by Cheta Nwanze
The people of Osun state have spoken, and they have elected Rauf Aregbesola for a second term as state governor. Congratulations must be extended to them by all and sundry without reservations. However, there are other parties in the just completed state elections that deserve our congratulations, and they must be mentioned and thanked.
Getting into town
I arrived Osogbo three days before the elections and made my way straight to the INEC Headquarters along Gbongan Road. The mood there was preparatory and security was high. I submitted my letter of introduction and was told to return the next day for my identity pass. Following that stop, the next part of the mission was finding a hotel, and this proved tough. Osogbo, the Osun state capital, is a small, but evidently growing city. There are hotels, but for an event of this proportion, the existing hotel accommodation was barely adequate for the mass of outsiders that descended on the town. I was eventually able to find a hotel, at the other end of Osogbo. Hotel Bafoo would in a way live up to its tag, “Paradise on Earth”. There was wi-fi, which worked only when it could be bothered. There was hot water.
The next day was spent largely talking to the common man. One of the lessons I have learned in my experience of covering elections is that to know how the elections will go, if free and fair, to speak not with politicians and their agents, but with the man on the street. At petrol stations where I stopped, at markets, in front of a bank, and at eateries, the choice of the people, in Osogbo at least, was quite clear – Rauf Aregbesola.