatory to the contest of tomorrow. The primaries of some of the parties were stormy and came close to disintegrating some of the parties. The outcome of the selection process did not go down well with some party men and women, leading to bad blood. Some of these disagreements led to litigations. Although the election is tomorrow, some of the issues raised in the course of preparing for the contest are yet to be resolved.

The vibrations experienced in the last few months at the peak of preparation elicited questions as to whether Saturday, September 22 would ever be a reality.

But the day appears to have come.

There had been genuine concerns raised over likely electoral fraud and violence arising from the ‘I must win” mindset of some contenders and parties. Some of the incidents during the recent Ekiti State gubernatorial election raised the apprehension level of many people. But it is believed that going by all the noise made about the electoral fraud in Ekiti, observers say that Osun may not witness a repeat.

But it is said that elections are won and lost, not at the polling booths, but while the votes are being collated. And this is where INEC is being taken to task.

By the time everyone must have done his/her beat, the buck stops at INEC’s table to declare who wins or who loses.

The security agencies also have a lot to do to ensure that the exercise goes peacefully. The huge number of policemen and other paramilitary personnel deployed by Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police (IGP), is already causing adrenaline rise in some people. If there is a reason to suggest that intimidation of voters in favour of a party is being carried out, it may discredit the exercise. People are already talking about the needlessness of flooding Osun with 40,000 policemen and other paramilitary personnel. It appears that everyone has done all that needs to be done.

Into your hands, therefore, INEC and security agencies, we commend Osun!

Zebulon Agomuo

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