The political situation is quite tense in Osun State as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, the two dominant political parties engage in last minute chase for votes.
Both parties have traded blames and counter allegations, all in a bid to win the hearts and minds of the Osun electorates.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate and Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate have also both come to Osun to seek the votes of the electorates.
Also, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, have both come to Osun as part of their campaign strategy.
Osun State politically has been known to be a state whose voting pattern swings along the political party ruling the state.
This has been the pattern since 1999 and this may, according to political pundits, continue in the 2023 general elections.
The political situation in Osun State is highly charged, even though politicians in all the camps are trying to maintain the status quo by not carrying out acts that would disturb the fragile peace.
Osun has been described as one of the most peaceful states in the southwest of Nigeria until recently when both the APC and the PDP started trading blames and accusing each other of instigating violence against the members.
The politically motivated violent attacks have led to the loss of lives and injuries.
Also, there have been reports of destruction of campaign posters and billboards and assault on each other’s campaign offices.
Dominant political parties
Since the creation of Osun State in 1991 and from 1999 till date, the progressives as the APC is known, have governed the State.
Only twice has the PDP taken the initiative. In 2003 and recently in 2022.
The electoral battle in Osun State is perceived by all as a contest between the PDP, the governing party in the state and the APC which has been thrust back as the opposition party.
No political party in the state has been able to break the PDP-APC hold and it is expected that going into the election, these two political parties will once again lead.
Even with the emergence of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP, the status quo politically in Osun remains a tussle between the APC and the PDP.
There has always existed a tradition of the voters rejecting a governor whose policies in the first term was regarded as anti-people.
An example is the loss of Bisi Akande in 2003 when he sought a second term.
Olagunsoye Oyinlola in 2010 lost out at the Court of Appeal in Akure against Rauf Aregbesola. The poll in contention was the April, 2007 Osun gubernatorial election, where Oyinlola sought a second term.
Rauf Aregbesola only managed to break that cycle in the August, 2014 guber poll, when he overwhelmingly defeated his opponent, Iyiola Omisore who was then the PDP gubernatorial candidate.
The scenario was repeated again during the July, 2022 Osun gubernatorial election where Adegboyega Oyetola as the sitting governor failed to return for a second term, even though the result of the election is still a matter of legal contention.
If the courts overturn the election results, then it would make it a second time, the cycle is broken and from the same political party.
Capacity of party leaders to win votes
Based on activities on ground, both political parties- APC and PDP have the capacity to win Osun during the presidential election.
Both parties have set up mechanisms in the state and both have effective Presidential Campaign Councils in place which have swung into action.
Adegboyega Oyetola’s PCC leadership in Osun is geared towards winning the presidential election on one hand and swaying the minds of the people that he is still the rightfully elected governor of Osun State.
The Osun PDP PCC is under the leadership of Sunday Bisi. It is also not resting on its oars as it has deployed every weapon in its arsenal to ensure PDP carried the day in Osun during the general elections.
Electorates the determining factor
Osun electorates are always regarded as sophisticated but their voting pattern usually depends on the governing party in the state. What it means is that the PDP may eventually carry the day, with APC coming second and Obi of the LP taking the rear.
Due to the calibre of candidates, many pundits have predicted that the 2023 general elections would be full of surprises.