Osun Gubernatorial Election 2022. An Overview By Adeola Soetan

Osun is a state whose election and its violence-prone hotspots can be easily predictable with marginal reading error. I have done pre-election voter education and scoping on occasions there before in addition to election observation for organisations and had alerted the police in some instances so I have a fair knowledge of its electoral characteristic and hotspots. Hotspots are also rigging spots.
1. Unlike its neighbouring Oyo State which has potential for spontaneous volatility in unpredictable places because of its wideness and its unenviable tradition of violence ripples, Osun hotspots can be mapped out easier by INEC and police if they properly want to do their work.
INEC is always striving better to conduct fair elections but the logistic problem is always a major issue aside from conscience buying (unlike vote buying) of its few unscrupulous Adhoc and permanent staff. And the conscience buying is mostly done by the two large parties, APC and PDP rogue stalwarts and their equally unscrupulous field officers aided by unscrupulous security personnel, especially the police.
With the appreciable improvement in the electoral law and electronic-driven process, a higher level of performance is expected from INEC if they walk their talk and hold firm to obey its own rules of engagement without fear or favour. If INEC says its card reader only, so be it no changing of rules to manual on the field of play like it happened in Oyo and some other states. Let your no be no and yes be yes in all circumstances. Changing rules breaches public confidence. 
2 Police…
Depending on the credibility and integrity of its high command and the state command which manifests largely on its rank and file, police are not always predictable on the election field. Their performance on the field can be almost projected by their conduct and real-time responses to violence and tension before an election.

All feedback and alarms should be looked into before, during and after the election. I have heard cause to write them officially and communicated through our organization, Democracy Vanguard, DV, and other election monitoring organisations I consulted for codedly where unscrupulous officers compromised to favour the two biggest political parties at different times.
They acted swiftly in some reported cases after telephone calls to me and their independent investigation. So their hotlines should be functional with a real-time response from their situation room which I once suggested to be decentralized for quick action.
Police know or should know from their past field experience that “foreign thugs” (now tagged as political enforcers) are always imported as mercenaries from Oyo, Lagos, Ondo and Kwara states mainly by the big parties with a huge war chest to assist the local breeds to consolidate and extend the frontiers of violence and election rigging.
If the no movement of people including top politicians and thugs aside from vital officers is strictly adhered to, and pre-election scoping is properly done, critically analyzed and evaluated, the act of thuggery, and rigging will be drastically curtailed. But this is where police always compromise and become powerless by design or pressure to lawless “powerful” rogue politicians who would move about with thugs despite restrictions of movements. 
3. Hotspots axis of rigging and violence. 
 Osogbo township is always tensed more on pre-election days than on election days. This is major because many voters in the town which is the seat of power are determined voters. They always troop out en masse to vote with little or no disturbance. With their countenance and hush-hush discussions at polling units, an experienced discerning mind can make the probability of which party will win in the township and may win the outcome.
Police and INEC always fair well and better in Osogbo because all eyes of election observers, monitors, and media, are on them. And unscrupulous politicians and potential election riggers are in the rigging parties are mutually watchful. But security personnel allowed some lawless politicians to move around after voting. All my calls to report such lawlessness were not acted upon on days of previous elections. I hope they will have the liver to stop such movement this time around. 
The major axis of rigging and violence traditional hotspots predictable include Ede – Iwo axis, a top contender for the post comes from there so it has to be spotted very well. Ile Ife -Garage Olode – Osu – Ilesa axis. Ikire town is always violence /rigging prone but surprisingly or interestingly neighbouring village towns like Apomu, Ago Owu, and Ode Omu, are always better in conduct. Another axis to watch is Ikirun – Ofa road axis, Iragbiji the home of the sitting governor is not a traditional hotspot in that axis but police should map it for eventualities now that a sitting governor is from there. It naturally  becomes a potential hotspot
4 Hotels—
All major hotels should be under surveillance and crosschecked regularly. By now, some trusted undercover police intelligence officers should have lodged, at least one officer per selected scoped hotel. Hotel t is a major source of free & loose information to read the temperature of the political /election environment.
From my scoping of twenty hotels in the past election period, it’s easy to know who lodged where even if it’s under a fake name for an electoral crime. Just be friendly but cautious and if need be, be selectively amorous with some sensitive staff of hotels. Information flows to you easily without asking.
For instance, in a particular hotel in Osogbo during one of my election duties, two house staff who I tipped and joked with always voluntarily informed me: “Daddy, se e ku ku bo si yara kan loke nitori ati ni awon alejjo n’la ni sale o nigbati e jade lana..”  “Awon wo ni alejo n’la o? I asked. ” E o mo pe asiko election la wa yi, orishirishi alejo la ma n’gba” was their response.
I agreed to move to the upper floor vacant room. You can’t believe it, those alejo n’la smoked Igbo and drank throughout the night making noise singing and dancing disturbing upper floor lodgers unchecked. I intentionally didn’t report to the hotel staff because it’s a good lead for me. I didn’t understand their communication well because they were non-Yoruba. By the second day, I made a covert report to necessary quarters for attention. On the third day, the “Alejo n’la started behaving well pretentiously. On the fourth day, I checked out of the hotel to another one for safety reasons in case of leakage of source, but I maintained my contact with the receptionists and the house cleaners throughout the election period. 
In Ado Ekiti it was in one of the hotels I lodged in the Adebayo area during the election period that I got to know through a beautiful hotel assistant manager some vital info and I got in touch with a journalist to investigate properly and independently.
It was in the same Ado Ekiti in one hotel with a big beautiful garden along Ikere road that I got information that motor park thugs loyal to Fayemi were warming up to take over some motor parks from thugs loyal to Fayose on the eve of the election. It happened and I almost got trapped in the violence that started around the post office area.
Hotels, pepper soup joints and motor parks are sensitive information areas. I don’t think the police have excuses at all not to nip election violence in the bud before it escalates to burning and killings.
We all need to be vigilant and assist security agencies in vital and credible information sharing during the electioneering period. Rogue politicians desperate for power will always rig elections, buy votes and cause violence. It’s not limited to a bourgeois party alone but all of them, their criminal merchant leaders and unscrupulous followers. Power is their religion don’t be deceived with their kurukere kurukere to prayer centres. Be vigilant, and vote wisely for your choice without inducement or intimidation.
Wishing INEC, the good and conscientious people whose votes can’t be bought (only) of Osun, the second-best Amala & Abula centre after Ibadan in Yoruba land a successful election.
Adeola Soetan
Citizenship Civic Awareness Centre
aka Democracy Vanguard 


Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar