Osun 2022: Poorly targeted voter education will impact Participation

Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote First Osun Pre-Election Observation (PREO) Report

On July 16, 2022, the electorates in Osun will  again go to the polls to elect the governor who  will run the affairs of the state for the next four  years. The Osun state election is one of the six  off-cycle elections and the last to be  conducted before the Nigeria 2023 general  elections. Being the last off-cycle election  before the general election, the Osun election  is important to the people of Osun state in  electing their Governor and significant in  Nigeria’s electoral process as it provides an  opportunity to assess the preparations of the  Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC) for the general elections. This will  include the capacity of INEC to efficiently  administer and manage the election. The  2022 Osun governorship election will also be  the second election to be administered with determined by a rerun election where the  difference in votes between the winning APC  and the then runner up PDP was only 482  votes. The rerun which was marred by  malpractices raised major issues about the  outcome of the election. The 2018 politics is  also informing the political rhetoric of both the  APC and PDP candidates in this election.  However, from the commencement of  political party campaigns on 17 April 2022,  reports from Yiaga Africa Watching the vote  findings indicate that amongst the 15 parties  contesting the election, the campaigns of the  APC, PDP, Accord Party and YPP are more  prominent in the State.

Beyond the politics of the parties, is the role of  women and the near absence of women  candidates in the governorship race, with no female candidate for the office of the Governor and only 6 female deputy  governorship candidates. The APC and PDP  have an all-male ticket. In addition, is the role  of prospective voters in Osun states. For the  2018 election, there were 1,682,495 registered  voters for the election. However recent data  from INEC indicates that Osun is one of the the new Electoral Act and reviewed INEC  Guidelines for election. Interestingly, with the  new Electoral Act mandating earlier  commencement of elections activities for the  general election, the commencement of  national primary elections along the same  time as campaigns for the governorship  election in Osun has an impact on the political  dynamics in the state and context of the  campaigns for the election.

For the Osun election, the candidates of the  All Progressive Congress (APC); Oyetola  Adegboyega Isiaka and the Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP); Adeleke Adedamola  Nurudeen, will once again be battling for the  office of the Governor after a fierce contest in  2018. The 2018 governorship election was states with higher voter registration in the  Continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise  with 360, 625 new registrants in the state as  of the suspension of CVR in the state on  March 30, 2022. The state, like other states in  Nigeria, has also witnessed a decline in voter  turnout with turnout in 2018 at 45% a decline  from the 2014 governorship election at 53.1%  voter turnout. The question, however, is  whether the political parties will focus on  campaigns on issues rather than the trend of  voter inducement by money and gift items. In  the pre-election phase, Yiaga Africa’s  long-term observation is focused on  assessing INECs’ preparatory activities  towards the election, the security planning,  activities of election stakeholders, campaigns  and activities of political parties, and voter  education in the state and violence  monitoring.

This Pre-Election Observation Report (PREO),  findings are based on reports received from  the Watching the Vote Long term observers  LTOs) deployed in each of the 30 LGAs in  Osun state. The report covers the period from  April 22 to May 26, 2022

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#WatchingTheVote is a citizen led election observation initiative aimed at enhancing the integrity of elections in Nigeria using technological tools like sms and evidence-based research methodology tools for election observation.

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