Saturday, 2 August 2014

OSUN STATE: Election Security Threat Assessment




Key Risk Factors:
·         Unguarded statements, inflammatory and inciting comments by political gladiators in the state.
·         Any perceived act of prejudice or bias by security agents in favour or against any of the contestants can resort to breakdown of law and order.
·         Late arrival of election personnel and inadequate polling materials
·         Inadequate security personnel at polling units
·         Biased and inaccurate media reportage of events around the election




Key Mitigating Factors:
·         Timely distribution of election materials and personnel by INEC.
·         Enforcement of code of conduct for political parties and readiness to prosecute electoral offenders.
·         Training of DPOs, Area commanders and other security agencies on Election Security Management.
·         Strategic and early deployment of adequate security to identified areas of threat in the state.
·         Adequate sensitization of the electorate on the electoral process and need eschew violence.
 




Introduction
On 9 August 2014, Osun state will head to the polls to elect its governor in what promises to be a keenly contested election. This will be the 10th staggered election since 2011, and the possibly the last one before the 2015 general elections. It will therefore likely evidence the culmination of lessons learnt from previous elections, and gauge preparedness for the forthcoming general election. The stakes are also very high in Osun State. Though candidates of 20 political parties have been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest for the election, it is essentially seen as a race between the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). Coming on the heels of the Ekiti loss by APC to the PDP, the Osun election will be a battle for dominance and supremacy. The APC will be seeking to halt its reversal of fortunes and bolster the confidence of its members nationwide that it is still a force to reckon with, while the PDP will want to assert that its victory in Ekiti was not a fluke but indicative of the wide acceptance of the party. INEC will also be seeking to consolidate on its successful outing during the Ekiti State election.  As always, significant attention will be on security agencies especially with the massive deployment recorded in Ekiti, its attendant challenges, and the likelihood of a repeat in Osun. This edition of CLEEN Foundation’s Election Security Brief (ESB) examines the security threats and mitigating factors as well as recommends measures to prevent electoral violence in the Osun election.

Brief History of Osun State
 Osun State was created from the old Oyo State on August 27, 1991 with Osogbo as its capital. The state is named after the symbolic Osun river that flows through it. The river serves both spiritual and tourist purposes in the state. Yoruba tradition has it that it was in Osun (Ile-Ife) that Olodumare (God) started the creation of the world. Osun is therefore the ancestral home of the Yoruba nation. With a population estimate of 3,423,535 and total land mass of approximately 14,875 sq km, Osun is an agrarian state, located within the tropical rain forest with abundance of resources. It shares boundary with Ogun State to the south, Kwara State to the north, Oyo State to the west and Ekiti and Ondo State to the east. The state has 3 senatorial districts, 9 federal constituencies, 26 State House of Assembly Seats and 30 Local Government Areas. Each Senatorial District has 10 local government areas.

For the 9 August 2014 gubernatorial election, Osun has 1, 407, 222 registered voters (47% Male, 53% Female); 332 Registration Areas (Wards); 3, 010 polling units and 3,379 voting points.

The local government areas are grouped into three senatorial districts:
S/N
Senatorial District
Local government Areas in each district
1.
Osun Central Senatorial District
Boluwaduro, Boripe, Ifedayo, Ifelodun, Ila, Irepodun, Odo-Otin, Olorunda, Orolu, Osogbo
2.
Osun East Senatorial District
Atakunmosa-East, Atakunmosa- West, Ife-Central, Ife-East, Ife-North, Ife-South, Ilesa-East, Ilesa-West, Obokun, Oriade
3.
Osun West Senatorial District
Ayedaade, Ayedire, Ede-North, Ede-South, Egbedore, Ejigbo, Irewole, Isokan, Iwo, Ola-Oluwa

Politics in Osun State
Colonel Leo Segun Ajiborisha was the first Military Administrator of the State and he governed from August 1991 to January 1992 when he handed over to an elected governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke who ruled from 1992 to November 1993. The civilian rule in the state was terminated when Col Anthony Udofia, (Dec 1993 -August 1996), Col Anthony Obi (Aug 1996-Aug 1998) and Col Theophilus Bamgboye (Aug 1998- May 1999) served as Military Administrators respectively.

Chief Bisi Akande was elected as the Governor of the state in 1999 and he served till 2003. Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola took over from Chief Akande and governed from 29th May 2003- 29th May 2007 for the first term. Prince Oyinlola had spent three and a half years out of his second term until he was removed in a landmark judgment on 26th November 2010, by the Court of Appeal, sitting in Ibadan which nullified his election and Engr. Rauf Aregbesola was declared the validly elected Governor in the 14th April, 2007 Gubernatorial Election. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is the present Governor of the State and seeking re-election.

Parties and Candidates in the Gubernatorial Election
Twenty (20) political parties have been cleared to contest and field candidates for the 9 August 2014 gubernatorial election and they include the following:

S/N
Political Party
Candidate
1.        
Action Alliance (AA)
Mr Adeoye Adeyinka
2.        
All Progressive Congress  (APC)
Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola
3.        
Accord Party (AP)
Mr Niyi Owolade
4.        
African Democratic Congress (ADC)
Comrade Ojo Gbenga Gabriel
5.        
African Peoples’ Alliance, (APA)
Mr Agboola Azeez Obasanjo
6.        
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
Mr Akintunde Adebimpe Adetunji
7.        
Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, (ACPN)
Mr Olufemi Adeleke Hammed
8.        
Alliance for Democracy (AD)
Senator Sunday Olawale Fajinmi
9.        
Citizens Popular Party (CPP)
Alhaji Rafiu Shehu Anifowose
10.    
Labour Party (LP)
Mr Akinbade Fatai Akinade
11.    
Mega Progressive Peoples Party, (MPPP)
Chief Babatunde Adetoro
12.    
National Conscience Party, (NCP)
Mr Afolayanka Olanrewaju Jimoh
13.    
New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP)
Prince Adefare Segun Adegoke
14.    
Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM)
Mr. Oludare Timothy Akinola
15.    
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Senator Iyiola Omisore
16.    
Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA)
Mr Ganiyu Abiodun Lawal
17.    
Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Mr Akinwusi Olusegun
18.    
United Democratic Party, (UDP)
Mr Funso Toyin Bunmi
19.    
Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN)
Mr Adeoti Ibrahim Abiodun
20.    
United Progressive Party (UPP)
Prince Victor Olusegun Adeniyi

Regardless of the numbers of parties and candidates, the real contest is expected to be between APC and PDP.

APC candidate: Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola
Engineer Rauf Aregbesola,  born 25 May 1957, fondly refered to as Ogbeni is a Nigerian politician who ran for governor of Osun State in the 2007 elections. Although the People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Olagunsoye Oyinlola was declared the winner, Aregbesola appealed the decision and on 26 November 2010 was declared the winner. Aregbesola was Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure between 1999 and 2007 before contesting for the Osun state governorship seat in April 2007 on the Action Congress platform. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, was on Saturday 12th of April 2014 endorsed as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the state’s gubernatorial election slated for the 9th of August 2014 were he will be seeking to be re-elected.


PDP Candidate: Senator Iyiola Omisore
Senator Iyiola Ajani Omisore is also an Engineer and a frontline Nigerian Politician. Fondly
referred to as ‘Otunba’ or ‘Apesin’ by his friends, professional colleagues and political associates, he served as the second elected Deputy Governor of Osun State, Nigeria from 1999 to December 2002 (when he was impeached) on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy. He was elected a member of the Nigerian Senate representing Osun East district from 2003 -2011 on the platform of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). He is the top contender for the Osun state government house in the 9 August 2014 election.

Synthesis of Security Threats
The following are the key threats to security in the Osun State gubernatorial election:

·         Unguarded statements, hate speeches, inflammatory and inciting comments by political gladiators in the state

·         Any perceived act of prejudice or bias by security agents in favour or against any of the contestants can resort to breakdown of law and order. Unwarranted clampdown on opposition leaders as alleged in Ekiti State and overzealousness on the part of the security agents can be counter-productive as the people may resist any act of molestation or harassment.

·         Arrival of election personnel and inadequate polling materials: INEC got this right in Ekiti and this significantly contributed to the overall success of the election. A repeat performance will be needed in Osun.

·         Inability of some voters to collect their Permanent Voters Cards or to find their names on the Voters Register may cause some challenges at polling units.

·         A number of clashes have been reported to have taken place among the supporters of APC and PDP in some parts of the state. There were allegations of the supporters of these parties trying to outdo each other. These have led to injuries and destruction of properties.

