#OsunDecides2018: How The Rain Saved Osogbo From Burning!
You probably followed the Osun election collation on television and assumed you saw all the drama when mathematical errors started emerging, particularly the 1,000+ votes in Ayedaade Local Government.
Somehow, the PDP supporters who were mostly not party members but concerned Osun people thought the events on TV were signs that they were about to be shortchanged as they were sure that they had successfully elected Senator Ademola Adeleke.
SMS flew across town and the people converged at the office of INEC in Abeere, Osogbo. They sang songs of victory, liberation and praise to God.
There was no way they were going to believe anything different from victory for the Adeleke/Adeogun ticket.
O yes, they knew about the certificate saga but it didn't matter - “We want him like that,” they said. And that he dances? So what? These people love his dance!
I had arrived Osogbo the state capital 24 hours before the election and went to town feeling the pulse of the people. One thing was sure, these people were determined to troop out and vote.
On election day, I was in Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Ikirun, Iragbiji, Osogbo and other smaller towns and villages. The crowd in all these places were unbelievable, even to the locals.
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One statement rang through all the regions, “We are tired, the suffering is too much”. The people had gotten tired of the current administration of Governor Aregbesola but good for them, they were due for a change anyways.
Whatever happens in the end, there would be a change in personnel. If the party would change was another thing you cannot predict in a Nigerian election.
When on Sunday, INEC officials called for a recess and it took almost forever for them to announce the final verdict on the contentious figures they had announced, the people’s emotions became anger.
They became aggressive and policemen had a tough job of keeping them in check without infringing on their rights as citizens. You could tell this was big chaos loading with high speed.
It got worse when some exotic vehicles drove through the Abeere road into town and the people believed these were political thugs being brought in to battle them.
They became supercharged demanding for the election result. Observers and media personnel present had started taking cover. I also quickly hid my phones and other gadgets and walked only behind parked vehicles.
The strongest possibility at that time was that they would dare the policemen and force open the INEC gate. They looked that determined.
But suddenly, the sky dimmed, the clouds gathered, and like one of the old testament Biblical miracles, they gave way to a heavy rain that lasted the whole of one hour.
When the rain falls, some people see it as a sign of an open heaven and like to call it ‘showers of blessing’. For others, it’s about the troubles that come with rainfall; being stranded without shelter or getting a beautiful outfit drenched, and there comes the ojo esin – “rain of shame” context in Yoruba land.
So, I asked the man beside me under our temporary shelter, is this ojo esin or ojo ibukun (rain of blessing) falling on Osogbo town? He replied, “Ojo esin Aregbe ni” (it's Aregbesola's rain of shame). I carefully reserved my comment.
The stormy weather sent a large chunk of the crowd scampering for shelter, some stood still through it all, still singing, while INEC resumed counting during the rain.
By the time the result was announced, the protesters’ number had greatly reduced. Once the REC announced PDP’s 254,698 votes had surpassed APC by 353 votes, PDP supporters went away celebrating.
The part of the result announcement that said the election was inconclusive and that Adeleke was not the winner yet, met them on their way home. I realized that the rain had just saved us from an impending violence.
By the time they regrouped at INEC's office on Monday, they were only armed with "placards with various inscriptions".
Sunday, September 23 would remain one of the moments the idea of “showers of blessing” was literally validated and I witnessed it.
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