Ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial election in Osun State, the two top contenders in the political duel, Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have both declared that they are the candidates to beat in the contest.
Adeleke, who requested that incumbents and candidates who sponsored and promoted violence and rigging should be blacklisted, also promised that he was committed to a violence-free campaign and free and fair election.
Both guber candidates bared their minds as they played host on Wednesday separately to a delegation of the Government of the United States of America, led by US Embassy Political and Economic Chief, Brandon Hudspeth.
While boasting that the APC remained the party to defeat as it prepares for the guber contest, Oyetola promised the US government delegation that the State is looking forward to a credible election.
On his part, the PDP guber candidate, Adeleke revealed that his earlier request was borne out of a desire to save democracy from those who are afraid of the ballot box.
Recalling how he was allegedly rigged out in the 2018 Osun guber election, Adeleke maintained that he will not allow history to repeat itself.
“The major threat to survival of democracy in Africa and Nigeria in particular are election rigging and political violence. The electoral process is under threat from merchants of violence and election riggers. They are scared of people’s voices, so they invest only in violence and manipulation. The international community must ensure there is consequence to deter these threats to democracy.
“Our people are determined to restore the 2018 stolen mandate. This time around, our margin of victory will be so strong that election riggers will fail in their evil plans. What we advocate and seek support for is free and fair elections,” he said.
Brandon Hudspeth, on his part, stated that the US government is ready to partner with the Osun Government to deliver credible elections during the July 16, 2022 guber poll.
While disclosing that they would be meeting election stakeholders in the State ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial poll, Hudspeth explained that, “The reason we are here is because of the forthcoming election in Osun State in July, this year.
“We hope that the election will be free and credible, because there are expectations within and outside this country over the forthcoming election in this State.
“Our expectation is that the election should be fair and credible. We partner with Nigeria to ensure free and credible elections. We are meeting with you as the first citizen of the State and our officials will also meet security officials, civil societies and other stakeholders. We will be in the State for the next couple of months and we are ready to work with you for a free and credible election in 2022 in this State.”