By Sulaimon Sheriff

PDP should be ready for a good fight – opposition

Over 4,900 candidates are set to vie for 33 chairmanship and 351 councillorship seats in the forthcoming local government election in Oyo State.

A total of 19 political parties are to participate in the election scheduled for April 27 with parties like the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Labour Party (LP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) having candidates spread across all local government areas.

Chairman, Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), Mr Isiaka Olagunju made this known in a conversation with the Tribune Online, following the completion of the screening of the list of candidates.

Asked about petitions received by the commission thus far, Olagunju said it had received two petitions challenging the certificates of some candidates.

Meanwhile, the 19 parties contesting the election are upbeat about the chances of their candidates, with parties like Boot Party (BP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) stating that they fielded candidates only in where they consider their strong areas.

While the major opposition, the APC said it was going to put up a great fight against the PDP, the ruling party in the state said it was so popular that it would defeat even a coalition of the APC and other opposition parties.

Publicity Secretary, Oyo APC, Mr Olawale Sadare said it was contesting to change the status of the ruling party sweeping local government elections because of its concern to rescue to local government system in the state, which it said had been bastardised by the PDP-led government in the state.

Sadare said: “This is the first time a major opposition party will participate in a local government election. Since we started this democratic dispensation since 1999, it has always been a one-sided thing, the major political party never participated.

“We are changing the status quo. We want to work for the people. It won’t be business as usual. PDP should be ready for a good fight. Their plan is to completely annihilate the third tier of government and we will not allow that to happen.

We want to revamp and resuscitate the local government system in the state which has been bastardised by the current administration. We want to give people a choice to rescue the local government system in the state.”

But, the PDP, through its publicity secretary, Mr Micheal Ogunsina expressed confidence that the election would be an easy ride for the PDP, saying it would defeat even a coalition of APC and other opposition parties.

He hinged his confidence on what he described as the love and popularity of Governor Seyi Makinde in Oyo State, adding that just like the PDP was massively supported in the governorship election, it would also get massive votes of Oyo people in the forthcoming local government election.

Ogunsina said: “I really think it will be an easy ride for the PDP. I don’t think the participation of the opposition parties will change anything. I don’t think they are that popular. I know they are not that interesting to the people of Oyo State.

“PDP is the party to beat in Oyo State. If all the opposition come together to form a coalition against us in the forthcoming local government election, they will be defeated. We are that popular.

“The PDP in Oyo State is Seyi Makinde’s party. Seyi Makinde is the governor loved by the people and they will be willing to ensure that their representatives at the local government level are in sync with the state government. There is nothing to be scared of.”