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