Following the announcement of governorship election dates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the pace of political activity in Ekiti and Osun states has quickened.
According to INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Ekiti will hold elections on June 18, 2022, while Osun will hold elections on July 18, 2022.
Prof. Yakubu also announced the establishment of new polling stations, bringing the total number of polling stations in the country up from 119,974 to 176,864.
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The All Progressives Congress (APC), which governs the two states, and the Peoples Democratic Party, the main opposition, have begun an assessment of their actions.
The APC in Osun said it had adopted Governor Adegboyega Oyetola as its candidate, to enable him run for his second term while the spokesman for the PDP said members were rooting for Senateor Ademola Adeleke as the candidate, but with a caveat: All those interested will be free to bid for the ticket.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan described the announcement by the electoral agency as a welcome development.
He said: “We are battle ready for the elections. We just have to dot the “ts” and “is” as we commence preparation. We will strengthen the structure and procedures of our parties in the two states, and make the chapters ready for the polls.
“We will organise our process well. We will conduct our congresses. Our candidates will emerge and we will begin our campaigns. Nigerians are tired of the ruling APC because it has failed the country. They have written off the APC.”
Ologbodiyan added: “We will do our reconciliation and harmonisation. As a political party, we are dealing with human beings and not machines. Reconciliation and harmonisation are part of politics and party administration”.
In EKiti, the PDP reiterated its readiness to dislodge the APC from power. But the ruling APC said there was no vacancy at the Oke-Bareke Government House.
The APC Caretaker Publicity Secretary, Ade Ajayi, said the poll would be a walkover for the ruling party, owing to the superlative achievements of Governor Kayode Fayemi in all sectors.
Ajayi said the APC would break the succession jinx in 2022 by ensuring that a progressive politician from the progressive fold succeeds Fayemi at the expiration of his tenure.
He said that the electorate are happy with the purposeful leadership of the APC-led government and not ready to shift allegiance to the PDP, whose trademark is failure.
The APC spokesman said the PDP, during its reign reversed the course of socio-economic development in Ekiti, adding that Ekiti will not vote for backwardness.
He said the opposition party had been completely buried in Ekiti since former Governor Ayodele Fayose left power, adding that the party is bedevilled with many crises that have weakened the platform.
Ajayi said: “Let me tell you that we are prepared and well-grounded to win the poll. APC is a more cohesive party. We are united under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi.
“We are banking on our impressive performances to win and we are sure that the PDP will suffer another defeat again like they did in 2018.”
But, the PDP State Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, said the days of the APC at the Government House were numbered.
He said: APC government had failed to deliver dividends of democracy to the electorate due to its lack of service delivery plan and ideas that could translate to growth and development.
He said that the ruling party should be prepared for an imminent defeat in the election.
Adeyanju added: “We know Ekiti will reject a party that has disappointed them. A party that can’t fix their roads, that can’t provide employments for youths, that can’t effect promotions for workers can’t continue to rule us. So, we are well prepared.”
“Former Governors Ayodele Fayose and Segun Oni as well as Senator Biodun Olujimi and other leaders are united behind the PDP. We all have our eyes fixed on that governorship seat and we are confident that our victory is sacrosanct”.
The Osun APC vowed to retain the state, adding that PDP will be disgraced at the poll.
PDP ruled out the imposition of candidate for the election.
The caretaker chairman of APC, Prince Gboyega Famodun, said the party is putting structures in place to ensure victory.
He stressed: “We are making sure that every sector of the party that has a relationship with the election like the party agents get themselves prepared for the 2022 poll. The only thing that we are still expecting to gear up our preparation is the type of election that we would have.
“INEC is yet to come up with a particular way we are going to vote, but it seems there would be a slight departure from the normal practice. They are saying they want to go for e-voting, which is not too clear to us yet. We have not done that before. Whether it will start with the governorship election or general election in 2023, we don’t know.
Famodun said: “Oyetola has been adopted throughout the state by members of our party. The adoption has been documented by local governments and federal constituencies. They did so simultaneously because of The Osun Progressives (TOP).”
The Director, Media and Publicity, Osun PDP, Oladele Oluwabamiji..
He said: “The majority of our party stakeholders are indeed, rooting for the emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the party candidate in the forthcoming governorship election. It is also a fact that Adeleke performed excellently in the 2018 governorship election as our candidate, where he defeated the APC candidate on the first ballot before the run-off
“However, the party is not foreclosing other intending aspirants throwing their hat into the ring in line with their constitutional rights in a democratic society. We will ensure a free and fair selection process at the primary election. This will be done fairly devoid of any ground for rancor.”