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Voters go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new governor for Nigeria's southwest Osun state, with two Afrobeat stars backing rival candidates, in a final test for next year's presidential elections.
Osun is among eight of Nigeria's 36 states where governorship elections are not being held at the same time as the rest of the country because of legal challenges to previous results.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army commander who came to power in 2015, will step down after the February 2023 vote at the end of eight years in office.
Saturday's ballot in Osun is seen as a battleground for the leading parties to test support for their presidential hopefuls ahead of the February election.
Buhari's ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has chosen former Lagos state governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its presidential flagbearer.
Tinubu, a Muslim from the southwest, faces a tough challenge from the main opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, a northern Muslim.
Another frontrunner is the Labour Party's Peter Obi who has been enjoying growing support among the younger generation in a bid to break the APC and PDP dominance.
Last month, the APC won a governorship vote in nearby Ekiti state with a landslide that confirmed and reinforced Tinubu's strength in the southwest's political landscape.
Among the frontrunners in Osun are incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola of APC, PDP senator Ademola Adeleke, Akin Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party and Labour's Yusuf Lasun.
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Analysts expect the contest to become a two-horse race between old political foes -- APC's Oyetola who is seeking re-election and Adeleke of PDP who narrowly lost with a slim margin -- less than 500 votes -- after a re-run four years ago.
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Oyetola, who enjoys the power of incumbency to boost his chances, has been leveraging on Tinubu's regional popularity to retain the seat for another four years.
"Tinubu's foothold in the entire southwest is formidable. He cannot afford to lose Osun or anywhere in the southwest," said public affairs analyst Dr. Abolaji Odumesi.
He said the APC flagbearer would also want "to prove he is on course to win the presidential vote by adding Osun to his laurels".
Adeleke on the other hand is poised to give the ruling party a challenge.
"My fellow Osun residents, you are the one to decide. It is not by force, not by gimmicks, if it is money, I have brought money and not only naira but dollars, pounds and euro," he boasted at a recent campaign rally.
"This time around, it is fire for fire for the Osun governorship election."
Described locally as a "dancing senator" because of his penchant for partying, Adeleke is an uncle of celebrated Nigerian superstar singer Davido, who joined him on the campaign.
The PDP flagbearer comes from a wealthy political family. His father was a senator in the 1980s while his late brother, Isiaka, was the state governor from 1992 to 1993.
Another brother Deji, is a billionaire oil and shipping mogul and Davido's father.
Davido has been mobilising the youth, including his supporters and fans, for his uncle.
Fellow music star Portable joined rallies for the APC candidate, waving a broomstick, the party's symbol for sweeping away the PDP in its first 2015 presidential victory.
Intra-party wranglings and violence have been reported ahead of Saturday's election.
On Monday, the residence of Lasun, the Labour party candidate, in his Ilobu hometown, was attacked by gunmen but he was not at home.
Nigeria has a history of election malpractice, fraud, vote-buying and violence. In 2011, more than 800 people were killed in post-election violence in the country.
On Wednesday, candidates in the Osun vote were made to sign a peace agreement and police have deployed over 23,000 personnel, helicopters and drones to try to ensure a violence-free election.
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