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The Rain of Naira Narrowed The Choice Of The Osun People, By Oluwaseyi Oyetunbi

July 18, 2022

While we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for non-interference in the process, let us also note that the just concluded election is not credible.

Osun has decided to give the baton of governance to Sen. Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke, who was declared winner of the just concluded Osun2022 gubernatorial election after leading the incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola with over 28,000 votes to carry-on from (him) his predecessor. The governor-elect who alleged the people's mandate was stolen in the last election couldn't contain his joy after he was declared winner on Sunday, 17th July. 
The election was surprisingly a two-horse race in spite of having fifteen candidates in the race. The APC candidate, H.E Adegboyega Oyetola and the PDP candidate, Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke's money induced performance eclipsed other candidates so much that the candidate that came third struggled to muster a total votes of 10,104. This voting pattern can be attributed to many factors like the popularity of the two major candidates and perhaps the popularity of the political parties. However, candidates like Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party and RT Hon. Lasun Yusuf of the Labour Party equally have similar popularity in Osun politics, looking at their antecedents, previously held position and bromance with key members of their former political parties fought to garner a total vote of 4515 and 2729 respectively. 

Should we agree that when the governor-elect said it was going to be fire for fire, he had come with enough dollars and pounds, he was not making an empty boast? The institutionalization of vote-buying in the Osun2022 election was well planned and complex to be an urgent strategy. I voted at unit 7,  ward 3, Gbongan, Ayedaade Local Government, what I witnessed was an absolute transactional electoral process. It was so sophisticated that I believe it took a lot of planning to make it seamless. People who were said to be for PDP were given N5,000, those for APC got N3,000 each. The process could best be described as a rain of naira across the state. 
How the process was designed was that, once you print thumb on the ballot paper, you must bend your ballot paper towards the direction of where the canvassers are (those are people who supervise who the electorates print their thumbs for) for confirmation and you proceed to the next stage. Once confirmation is done, voters move near their respective canvassers for a card, they then take the card to vote-buying cashiers who are stationed on the next street. It was so bad that people were engaged right on the queue by these so called canvassers to sell their votes for money enough to cook soup for that day. I saw people being embarrased by these canvassers you find loitering around polling units marketing how much good their money can do to electorates like traders inside Molue. 
Thus, the election was cash-and-carry/no-money-no-vote, and to a very large extent it limited the choices of the unsuspecting, disoriented electorates who are too poor to resist offer to sell their mandate for less than $10.
Sen. Ademola Adeleke and the PDP did not only pay more for vote-buying, they mobilized a lot of people from neighboring states like Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti into Osun to register for PVC and vote in the election. Also, the rhetoric of the stolen mandate gave him a fair edge. 
While we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for non-interference in the process, let us also note that the just concluded election is not credible and strongly inimical to the tenets of democracy.
The people seemed to be defeated by the system that has so much weaponized poverty to the point that for a candidate to garner a thousand vote, he must be sure of having a certain amount of millions to buy the amount of votes he can afford. People may agree with your agenda, but their conviction is largely vested on how much you can spend without looking back. Everything considered, the institutionalization of vote-buying is a cog in the wheel of our democracy as a nation and a discouraging factor for young, idea-driven Nigerians who may be willing to replicate what is obtainable in most developed countries, and perhaps what works for our generation. 
Democracy is extremely expensive, more exhaustive for countries with high population like Nigeria; vote-buying has made it even near-impossible for the the country to achieve leaders who know it for a fact that they owe the populace good governance because they were voted on the basis of their ideas and campaign promises. But, in the case where electing a candidate becomes transactional, it becomes a story of, "I bought my way here"
The election however recorded tranquility and peace. We can do better as a nation by discouraging vote-buying through whatever means that can work. Nigeria is gradually on the threshold of slipping into the grips of the aristocrats who may have the money to buy votes but lack problem-solving ideas to set the country on a path of transformation.
Written by: Oluwaseyi Oyetunbi