Residents of Osun State, South-west Nigeria, will today go to the polls to elect their next governor.
The Osun governorship election is one of the eight off-cycle elections in the country and the second to be conducted this year by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A total of 15 candidates will participate in today’s process. They are the incumbent, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who is seeking a second term in office; Ademola Adeleke, a former senator, who is the flag bearer of the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, who is the candidate of the Labour Party (LP).
The others are Akinade Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party (AP); Akinrinola Omigbodun of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Segun Awojide, (AAC); Atanda Kehinde (ADP); Awoyemi Adedapo (BP); Rasaq Saliu (NNPP); Abede Samuel (NRM); Ayowole Adedeji (PRP); Ademola Adeseye (YPP); Awoyemi Lukuman (APM); Adebayo Elisha (APP); and Adesuyi Olufemi (ZLP).
Although all the candidates campaigned and canvassed votes, the election is expected to be a two-horse race between the APC and the PDP.
It is an opportunity for the people of the state to either replace Mr Oyetola or approve his continuation in office for another four years.
With 1,463,470 eligible voters armed with their PVCs out of a total of 1,955, 657 registered voters, the election is sure to be a make or mar exercise.
The election will be contested in all the 30 local government areas, comprising 332 wards and 3,763 polling units.
The electoral commission, INEC, has assured of its readiness to conduct a successful poll. The police and other security agencies have heavily deployed their personnel to protect the ballots and ensure a peaceful process. Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have similarly deployed observers across the 30 year old state. Media organisations are set to give it adequate coverage.
It is left for the people themselves to come out and cast their votes peacefully for the candidate of their choice. As Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, said, “For us in INEC, let me reassure political parties, candidates, and the electorate that the choice of who becomes the next governor of Osun State is entirely in the hands of voters.
“As I have repeatedly said in previous engagements with stakeholders, INEC will not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on the processes and procedures as provided by law.”