The has just concluded Osun State The gubernatorial election offered a first indication of positive possibilities in the 2023 general election.
Since 2019, voter turnout across the country has been below 38%, but Osun’s off-season election saw a turnout of 42.37%, raising hopes for better turnout. ahead of the 2023 elections. Analysts say improving the credibility of the electoral process encourages voters to participate.
The election, however, was marred by buying votesan obscene phenomenon that has spread during Nigeria’s elections, despite countermeasures such as the deployment of anti-corruption officials at polling stations and bans on the use of mobile phones in voting booths.
A total of 15 political parties participated in the election. Following the vote, the INEC returning officer for Osun, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, declared Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the election.
Mr Adeleke garnered 403,371 votes (51.8%) to defeat his closest challenger, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who won 375,027 votes (48.2%).
Besides winning the total majority vote, the PDP also won in 17 of Osun’s 30 local governments while the APC won in 13.
The INEC indicates that 827,218 voters were accredited out of 1,952,387 registered voters for the election. Approximately 99% (or 823,124) of eligible voters were able to vote, of which 804,450 votes were valid and 18,674 votes were rejected.
This means that more than 40% of registered voters in the state voted in the election. Simply put, four in 10 eligible voters in the state’s 30 local government areas, made up of 332 wards and 3,763 polling places, cast their ballots Saturday.
Turnout was 42.37%, down from 45.7% in the last 2018 gubernatorial election in the state, but higher than previous election statistics across the country since 2019.
Additionally, while voter turnout was lower in percentage terms than in 2018, the actual number of voters was higher in 2022 by more than 50,000 votes.
“It stands to reason that votes are starting to count in today’s Nigeria,” wrote Dakuku Peterside, a political and leadership expert. “The call for voters to get their PVC is on point, and people would be more likely to vote now, knowing their choices matter.”
“We hope this will make the leaders who come out of this process accountable to the electorate. This marks the beginning of true democracy in Nigeria – the supremacy and power of the people through the ballot,” Mr Peterside said. wrote in an article published by PREMIUM TIMES.
Osun Election Model
Osun’s gubernatorial election is an out-of-cycle election following post-election litigation stemming from the widely condemned 2007 election. That 2007 gubernatorial election was overturned by a ruling by the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, which saw Rauf Aregbesola declared the legitimate winner of the election after a three-year legal battle.
July 16 was the sixth election to be held, with Governor-elect Adeleke the fifth to win the ballot – Bisi Akande (1999-2003); Olagunsoye Oyinlola (2003-2010); Rauf Aregbesola (2010-2018); Gboyega Oyetola (2018 – 2022) – at 23 years old.
Data shows a continued increase in the number of registered voters, but voter turnout (in percent)
continued to decline in the Osun elections, dropping from 58.6% in 2003 to 53.1% in 2014, before dropping to 45.7% in 2018.
The number fell further in Saturday’s election as just 42.37% of registered voters cast their ballots, INEC data shows. show.
Not unique to Osun
Although Osun’s recent election had the lowest voter turnout in the state since 2003, the numbers are even more impressive compared to other elections.
In the past two election cycles, including off-season elections, the average turnout across the country has been below 38 percent, according to official INEC figures.
For example, the election of the Governor of Ekiti last month checked in a participation rate of 36.74%.
Before then, the Anambra election in November 2021 recorded a historically low. Only 10% of the inhabitants vote in the election that brought Governor Charles Soludo to power.
A the previous year, only 25% of eligible voters vote in the Edo gubernatorial election, while in Ondo only 32.8% vote.
Some recent by-elections recorded as weak like 3 and 8 percent turnout.
Since 1999, Nigerians’ aversion to voting in elections has grown well documented. And this, despite the huge sums of money spent by the government.
The 1999 general election had a turnout of 52%, but that figure rose to 69% in the 2003 elections, according to data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) show.
After the 2003 presidential election, turnout in subsequent elections dropped significantly, first to 57% in 2007, to 54% in 2011, before dropping to 44%. in 2015.
Only 34.75% of eligible Nigerians cast ballots in the 2019 presidential election, according to INEC data.
According according to a PREMIUM TIMES analysis, the figures closest to this low participation rate in 2019 were recorded during the first three presidential electionss: 35.25% in 197938.94% in 1983and 36.65 percent in the 1993 election, which was eventually canceled.
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