With Uche Nnadozie
Osun state election is the last major election before the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. This came about following the way and manner the outgoing Governor Rauf Aregbesola came into limelight. Although he contested his first gubernatorial election in 2007, it was not until nearly four years later that he got on the seat following a court pronouncement which removed former governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, from office. This simply meant that he and Oyinlola his predecessor had virtually completed the two terms of four years each, having defeated the first governor of the state, Bisi Akande in 2003. Because of all the contradictions and dynamics, the electoral calendar of Osun has changed forever, just like it is for a couple of other states.
Being a state whose election comes up less than six months before the general elections, win or lose, parties involved in the election always take home different lessons. For winners, it could signal a momentum that they need to build on leading up to the general elections. On the other hand the losers will find it a reminder to what may happen if they do not double their efforts. The losers also suffer devastating demoralisation, which if not properly engaged may lead to inability to engage properly during the next elections. This was how it happened in 2014 which probably gave the All Progressives Congress, APC the impetus to go ahead to win the general elections of 2015. Is this a repetition of the last time out? The judge of all occasions will tell in a few months time.
Truthfully, election is there to be won. The field is open and its only the brave that steps up to the plate. Osun has equally taught me that contrary to the proliferation of parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the APC are the parties we have. There are others. In fact, everything put together there are 91 political parties. Probably if we add APGA we have just three political parties that are worth their onions. The rest are simply angry associations who wish to find a space to ventilate their anger. According to our constitution, they are right. But according to my understanding they are wrong. For it is taken for granted that parties are formed for the sole need to win elections. If you run a party that hasn’t won anything, not even a councillorship, the best bet is to find a suitable party between APC and PDP to join or merge.
Yet I concede that the constitutional provision cannot be abridged. However we have to be practical. And winning election or politics generally is a practical venture. What you put in is what will be announced within a short period. In Osun from the results so far announced, it is obvious that Iyoola Omisore candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP would have helped his immediate past party PDP more had he not defected to another party in pursuit of his ambition. I repeat he has the right to his ambition, nobody can deny that but coming from the same zone where the incumbent comes from should have spoken to his common sense to allow another candidate from another part of the state the opportunity to try. His tally in the end would have resolved any doubts about the winner of the election. But again that’s up to strategy and goodwill to prevail on such candidates future elections.
In the same vein, the candidate of the APC would have benefitted from the outcome of the poll had the former secretary to the government of the state, Moshood Adeoti not pulled out of their party in the last minutes to join the ADP. My point being that the two candidates of the parties with no pedigree could not do much except act as spoilers to their former parties. It is degrading to be known as a spoiler in the first place since a party is formed to win elections. But that’s one area of our political culture that people need to look at. That your party did not favour you in one time does not mean it won’t at another time. And I am not by any means saying people cannot win elections from a weaker party. I am speaking to winning national elections where it matters most. That is where our destinies are determined. None of the mushroom parties have the capacity to cause harm to any of the two major parties.
So essentially, Nigeria is running a two effective party system. We have a third leg, which is APGA who come into the mix when we need to find a truce. I will urge Nigerians to join these parties so that we can conveniently determine who the parties’ field during their primaries. The parties are: PDP, APC and APGA. This is the best way to make a real difference in the affairs of our nation. It is not for nothing that defections that took place prior to Osun elections tilted the votes to one party or the other in the overall scheme of things. This is what is possible in 2019. While no one can hold any politician down in a party, the process leading to every primary should be as clear and fair as possible. After that, leaders must speak to losers to assure them of their place within the party. No matter the party.
Lastly no election winning formula is greater than good governance. INEC has shown improvement in most of its functions. Politicians should go out there and get the campaigns going. Anything can happen.
All things considered, Its an election, peoples behavior cannot be predicted after all.