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Osun 2022: Between INEC and political aspirants

By Jimoh Olorede 
08 May 2022   |   3:45 am
Osun governorship election will be held in the next three months, precisely on July 16, 2022. It is expected that all hands would be on deck with all efforts jointly made towards bringing the ambition of the incumbent Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola...

[FILES] INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Photo; FACBOOK/INECNIGERIA

Osun governorship election will be held in the next three months, precisely on July 16, 2022. It is expected that all hands would be on deck with all efforts jointly made towards bringing the ambition of the incumbent Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, a candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) seeking a re-election to fruition.

However, there appears to be a caveat regarding the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) guidelines for 2023 general elections as contained in the new Electoral Act, 2022: that conduct of party primaries including resolution of disputes arising therefrom must commence on April 4, 2022 and end on June 3, 2022.

To beat the deadline, some politicians in the state, including those who are currently holding political appointments in the Oyetola-led government, have collected interest indication forms vying for different positions. So, instead of concentrating on their principal’s re-election in the next three months, some of the Governor’s appointees are heating up the state polity with clashing-interest declarations inundating the atmosphere with the pursuit of their aspirations.

Politicians could sacrifice their friends, let alone their foes, for their interest, and not vice versa. While there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics, politicians’ interest remains permanent to them. Now that Oyetola’s 2022 re-election ‘interest’ clashes with the INEC’s new Electoral Act regarding the 2023 general elections, some of the politicians who are interested in contesting the 2023 general election in the state would hardly subordinate their interests to his.

Meanwhile, in his reaction to the combined effects of Sections 84(12) and 29(1) of the 2022 Electoral Acts, the Governor had, last week, issued a directive to all his appointees who are interested in contesting in the 2023 general elections to resign their appointments.

Similarly, in Kano State, no fewer than nine commissioners had resigned from their appointments in compliance with Governor Ganduje’s directive regarding the INEC’s caveat on the 2023 general elections. Among seven other appointees, the Deputy Governor, Nasir Gawuna resigned from his position as the Commissioner for Agriculture, while Ganduje’s Chief of Staff, Ali Garuba Makoda has also resigned his appointment and may contest for the governor’s seat, as speculated.

You see, when it comes to political interest, politicians’ insubordination to their principals is not limited to a state in Nigeria. Politicians can forsake their friends, or even their benefactors, for their favour, and not the other way round, as they hardly jettison their interest for their principals’.

Obviously, the INEC’s 2022 Electoral Act and its caveat regarding the deadlines for diligence preparatory to the next year’s general elections are ‘unfavourable’ to Governor Oyetola, as all the activities — conduct of party primaries, resolution of disputes, and so on, concerning the 2023 general elections as contained in the Commission’s directive is within the wee weeks when all party stalwarts and stakeholders are expected to donate their urines together to ensure a foaming and bubbling victory for the incumbent Governor.

It’s no gainsaying the fact that Oyetola’s incumbency as the executive governor of Osun State remains the ‘corporate interest’ of all who claim to belong to the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in the state. When an individual’s interest clashes with this ‘corporate interest’, it’s expected that it should be subordinated to the corporate (general) interest of all. Alas! Politicians’ loyalty doesn’t extend to this end.

I said INEC’s 2022 Electoral Act is unfavourable to Oyetola not only because the state’s governorship election campaign and other electioneering activities fall within the deadlines stipulated by the umpire body for compliance by anybody interested in contesting any elective position in the 2023 general elections, but also because the Commission’s caveat provides an ‘exonerating alibi’ for the Governor’s appointees and others who claim to be loyal to him, but who are only preoccupied with their interest in the next year’s election at the expense of Oyetola’s re-election in a few months from now.

Certainly, the ongoing expressions and declarations of interests in contesting in the next year’s general elections by politicians, especially in the Osun APC are borne out of apprehensions of the INEC’S deadlines-caveat. However, one indisputable fact, another more fearful caveat that these politicians should be more apprehensive about is that if their ‘corporate interest’ is betrayed and consequently lost in the fast-approaching July 16 gubernatorial poll in the state, the loss of the executive seat by the APC will definitely mar their success in the 2023 general election.

• Olorede, Varsity Research Scholar and Mass Communication Lecturer writes in via oloredejimoh@gmail.com/08111841887