By Richard Elesho/ Oshogbo
Residents of Osun State, southwest Nigeria are in election mode. The State Governorship Election comes up this Saturday, 16th July and all parts are in a frenzy over the imminent poll.
Billboards of different sizes and branded vehicles are among campaign articles that confirm the poll is at hand. Similarly, a large presence of policemen, military officers and other security personnel are on the ground across the state to ensure credible and rancour-free exercise.
Markets and shops in Oshogbo, the state capital witnessed heavy patronage on Wednesday and Thursday. Many people rushed in to buy items that can last them for days, fearing that vehicular movements and commercial activities may be hindered on election day.
The state capital has also been receiving more election-related visitors since the beginning of the week. Participants in the mega rallies meant to close the campaigns of the various political parties account for most of the visitors.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, whose candidate Governor Gboyega Oyetola is seeking reelection, opened the floodgate of visitors on Tuesday. Its Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu led 20 APC Governors, stalwarts and chieftains to the campaign.
Asiwaju Tinubu described other parties as insignificant and mushrooms. He said they will labour in vain in the election, urging the electorates to vote for Oyetola to sustain his good works.
“I ask you to please do the same thing you did in Ekiti. Come out with your PVCs and vote massively for APC. The voting is now in your hand. Be very vigilant. Be watchful. You will not do it in vain.
“Think about your children and vote accordingly so you can see the future. Come out en masse. Don’t mind PDP and other mushroom parties — parties like Labour; they will labour till they die. God will not make you labourers.” Tinubu said
It was the turn of the Labour Party on Wednesday. Presidential candidate of the party and former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi, encouraged people to vote for Yusuf Lasun, LP flag bearer and former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.
“We want to change Nigeria and the only way we can change this nation is to remove all these people who have put Nigeria where it is for the past 23 years. This is the time for them to go.”
“Vote for the Labour party so that your children can have jobs. Vote for people that will work for you. Vote for the future of your children. Vote for the candidate that will be committed to a better Osun state,” Obi said.
On the same day, the National Peace Committee coordinated the signing of a peace accord by various political parties, participating in the election. About twelve parties and their candidates signed the accord.
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rev. Dr Mathew Kukah, leader of the committee charged all parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to ensure free, fair and credible polls.
Leaders of the main opposition, the People’s Democratic Party, and PDP are converging on Oshogbo on Thursday for their grand rally. Senator Ademola Adeleke is flying the party flag.
The city is agog with expectations on the rally. Musical sensation David, a nephew of the candidate is said to be leading other artists in support of the party. Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, PDP Governors and other leaders are also being expected at the rally.
Fifteen political parties are fielding candidates in the election. But analysts believe only five of them are in contention. They are Oyetola, Adeleke and Lasun. The others are Goke Omigbodun of the Social Democratic Party, SDP and Akin Ogunbiyi of Accord Party, AP.