BY GOKE AWOYEMI
WHEN the people of the State of Osun, South-West Nigeria, trooped out enthusiastically to elect who governs them for the next four years on 16th July, 2022, they had two candidates in mind. These are Governor Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola and Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke. The other contestants, has shown by the result of the election released by INEC, were mere appendages. Immediately Senator Ademola Adeleke was announced as the winner, President Muhammadu Buhari from the ruling All Progressives Congress congratulated him. The mere fact that no single life was lost during the exercise has further strengthened the credibility of the poll that Adeleke’s victory was not blood-stained.
Except for Ismail Omipidan’s (the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor) article published in the Nigerian Tribune, one would have reserved his comment on the Osun matter since it has been subjected to judicial process for determination. Omipidan’s article is seen as an attempt to use the paraphernalia of office to whip up sentiment, so that the reading public could sympathise with his principal and influence the decision of the tribunal.
However, the civil society organisation, YIAGA Africa which Omipidan wanted to use to whip up sentiment has described “as lies efforts to twist its report on the outcome of the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states”. The organization, in a report published by Saturday Punch on September 17, 2022 stated this while reacting to publication credited to Omipidan who claimed that the recently launched YIAGA Africa’s election result analysis dashboard report for the two elections in Osun and Ekiti confirmed that the governors who contested on the platform of APC won the elections. YIAGA Africa, in the statement issued by its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, said “Omipidan was only twisting the fact”
Omipidan should think of going back to The Sun newspaper, a reputable platform where he was an Assistant Editor before his engagement. He should take a cue from elderly people like us, who has not been on any newspaper payroll since 2015, when INSIDER Magazine where I was the South-West Bureau Chief went bankrupt. It was in the course of this adventure that I encountered Femi Babafemi, former Saturday Sun Editor who now works as the Public Affairs Director, Nigeria Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who gave me a brief on specific target among the Yorubas who has national and state voices for interview that could adorn the front page of the newspaper. Omipidan should not be afraid of going back to his desk instead of engaging the public in trivialities.
The journalistic instinct in me invoked my monitoring the poll in three polling units namely, Gidiogbo, Ogbo-Oya (the ancestral home of Senator Iyiola Omisore, the National Secretary, APC) and Lujumo all situated at both Ife East and Central Local government areas. In all the three polling units, the polls were peaceful, free and devoid of any form of intimidation, except at Gidiogbo where a young man came shouting forcefully at the people on the queue must vote for a particular party in the presence of security agents. But because he was alone devoid of gangsters, he quickly left and his impact was not felt by the people waiting to cast their votes.
Senator Ademola Adeleke won with heavy reliance on his late brother’s solid political structure, late Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke who was the third Republic governor, and the first democratically elected governor in Osun and a serving Senator until he died on April 23, 2017. One would have expected Governor Oyetola to congratulate him for defeating him twice, first before the run-off in 2018 and second on July 16, 2022. In the America presidential system which we copy from, when they try the Republicans for one or two terms, they switch over to the Democrats.
- Goke Awoyemi, media consultant, sent this piece from Ile-Ife, Osun State