·         Vote-buying as is currently being alleged is an incentive to violence and a great risk factor.

·         Inadequate security personnel at polling units may lead to disorderliness which some undesirable elements may want to take advantage of to perpetrate electoral fraud and violence.

·         Bias and inaccurate media reportage can be a serious risk factor; sensational news and integrity deficit reportage will harm the electoral process and can cause mayhem.

Potential Flash Points
The likely hotbed of political crisis in Osun State that need to be kept under close security observation before, during and after the August 9 polls include:  Ile-Ife the hometown of the PDP candidate, Ilesa the hometown of the APC candidate, Ila-Orangun the hometown of APC chieftain and former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande. Other areas include Iwo, Ikirun, Osogbo and  Ede the hometown of another APC chieftain and former governor of Osun State, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, where the  PDP candidate’s running mate, Hon. Adejare Bello also hails from. 

Mitigation factors
The following are mitigation factors that may dilute the potency of the threats analysed above:

·         As with the Ekiti gubernatorial election of June 21, INEC must consolidate on its logistic success and even improve on it. There must be no delay in commencement of election while adequate sensitive and non-sensitive election materials must be provided.

·         Confidence of the public must be built on the neutrality and professionalism of security agencies. Importantly, the Police and other security agencies must ensure 100% neutrality during the elections.

·         INEC will do well to sustain its current sensitisation programme in the mass media and ensure that all eligible voters who come forward to collect their PVCs are given.

·         National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as the government regulatory agency for broadcast media in Nigeria and the Nigerian Press Council must work together to enforce broadcasting codes and code of conduct for journalists. They must ensure equal media access for all political parties and candidates and censor any breach of the journalist code of ethics.

·         INEC and ICCES must ensure timely and adequate deployment of security officers to all of the Polling Units in Osun State in order to bolster people’s confidence to go out and vote as well as promote law and order.

·         Lastly, INEC and security agencies must send a clear and strong signal that they will not condone electoral malfeasance and that offenders will be duly prosecuted.

Conclusion and Recommendations
There is no gainsaying the fact that the stakes are high for both the PDP and APC in the August 9, 2014 gubernatorial election in Osun State. Be that as it may, all the actors and stakeholders must work together to ensure a successful election. Each must discharge its duties with high sense of integrity. INEC alone cannot guarantee credible or violence free election neither can the security agencies alone do it. All hands must be on deck and all stakeholders must work robustly and collaboratively together to take Nigeria’s electoral democracy to the next level. The following key recommendations are therefore put forward:

·         INEC should create a level playing field for all the 20 political parties and their flag bearers in the Osun 2014 gubernatorial election. No political party should have its name and logo missing on the ballot paper and INEC must follow through on all the promises it made to the stakeholders ahead of the poll. There should be adequate supply of election materials and poll officials must be adequately trained and made to arrive their duty post on time.

·         Security agencies must also treat all the contesting parties and candidates equally. They must all be offered protection and their supporters evenly treated. Police and their sister security organisations should not be used by the federal government to achieve a pre-determined political end. The law enforcement agents should be at their professional best before, during and after the forthcoming poll. Police authorities must ensure adequate welfare of its officers and men being deployed for election duty. Their allowances should be paid upfront so that they are not made susceptible to political influence.

·         Political parties and their candidates must learn to obey electoral rules and procedures. They must desist from using thugs to settle political scores and must be civil and cultured in their inter-personal and inter-party relations. They should embrace peace and play issue-based politics rather than using uncouth language and engage in character assassination. They should imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and realise that even if the outcome of the poll does not favour them now, it may in future elections. More so, they have opportunity of seeking legal redress at the election petition tribunal should they be aggrieved.

·         Electorates must be educated to understand that mandate protection is not tantamount to bloodletting. They must resist to be induced to act in a way that is inimical to national or state interest.

·         Nigerian media, especially those operating in Osun State must engage in responsible, non-sensational and issue based reporting otherwise they risk sanction from their regulatory bodies as well as the law enforcement agents.

·         The judiciary as the last hope of the common man must   treat each matter brought before it on its merits and not on technicalities. They must not only give judgment but should dispense justice. This should be done in a timely manner as justice delayed is justice denied. This will build people’s confidence in the judicial system and prevent the aggrieved from resorting to self-help.

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