Osun2022: Before The Election Is Stolen

By July this year, Osun electorates will go to the poll to choose who will administer the state for the four years. But the closer the election, the more pronounced a dangerous attempt to subvert the will of Osun people and reenact the ugly experience of the previous election. If the attempt succeeds, the ballots cast by Osun people will not decide the Governor for four years.

Unlike the experience of the 2018, ‘remote control’ will not necessarily be the driven force, rather it will be the recruitment of voters from neighbouring states. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means and robbed people their rights to choose who leads them.

Stand-alone election are always open to all sorts of manipulations from the ruling party but the new approach of the incumbent, Gboyega Oyetola and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) are a bit excessive. Infact, this will not only pass for desperation for power but a calculated attempt to undermine our democracy.

Democracy is more appealing to other forms of government because the decision on who leads or governs rest with the people. But this enticing feature could be in jeopardy if Oyetola and his team should have their way, and the likely outcome is something terrible to begin with.

For sometime now, those believed to have the tacit understanding of Oyetola and his team have been moving around to scout for voters to influence the upcoming governorship election. From Ore to Benin, Asaba to Lagos, Lokoja to Abeokuta, the campaign to harvest voters and bring them down to Osun was well pronounced.

What this simply tell us is that Oyetola know he’s undeserving of another term and his response to the lack of acceptance among Osun electorates, is to import voters. Bringing people who are outside the state, and do not bear the effect of the gross failings of Oyetola, is a systematic effort to steal the election and jeopardize our electoral process.

Stealing an election often start with the registration of voters. When people who should not be on the voters register quietly find their ways in, it creates an easy path to rig an election even before it take place. This is even more the case when the newly registered voters are not new in the real sense.

Close your eyes for a moment. What comes to your mind when you think of ‘imported voters’ deciding who runs Osun for four years? I can bet it won’t be anything pleasing. In truth, nothing is wrong with Osun indigenes in places outside the state having a chance to participate in deciding who runs the state, but seeing that they are being enticed monetarily to do, shows that the intent was not noble.

An Osun indigene but resident in Ore, Ondo state, who was one of those approached, was disturbed by how much this unholy mechanisation could distort the will of Osun people and by implication, foist a choice different from what they want on them. In a voice note to share her concerns, she detailed how the APC are trying so hard to make a terrible mess of the essential workings of democracy and cheat again to retain power.

In 2018, Osun people decisively rejected APC but through the aid of ‘remote control’, a different choice from what they made through the ballot was foisted on them. What we know already, and could not have known then, is that Oyetola and his party were never interested in ensuring that will of the people prevail. In retrospect, the violent rigging of the 2018 election was a rehearsal of a bigger foul play.

This is really unacceptable and the time has come for those who value this democracy and seek to protect it to step up. There should be a definite resolve to ensure that people do not only go to the poll to cast ballots but results reflects their will. Osun people are well aware of this plot to thwart their wills and are ready to resist the importation of voters for the governorship election.

This is why it is imperative to call on the INEC to carryout a thorough audit of the ongoing voters registration to ensure that only those who deserve to vote in Osun are on the voter’s register. Of course, this is not an easy thing to do but it is the right thing and so, should be done in the interest of preserving our democracy. Although, feelers in the electoral umpire is that of trepidation as they are wary of another collusion in denying electorates the rights to choose their leader.

Ibrahim Sarafa writes from Iwo, Osun state.

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