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#OsunDecides2022: The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Within Ayedire

Observer’s Diary


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step; Ekiti’s gubernatorial election indeed was my first step in this journey.  


“Ekiti state election was peaceful. Definitely, Osun state will be peaceful,” that was the particular clause I used in consoling myself whenever the need arises. 


On Thursday, 14th of July 2022, I woke up with a bright smile, looking forward to spending the next three nights in Osun state. My expectation was huge, Osogbo undoubtedly met my expectation, and I did appreciate the environment.


Alone But Ready


On Friday before breakfast, I was patiently expecting another Sunday in my life. Sunday was my partner during the Ekiti gubernatorial election, but it’s quite unfortunate I didn’t have any Sunday this time around.  


I was deployed to AYEDIRE LGA as a certified loner. Upon hearing my name, I lost appetite. At that time, I was trying to figure out how I would locate my so-called local government area. 


As if locating the LGA wasn’t enough reason to think, I had thoughts of spending close to 36 hours in an unfamiliar town unaccompanied.


Reality dawned on me when I got to OKEFIA (car park), and I had to board a bus heading to IWO. I had no one to converse with. It was such a boring trip. To avoid the stress of shouting on the bus, I decided to sit in the front beside the driver. That way, I was able to explain my condition to the driver without difficulty. 


At 10mins intervals, I had to remind the driver I’m alighting at the junction where I will get a direct bike to ILEOGBO. Ileogbo is the headquarters of Aiyedire Local Government in Osun State, and it is situated midway between Ibadan and Osogbo, the capitals of Oyo and Osun State. 


Since I was having difficulties pronouncing “Ileogbo”,  I had to enjoy a brief chat with Mr Sunday Abiodun, an NSCDC officer heading towards IWO, “Ileogbo means the land of the old”, he said. 


I got a bike to drop me at the LGA INEC office, after which I did a pre-election observation. At the front of the Ayedire Secretariat, I sat on a brick to converse with myself. Then I knew I was left with my instinct to keep my company. 


Trying to sort my accommodation, I visited four different hotels until I found myself at the 5th hotel, CETAMEV hotel. The best phrase that suits this hotel is “when there is life, there is hope.”


Sweet July 16 


Subsequently battling the scourge of mosquitoes that surrounded my room, my big mum called. Yeah, she did pray, and the prayer was long-winded because it was my 6th year without a mother.  


After dropping the call, to avoid distractions I blacklisted some of my contacts. Then I heard a knock on my door. It was my bike man, Mr Opeyemi (I called him ‘Egbon’). I requested five minutes to get my backpack and lock the door. 


Outside was bright, and I couldn’t judge if people of Ileogbo would come out en masse to participate in the political exercise. Why? At 7;30am, most shops were open, so I asked Egbon if today was market day or election day. 


“You see, we need to survive. We are living on our daily income. It’s only the blessed one that won’t open his/her shop today because of the election,” he said.


I agreed that Ayedire would be a peaceful domain because the audacity of these business people was huge.  


The first four polling units we stopped by were prepared for the task ahead. The PO had pasted the list of the registered voters waiting patiently for the start time. 


I got to ward 06 PU002 at exactly 8:25 am. I told my bike man we’ll wait to see the first person cast his/her vote. Then I got an alarming call from my big mum. She was being careful of her words when I told her I was on the field. I became restless and had to call my cousin. “Grandpa is dead”, he said. 


I messaged my sister to confirm what I heard. “Grandpa had gone to meet his daughter this morning”, she said. While trying to put my small phone inside my backpack, I discovered the APO was addressing the voters. I moved close and noticed she was sharing a small piece of paper with numbers with the voters. 


“We won’t be using the numbers you (voters) saw on the pasted list but the numbers I am giving you”, she said. After reporting the scenario and witnessing the first person cast his vote, we left the PU for other polling units within ILEOGBO. 


Inter-Ward Fears 


After a 30 mins ride, we arrived at KUTA. I had goosebumps already, a shred of evidence that my bike man rode fast.  I was scared at first until my bike man said people didn’t go to the farm today, that’s why we didn’t meet anyone on my way.  


From KUTA to OLUPONNA was another journey. We had gone through IWO, passed the front of BOWEN University, and crossed a river before we got to OLUPONNA.


I thought the trip to Oke-Osun would be like any other. Fortunately, we climbed railways and mountains, the road was bad. At some point, I had to tell egbon I would come down and trek forward. Oke-Osun did me a strong thing, the distance between each polling unit is lengthy. 


Moving from Oke-Osun to Ileogbo, I literally prayed all through the journey.  I can count how many people we saw on our way. Trees and rivers were our companions for 40mins before we saw a bike heading towards the express that linked the towns. 


Luther King’s College 

Unlike Ekiti state, a classroom was used for the LGA collation centre. I got to Luther King’s College at 5:16 pm. There was a polling unit on one side, and on the other side was ward 05 collation centre.  


It took the INEC officials two good hours to select a classroom and set up the LGA collation centre. Finally, the collation of Ayedire LGA results began at 7:30 pm.  


I must commend INEC for the implementation of Google Sheets; it made the work fast and easier.  We had a peaceful time trying to collate the results of the ward. People of Ayedire came out en masse, sixty out of a hundred came out to cast their votes, and that’s encouraging. I hope they will do better in the general election next year.


DISCLAIMER: This story has been published on Campus Reporter with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.

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