The politicking started some weeks to the semester 2 of DESPLAY Africa Season 6 with a SMS from Dr. Ozuzu Promise declaring his intention to vie for the office of president of DESPLAY Republic. Thereafter came from Hon Popoola Isiaka in an online discussion with DESPLAYer, declaring his intention to vie for the office of President of DESPLAY. Before the arrival of the participants to the republic, SMS to intimate, prepare and welcome DESPLAYers to the republic were sent by Hon. Popoola.
At the republic, on day 2, Chikeze Davingson showed his interest to also vie for President of DESPLAY. Meanwhile, Mr. Ozuzu promise was yet to arrive at the republic when Davingson expressed his interest of running for the esteem office.
The polity got heated on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, when the organizer announced the composition of DESNEC i.e. Desplay National Electoral Commission headed by Mr. Sola Fagorusi (AKA Prof Jega) to the whole house. The composition of DESNEC included Mr. Sola Fagorusi as the head, Mr. Obinna Udenwa as Deputy, Mr. Ogaga Maxwell as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. James Adole as Secretary and Mr. Benjamin Emeka a Member. Mr. Obinna Udenwa was later relieved of his appointment having observed his role of partisanship.
The DESNEC gave the guidelines for the election and the electoral laws were read to the members of the republic. Parties were formed and the parties existing were Young African Democrats Party (YADP)
and Democratic Front Party (DFP). Political activities began in earnest with aspirants lobbying and canvassing for votes from the citizens of DESPLAY Republic. YADP had a closed door meeting with some influential members of the party so as to constitute party executive and prepare its manifesto. Meanwhile, DFP was yet to come up with either manifesto or party executives.
Dr. Ozuzu Promise arrived to the republic late in the night of Wednesday and there was political tension in the republic having re-affirmed his interest to vying for president of DESPLAY Republic. He held caucus meetings with the members of DFP and later resolved to step down for Chikeze Davingson due to the fact that Chikeze has already been on ground. The alliance resulted to the formation of a new party known as Blue Ocean Democratic Party (BODP). Chikezie Davingson became the Presidential flag
bearer while Dr. Ozuzu Promise was appointed as the Party Chairman, both of the BODP. Young African Democrats Party (YADP) had Joseph Anosike as the party Chairman and Hon. Popoola Isiaka as the presidential flag bearer.
The time for Presidential Debate was announced and the procedures for registration of political parties were given and independent candidacy was also encouraged. The temperature of the political
atmosphere increased when the hint got to other DESPLAYers that Iklimatu Rasheed, the Pride of African lady, was instigated to run for the office of President. The news posed a great threat to other contestants because she stood the chance of winning, if she eventually contested. A chat with Iklimat revealed that she would not be able to cope with the task and as such she was not contesting and will not openly support anyone of the candidates.
At the Presidential Debate, it was obvious that Hon. Popoola stood a chance of winning the presidential race, going by his well articulated presentations of his manifesto and charismatic ways of responding to the questions he was asked to answer. After the presidential debate, there was an increase in the campaign with series of SMS by the political party and even political adverts on the media in which DESPLAYers applauded.
Before the election commenced, there was an observation of partisan politics which might jeopardize the effort of one of the aspirants and the view was corrected immediately by the DESNEC. The
election was concluded in a peaceful atmosphere with the voters abiding by the rules and regulations. After all the eligible voters had voted for the viable candidates of their choices, the counting showed a tied vote of 11 to each political party. In the words of Popoola, “my temperature increased and I was
afraid because I had thought I would have won landslide.” When Ozuzu was contacted, he said, “I never expected such tied votes but only wanted to show Popoola that victory cannot be gotten on a platter of Gold.”
The DESNEC chairman proposed that two former DESPLAY Presidents and the two DESPLAYers serving as non partisan members of DESNEC to vote for the second round which was agreed to by the Chairmen of both parties. The counting again ended with a tied vote. At this time, the atmosphere was heated up and the tensions in the republic were higher than the former. Election observers then proposed
to the DESNEC that the aspirants should be asked to leave the voting vicinity. The DESNEC Chairman accepted the proposal and that the aspirants should use two minutes each to convince the voters why they should be voted for. The aspirants once again addressed the DESPLAYers on why they were best candidates and thereafter left the voting arena.
For the third round, the DESNEC chairman also proposed that the political parties should produce 3 members each and that a former DESPLAY President should join them to make 7. BODP produce 3 members of the party which included the party chairman and YADP also produced 3 members of the party as well. The seven of them voted and after the counting, YADP won the election with 4 to 3 votes, after which there was jubilation in the house.
Due to the fact that YADP was the largest party in term of membership strength, Popoola would have won the election landslide, if not for the ethnicity and partisan politics that played major roles before and during the election. An undisclosed source told us that a party chairman voted for the opposition party, based on tribal sentiments, during the first round. Popoola was issued Certificate of Return by the DESNEC Chairman during the social night after which we popped Champagne and cut cake to mark the end of the semester. The election stands as the most keenly contested election in the life history of DESPLAY Africa.
Hon Popoola Isiaka Olamilekan (AKA Hon PIO) was a former Deputy Speaker of Students’ Union Government (SUG); one time legislative intern at the Osun State House of Assembly; currently an Honourable member representing Osun Central Senatorial District at the Nigerian Youth Parliament and; also a powerful member of the House Committee on International Relations and Conflict Resolution. Chikezie Davingson Camilous is currently a student of University of Nigeria, Nnsuka and a strong member to Ugreen Foundation.
African Resourceful Leaders Foundation