The battle line drawn between Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola’s re-election bid and the Minister of Interior and former governor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola’s preferred candidate turned up anxieties in the state.
The disharmonious state of Osun All Progressives Congress, APC worsened as Aregbesola’s faction named The Osun Progressives (TOP) and Oyetola’s group called Ileri-Oluwa Movement intensified their fierceness against each other.
Their controversies were characterised with attacks, assaults and insults. They embarked on tours to different local government areas to engage the indigenes, gather more followers and make their intention known.
Aregbesola publicly denounced Oyetola and declared Moshood Adeoti, the former Secretary to the State Government who served with him when he was the state governor as his preferred candidate.
The minister canvassed for Adeoti’s support in the February 19 primary election for him to emerge as the party’s flag bearer for July 16 governorship election. He described Governor Oyetola as an ingrate and a traitor whom he assisted in 2018 to assume office but destroyed his legacies afterwards.
However, loyalists of the incumbent governor have said Aregbesola is not God that would determine Oyetola’s fate in the election. The governor was described as one who has absolute faith in God and the people of Osun.
They remained loyal to him, canvassing for party members’ support as they embarked on ‘Strategic Engagement Tour’ to all the nine federal constituencies in Osun State.
The two factions ended their separate tours on Thursday, February 17, 2022 and appeared before the Primary election committee from the party headquarters in Abuja on Friday evening ahead of the primary election on Saturday.
The three contenders for the party’s ticket– Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti and ex-deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff expressed readiness for the election after the address of the chairman of the electoral committee, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, the governor of Kwara State.
The party adopted the direct election mode in all the 332 wards in the state. Accreditation was slated to begin by 8 am and end by 12 noon after which the accredited voters would queue behind their preferred candidates and would be counted and recorded.
Investors King who monitored the election process in several wards observed that there was a massive turnout of voters. There was no tension as predicted by members of the public due to the factions’ confrontations. Security personnel consisting of Nigerian Police Force, Amotekun Corps, Joint Task Force and Hunters Group of Nigeria were on ground to man the wards. Not less than ten security operatives were seen in each ward.
However, in some wards visited, there were controversies on the pasting of the party membership register. The party register was not pasted, names were being called which didn’t go down well with some party members but it was resolved by the security personnel. Also, at ward 12 in Iwo, accreditation started by 9 am, hence was still on the accreditation till around 1:47 pm which ought to have ended by 12noon.
Moving to Governor Oyetola’s ward, Ward 1 at St Peters Primary School in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area, Investors King reports that he was largely welcomed by members after which he was accredited. After counting the votes, the election official, Samson Oyebode announced that the governor had 1612 votes while Adeoti and Lasun had no vote and no party agent.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the election process in his hometown, Oyetola expressed satisfaction over the massive turnout and orderliness.
He appealed to the party members to maintain peace as he said, “all the members of the party have the opportunity to decide who will carry the flag of the party. This election process should not be a battlefield. It should not be a do or die affair.”
Confident of victory, Oyetola reiterated his trust in God to emerge the winner and urged the party members not to indulge in any violent act.
To his co-contenders, he said, “I want to appeal to them to ensure that we have an opportunity for reconciliation. It’s a family thing. It’s APC all through. We should brace up for the challenge ahead. We are going to face another party in this campaign we don’t know yet.”
The deputy governor of Osun, Benedict Alabi, in his hometown, Ikire at ward 6 was present to cast his vote.
Speaking in an interview during the process, he said the primary election was well organised, timely and orderly in Ikire, Irewole Local Government Area.
According to him, Governor Oyetola is the candidate to beat as the other two aspirants are not visible in the area.
At Hon. Lasun Yusuff’s ward, ward 05 in Ilobu, Irepodun local government area of the state, Oyetola had 323 votes, Adeoti had 62 votes while Lasun had 10 votes. With this, Oyetola emerged the winner in Lasun’s ward.
In Ward 8, Ilesa East Local government area which is Aregbesola’s ward but was absent at the election, Oyetola had 309 votes and Adeoti had 146 votes. But this was not without controversy as the factional chairman of the ward explained that the absence of the minister who was on an assignment for President Muhammadu Buhari robbed them of a fair, unbiased election.
The factional chairman of ward 8, Saheed Adegoke stated that the election didn’t go well in his ward, pointing that the voters’ register brought was not accurate.
“During the accreditation, there are some people that belonged to us and their names could not be found in the register book they brought. I challenged them. I made them know that the register has been doctored. They did not listen because they are incumbent and they are many.
“The most unfortunate is that the leader of the electoral process showed that he is for their side. If I raise any observation, he will tell me to go to court. I told him he was wrong to be biased. The security could not do anything. They did not show us the result sheet. They packed the whole thing and started running,” Adegoke lamented.
The factional state chairman, Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile of ward 04, Isale-Oba in Iwo Local Government Area of Osun also decried their inaccessibility to the party’s register.
“Up till today, we have not seen the register of the party, which is against the rules of the game. At least, each of the aspirants is expected to have a copy of the register of members but none of them has it. We raised it at the stakeholders meeting at the party secretariat. Many of our supporters can’t find their names on the register,” he said during an interview at the ward.
Salinsile averred that “whatever comes out of this exercise is a nullity, we won’t take it.”
