By Ismaeel Uthman
THE race for the 2022 Governorship Elections in the State of Osun has begun.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released timetable for the elections.
According to the timetable, INEC will issue Notice of Election on February 15, followed by collection of Form EC9 (formerly CF001) and EC9B (formerly CF002) for the election by political parties on February 16, 2022.
Also, the timetable indicates that between February 16 and March 12, 2022, political parties are to conduct their primaries and resolve disputes that may arise from them.
Public campaigning will take place between April 17 and July 14, while the elections will be held on July 16, 2022, according to INEC.
Speaking on the timetable, the Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the state, Mr. Sola Oladeinde, said INEC had given enough time for the preparations to the 2022 Governorship Elections.
Oladeinde stated this just as he said the SDP might present its governorship candidate in the election.
He said: “Our door is widely open; people are free to join the SDP and they are always welcome. We want to give room for people to ventilate their aspirations. We want people to contest every political office.
“Governor Oyetola’s attitude and relationship with us will determine whether we will work together or we are going to have our own candidate. On the continuation of our coalition, members of the SDP that love APC have gone to join the party; those who do not like APC are still with me. And more people are joining us every day. We cannot say that we will not present candidate for the Governorship Elections.
“We are looking forward to have a credible candidate because SDP is the only existing progressive party in Nigeria now. Those APC calling themselves progressives are not; because APC is a mixture of conservatives and progressives. We are trying to resuscitate the SDP.
“We are working towards having credible candidate for the Osun Governorship Elections in 2022.”
Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr. Sunday Bisi, said the party had been preparing for the Governorship Elections before the release of the timetable by INEC.
Bisi said PDP would win the 2022 Governorship Elections with over 150, 000 votes, declaring that there is not going to be room for inconclusive election again.
He said: “We are set for the election. We even want the date to be closer than that. We are prepared for the election and that is why you see us embarking on tours across the local governments in the state.
“We have been encouraging eligible voters to go out for the Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise. We have been telling people that are and above 18 years old, those who have misplaced their PVCs and those whose PVCs have got damaged and others to register during the CVR exercise. We are making adequate preparations for it.
“Our party primaries are coming. INEC has given us guidelines and we will follow them. We are set for the primaries and it is going to be hitch-free. We are not banning any member of the PDP from contesting the party’s ticket. Those who are interested to contest should come out and contest.
“We are sure and confident of victory in the 2022 Governorship Elections. There is nothing like inconclusive election this time around, we are going to defeat APC with over 150, 000 votes.”
However, the All Progressives Congress in the state said it has nothing to fear on the 2022 Governorship Elections, maintaining that it will coast to victory.
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Wole Adunola, in an interview with Bioreports said: “Our party is today unarguably the most formidable political party in Nigeria. This is evident from the gales of defections from different political parties particularly our main rival, the PDP.
“You will notice that these defections into APC are not restricted to other states of the federation alone, we are having our share in Osun.
“We have maintained and consolidated on the coalition we formed during the 2018 Gubernatorial Elections, led by one of the most formidable, heavyweights, and experienced politicians in Osun, Otunba Christopher Iyiola Omosore.
“By the laudable achievements of Governor Adeboyega Oyetola in many sectors, we have earned the trust of Otunba Omisore and thousands of his followers across the state; they have all formalised their membership as APC members.
“Alhaji Adeoti, our former SSG who defected on the eve of the 2018 Gubernatorial Elections and ran on the platform of ADP is back, including thousands of his supporters. Just last week, we received influential members of the opposition parties in Edeland.
“The essence of this background is to tell you that we have continued to build a formidable platform for any electoral challenge in the state. Politics is a game of number and if the election is held today, as a party, we are confident of victory.
“I want to tell you that as progressives, we are much disciplined. I am confident that at the appropriate time, all the perceived internal wrangling in our party shall be resolved and we will work in unison to protect our party and government. I want to tell you that nothing will affect our electoral victory come 2022.
“We are confident of victory. With the sterling performance of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola across all levels, nothing will affect our victory.”