The primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress being held in Osun, State, Southwest Nigeria has been generally peaceful despite the initial apprehension of possible violence.
The exercise which witnessed large turnout of voters is expected to produce the party’s candidate in the July 16 governorship election.
The contest is within the incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, former Secretary to the State Government, Moshood Adeoti who is being supported by former Governor Rauf Aregbesola and former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Lasun Yussuf.
Oyetola and his Deputy, Mr Benedict Alabi after the accreditation and counting of voters at Iragbiji and Ikire respectively express happiness at the exercise and commended party members for their courage and sacrifice, for rejecting god-fatherism and supporting good governance.
At Ward 06, Alabi said, “It has been orderly and people have assembled since 8am.
Everybody here seems to be agog.
I am happy we are having a peaceful, free and fair election.
“The fact is that there is only one candidate that is contesting the primary in Osun and that’s the incumbent Governor.
We have the other faction with other two aspirants.
They are not even visible in this community.
The chairman of Alhaji Adeoti’s group is in this Ward.
He is standing alone for accreditation and election and that tells you that Governor Oyetola is a candidate to beat.
During voters’ accreditation at Ansar-ud-Deen Atile, Ward 9, Unit 3, Ikire in Irewole Local Government Area, the Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebamiji appreciated the security architecture and comportment of the people as the exercise was being held under peace serene and conducive environment.
Oyebamiji expressed delight at people’s turnout which according to him, indicates voters’ show of appreciation to good governance on the delivery of dividends of Democracy by Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
The Commissoner for Special Duties, Olalekan Badmus was equally happy with the impressive turnout, saying, “You will agree with me that even as at 9am today, all the different voting centres have been filled up, and people have been doing their accreditation.
As I speak to you, I have also done my accreditation this morning and you will agree with me that this is what we can say is the beauty of democracy.
You will see people willingly and even despite the sun, they are out here to exercise their rights.
“So, I’m happy that the future is bright and that democracy is here to stay.
I’m happy here that Governor Gboyega Oyetola has shown his magnanimity in terms of the responsibility upon him which is service to all and you would agree with me that there’s peace and everybody is exercising their rights.
“So, it is a good thing for us in the State of Osun and in Nigeria in general, that democracy is here to stay.
Badmus was also impressed by the number and the conduct of security personnel, saying, “In terms of security, everywhere is cool and calm”.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru was also impressed about the exercise
“From what you have seen yourself, have you not seen that people are happy to participate in this exercise? This is the third Ward I have been, aside doing accreditation in my own Ward.
I have been to Ward 10 and now in Ward 9 and we have seen people ready and willing to vote and everything so far has been very peaceful and it is contrary to the impression that some people have given that there will be atmosphere of violence and I believe that at the end of the day, the person that enjoys the most support of our party members will emerge and you see the beauty of direct primary.
According to Senator Basiru, party members have taken over the control and they will determine who will be their flagbearers.
He however appealed to whoever loses to accept his faith in the spirit of democracy, unity, cohesion and development of the party by joining hands to ensure the success of the party in the July election.
Another contestant, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti voted in Iwo town which also witnessed large turnout.
He also commended the turnout but warned against rigging by the incumbent governor.
Meanwhile, former governor of the state and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has urged party members to embrace peace and shun acts capable of truncating the process.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Ilesa on Saturday, Aregbesola urged supporters and party loyalists to participate in the exercise without fear of intimidation.
Aregbesola said: “Another electoral cycle has rolled by and we are now in that season again in Osun.
We should thank God for the democratic right to participate in the electoral process of electing our leaders.
“As you all know, this is a two staged process.
The first is intra-party, meaning that our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), will democratically nominate its candidate.
The second stage, inter-party, will take place in a state-wide election sometime in July, God willing.
“For this first stage, I am appealing to all our party members to participate but peacefully in the primary election taking place today.
They should avoid any form of violence, brigandage and disorderliness.
“Our overall objective is to have a transparent, free, fair and peaceful election”.
Aregbesola wished party members a peaceful, free, fair and successful primary election.
Osun State APC Primary election records large turnout of Voters