Collation of results is underway after the conclusion of voting in the local government poll in Osun state, South-West Nigeria.
Large turnout and heavy presence of security operatives characterised voting into first-ever local government parliamentary election in the state.
The exercise is the first of its kind since the truncation of the First Republic in 1966 by the military.
Electoral materials and officials of Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) arrived early in most polling centers across the state, with the accreditation and voting taking place simultaneously.
Heavy security presence was witness with police, military personnel, civil defence corps and other para-military officers patrolling the streets to maintain law and order.
Voice of Nigeria reports that 318 councillorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were earlier returned unopposed at the various wards, leaving the electoral umpire to conduct election into only 71 out of 389 wards in the state.
It will be recalled that the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party had earlier withdrawn from the poll, citing legal reasons.
On the eve of the election, 12 political parties also withdrew from participating in the election, leaving only six parties in the contest.
Party chieftain response
The Osun state Commissioner of Finance, Mr Bola Oyebamiji who spoke with journalists in his Ikire town in Irewole Local Government praised the people of the state and OSIEC officials for the peaceful conduct of the election.
He posited that, the fact that many councillorship candidates were returned unopposed was an indication of unity, acceptance of government policies and readiness to move the state forward.
“Today’s peaceful election is an indication of cooperation among the political parties as well as readiness of the people to leave beyond the wastages of the past system.
“Parliamentary system saves cost, and makes the government participatory among people. It will accelerate development and avoid unnecessarily rivalry which hampers development. It will also reduce areas of leakages.
“For instance, if we were to conduct elections into chairmanship offices, it would have sapped both the contestants and drained the purse of the state. But the situation where one of the councillors emerges the Chairman breeds synergy and cooperation, in addition to making the people own the system,” Oyebamiji said.
In the same vein, the Special Adviser on Information and Media, Mr Semiu Okanlawon who cast his vote in Iwo Local Government, Osun West Senatorial District also commended the election and praised the state House of Assembly for its initiative in the adoption of the parliamentary system.
He said, just as many good programmes have been copied from Osun by other states and the federal government, the parliamentary system, will soon become a toast of other states, going by its over-riding advantages and its cost benefits.
Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo