Aregbesola and the cost of victory
SIR: Notwithstanding Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s victory on Saturday, the governorship poll in the State of Osun was not free and fair.
Election is not just about casting of votes but the process, a level-playing field for all candidates being the most critical factor for the success of any poll.
We all knew Aregbesola would win if the election was free and fair. This is because he has an almost fanatical following in Osun, being a man of the grassroots par excellence.
It is not because PDP did not do everything possible to rig the poll in favour of its candidate, Iyiola Omisore; it is because of the doggedness and courage of the APC, Aregbesola and Osun electorate on the one hand and on the other the fear of the possibility of the imminent reversal of democracy in the crises that might erupt should the PDP stick to its agenda of conquest of Osun at all costs.
Indeed, many APC supporters were still scared from coming out to vote as news of arrest of their leaders rented the air. So, through intimidation of APC supporters, the PDP still rigged the poll. It’s just that unlike Ekiti, where the majority of party supporters were caught unawares, the majority of the APC supporters in Osun had been sensitised and were ready to defy the intimidation of the PDP-controlled security agents.
Is the cost of Osun poll in terms of the hype, tension, intimidation, misuse of the law enforcement agencies – the police, SSS, soldiers – unlawful arrest of APC candidates worth it? It’s almost a pyrrhic victory for Aregbesola, APC and the people of the State of Osun.
Aregbesola performed extraordinarily well such that he did not need to go through such soul-corroding, excruciating and energy-sapping campaign that kept the whole nation on tenterhooks. Well, it was not a campaign to win a re-election but to stop the rigging machinery of the Federal Government-controlled PDP.
Rather than think of better democratic strategy to defeat Aregbesola, the PDP and Iyiola Omisore relied solely on the might of the federal government to use the security agents to cow the APC supporters as it did in the recent Ekiti poll.
I commend the role of the media in the prohibitive success of the APC and triumph of performance over mediocrity. I laud the APC governors for standing by their brother-governor through thick and thin; kudos to the APC national leadership.
- Patrick James,
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