From the first day on Monday, August 1, 2022, that news from indirect sources filtered into the media space in Osun that the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) was planning to conduct local government polls on October 15, 2022, it has been war of words between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Just smarting from an electoral victory in the gubernatorial election, the Osun PDP which queried why the election would be held close to the swearing-in of a new administration and at a time the state government disclosed that it was broke, opposed the development in the Federal High Court, Osogbo.
On August 15, 2022, OSIEC put the speculation to rest when it publicly stated that it would be conducting local government polls in Osun on October 15, 2022.
OSIEC, speaking through its Chairman, Segun Oladitan stated that the election would be conducted in accordance with the new OSIEC law passed by the Osun State House of Assembly and the Electoral Act, 2022.
Oladitan also stated that the election would be conducted adopting the presidential system as opposed to the Parliamentary system that was adopted when local government polls were last conducted in the State in February, 2017.
Objection by the Osun PDP
The PDP in Osun took the matter to court and OSIEC in opposition, also objected to the decision by the political party to stop it from conducting the poll.
In the Court of Appeal, Akure, the matter was struck out and Osun PDP given the go ahead to go ahead with the matter in the Federal High Court, Osogbo calling to question OSIEC’s decision to conduct the local government election.
The election was eventually held on October 15, 2022. However, in a radio current affairs programme monitored by DAILY POST in Osogbo, the OSIEC Chairman, Oladitan stated that out of the 16 political parties which indicated interest in the poll, only one went ahead to present candidates for the poll.
The Osun PDP, All Peoples Party (APP) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) also publicly announced their non-participation in the poll.
The PDP has gone back to the Federal High Court and the matter has resumed but a judgement has yet been given.
Election preparation by the Osun APC
All the while, the Osun All Progressives Congress (APC) had gone ahead to conduct chairmanship and councillorship primaries for the local government election.
With the result out, the party went ahead to publicly commence campaigns for the election and during the exercise were all returned unopposed.
Why ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ voting option
DAILY POST had reported on October 16, 2022, on the reason the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) decided to adopt the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ on the ballot paper for the Osun LG poll.
According to the OSIEC Chairman, Segun Oladitan, the Commission opted for the procedure because only the APC has councillorship and chairmanship candidates in the local government election in the State.
Oladitan said other political parties which had indicated interest in the election failed to submit candidates as of the last day of nomination.
He also disclosed that the election was only for chairmanship position, revealing that the councillorship candidates had been declared elected unopposed after the closing of nomination.
“As of the close of nomination, the councillors have been declared elected unopposed. But because the chairmanship position requires other tests, a section of the Electoral Act demands that there should be a Yes or No vote.
“Because there were numbers of political parties before, the moment a candidate becomes the only candidate, he has become the candidate of the whole community; so, his popularity has to be tested.
“So, in this election, what we have put in position is the Electoral Act, 2022.”
PDP reaction to the Osun LG poll
In a swift reaction, the party described the poll as unnecessary and a deliberate waste of the State’s resources.
It also challenged the outgoing State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola to ensure every penny spent in the failed exercise was returned to the State’s coffers.
Appraisal by the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola
The State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola too in his appraisal gave OSIEC a passmark and expressed satisfaction in the conduct and outcome of the poll.
Describing the entire electoral process as peaceful, orderly and rancour-free, Adegboyega added that it indicated that the nation’s democracy is thriving and progressing steadily.
Expressing optimism on the political future of Nigeria, he hailed OSIEC for its resolve and commitment to have a free, fair, transparent, credible and acceptable electoral process.
On Monday, October 17, 2022, the State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola swore in the newly elected local government chairmen.
This was after the OSIEC Chairman a day before, Sunday, October 16 presented Certificates of Return to all the elected chairmen.
The local government chairmen and their councillors have since resumed, even as their fate hangs in the balance.