After the collation of the results from each ward and local government areas in the state, the electoral committee declared Governor Adegboyega Oyetola as the winner of the election in the early hours of Sunday as he polled 222,169 defeating the Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola’s candidate, Moshood Adeoti who had 12921 votes and Lasun Yusuff who polled 460 votes.
Here’s the official results released for each local government area:
Atakunmosa East LGA
Registered voters: 8628
Accredited voters: 2917
Atakunmosa West LGA
Registered voters: 8964
Accredited voters: 5055
Registered voters: 15185
Accredited voters: 4371
Registered voters: 6763
Accredited voters: 3664
Registered voters: 9422
Accredited voters: 6527
Registered voters: 18410
Accredited voters: 15531
Ede North LGA
Registered voters: 11908
Accredited voters: 0834
Ede South LGA
Registered voters: 7372
Accredited voters: 3525
Registered voters: 10089
Accredited voters: 6334
Registered voters: 12579
Accredited voters: 8367
Ife Central LGA
Registered voters: 14331
Accredited voters: 11881
Registered voters: 6586
Accredited voters: 4678
Ife East LGA
Registered voters: 15922
Accredited voters: 12529
Registered voters: 16789
Accredited voters: 12971
Ife North LGA
Ife South LGA
Registered voters: 11435
Accredited voters: 8673
Registered voters: 11359
Accredited voters: 9223
Ilesa East LGA
Registered voters: 11132
Accredited voters: 5846
Ilesa West LGA
Registered voters: 11552
Accredited voters: 4660
Registered voters: 20563
Accredited voters: 9692
Registered voters: 14085
Accredited voters: 8432
Registered voters: 14366
Accredited voters: 6899
Registered voters: 24543
Accredited voters: 14690
Registered voters: 13048
Accredited voters: 5910
Registered voters: 14304
Accredited voters: 8119
Registered voters: 8747
Accredited voters: 4134
Registered voters: 18402
Accredited voters: 8087
Registered voters: 16186
Accredited voters: 11384
Registered voters: 8927
Accredited voters: 7768
Registered voters: 37771
Accredited voters: 23711
Total number of registered voters: 408697
Total number of accredited voters: 247207
Total number of votes cast: 235550
The chairman of the electoral committee, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasak had earlier commended the peaceful conduct of members as he monitored the electoral process.
Abdulrasak who spoke at Governor Oyetola’s ward in Iragbiji, noted that the huge turnout and orderliness contradicted the expectations of many over the exercise.
The Kwara State Governor further said that Osun APC is strong and peaceful against the images painted by news outfits. He commended the party members and aspirants for conducting themselves well.
Aregbesola has, however, reacted to the outcome of the election. He described the election as a sham, biased electoral process.
He highlighted the irregularities of the exercise and expressed readiness to challenge the election in court.
The minister commended his loyalists for conducting themselves peacefully and encouraged them to remain unflinching in their commitment to the democratic ideals.
“Democracy is for the long haul. As you all know, we never tire and we never give up on the cause we believe in. Be rest assured that victory is ours,” he concluded.
Governor Oyetola, in his acceptance speech sued for peace and cooperation in preparation for the July 16, governorship election in the state.
The Governor extended olive branch to the co-contenders, Adeoti and Lasun just as he urged members of the party to close ranks and eschew bitterness in all forms saying the time has come for all the aggrieved members to have a rethink and join hands with him to further strengthen the party and deliver outstanding results at the gubernatorial poll.
He also reiterated his Administration’s commitment to running all inclusive, equitable and participatory governance in the State.
While the former governor of Lagos State and APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, south west governors, his cabinet members and others have congratulated the governor on his victory, the election result has been threatened with legal action.
Civil societies who served as observers during the election have commended and condemned the exercise.
While a group said it was conducted well and done peacefully, another pointed that it was below international standard, stating that the election was disrupted by violence in some areas.
Political analysts have tagged the victory of Oyetola as a disgrace to Aregbesola who according to them shouldn’t fold his hands and watch as he (Aregbesola) had earlier bragged of his candidate winning the election.
Eyes are wide open longing to know if Aregbesola’s faction would come into the open embrace of Oyetola and accept his olive branch before the July 16 governorship election.
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Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
Nigeria Spends N231.27 Billion on Arms Procurement in Four Years Amidst Rising Security Challenges
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N231.27 billion for arms and ammunition procurement over the past four years.
Despite this significant investment, security agencies argue that the allocated funds are insufficient to effectively tackle the myriad security challenges afflicting the nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget for arms purchases during a session with the House of Representatives.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for military hardware, which are priced in dollars, diminishes the impact of the substantial budget when converted to the local currency.
General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”
He further illustrated the challenges faced, citing that a precision missile for drones costs $5,000, underscoring the magnitude of the expenses associated with arms procurement.
An analysis of the annual budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 reveals allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, supplemented by a recently passed budget of N184.25 billion, resulting in a total of N231.27 billion.
Security expert Chidi Omeje raised concerns about the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is tasked with manufacturing arms locally. Omeje criticized DICON’s underperformance, urging the government to revamp the agency to reduce reliance on foreign nations for arms and ammunition.
Omeje stressed, “The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities,” highlighting the urgency of fostering self-sufficiency in arms production to address the country’s security challenges effectively.
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