Nigeria’s main opposition party has won a gubernatorial election in southwest Osun state, the Election Commission said on Sunday, in a major outrage against President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress.
Osun is one of eight of Nigeria’s 36 states not holding a governor’s election like the rest of the country due to legal challenges to past results.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Senator Ademola Edelke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secured 403,371 votes to defeat the incumbent governor of the APC, Goboyega Oyetola, who secured 375,027 points in Saturday’s voting.
“I announce that the PDP’s Ademola Jackson Nurudin Edelke, having met the requirements of the law, has returned elected,” said Oluwatoyin Temitayo Ogundipe, the INEC’s returning officer in the state capital Osogbo.
Adelke, 62, won 17 of the state’s 30 local government areas, while Oyetola won 13.
The announcement was greeted with spontaneous festivities on the streets of the state capital as PDP supporters started singing and dancing. Motorists honked horns on the road.
Election observers said the elections, which started early with a large turnout, were peaceful, but added that vote-buying was rampant.
Of the 15 parties that fought for this seat, only four candidates were leading. They were Oyetola of the APC seeking a second term, Adelke of the PDP, Akin Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party and Yusuf Lasun of the Labor Party.
However, it was a straight race between old political foes Oyetola and Adelke – who had lost by less than 500 votes after a run-off four years earlier.
Described locally as a “dancing senator” because of his fondness for partying, Adelke is the uncle of famed Nigerian superstar singer Davido, who joined him in the campaign.
The flag bearer of the PDP comes from a wealthy political family. His father was a senator in the 1980s, while his late brother Isiaka was the state’s governor from 1992 to 1993.
Another brother, Dezi, is a billionaire oil and shipping mogul and father of Davido.
Davido was in the state to mobilize youth, including his supporters and admirers, for his uncle.
The ballot was seen as a battleground for Nigeria’s major parties to test support for their presidential candidates ahead of the February 2023 election, as Buhari stepped down after eight years in office.
The APC has chosen former state governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its presidential candidate.
The APC’s defeat at Osun is a blow to Tinbu’s regional influence.
Tinubu, a South-West Muslim, is facing a tough challenge from the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar, who is a Northern Muslim.
Another at the fore is Peter Obi of the Labor Party who is enjoying growing support among the younger generation to break the dominance of the APC and the PDP.
Last month, the APC won the governorship vote in the nearby Ekiti state with a landslide.