Internal party crisis and disloyalty cost the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Adegboyega Oyetola, a second term in office, indications emerged yesterday.
Checks by LEADERSHIP revealed that the failure of the APC leadership to reconcile the factions led by Governor Oyetola and that of minister of internal affairs, Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate past governor of the state.
The tussle for leadership of the party between the two camps heightened with the ward, local government and state congresses that held in the state in 2021.
It, however, came to a head during the party’s governorship primary election as the two camps quarreled over the legitimacy of the process which produced Oyetola.
Series of attempts to reconcile the two camps failed to yield results leading to last Saturday’s election.
Recall that Aregbesola neither attended the APC mega campaign nor participated in the election.
A viral video in which he was seen in a foreign restaurant emerged on social media on Saturday just as reports emanated that he was out of the country.
Also, a statement from his media team, signed by Sola Fasure, distanced the minister from the post on his purported Facebook wall which was perceived as mocking the party over the outcome of the polls.
Nevertheless, some APC sympathisers on social media were divided on Aregbesola’s role on the party’s loss.
Olamilekan Emilokan @olamilekan7_ said, “You had a successful two terms as governor of Osun and performed below expectations, that caused the party the great loss in the state. The party also gave you opportunity to serve at the federal level as minister, but you chose to compromise because of your personal ambition.”
Reacting on his twitter account, Sulaimon @adeshtech said “APC well done. Now it’s to blame Aregbe when your candidate cannot perform for 4 years.”
However, an APC chieftain from Edo State, John Mayaki, blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the party’s loss.
He accused the president of negligent management of party activities and ‘suicidal’ tolerance of anti-party activities within the ranks.
In a statement made available to journalists in Benin City, Mayaki, who chaired the Media Council of the Edo APC in the 2020 governorship election, maintained that although the President’s non-interference through the infamous ‘federal might’ represents a good development for the country’s democracy, it still doesn’t excuse the observed “abandonment of his obligations as the leader of the party who ought to be spearheading efforts to unite the ranks, enforce loyalty, and expand political control.”
“The anti-party activities of top-ranking APC members, governors and ministers under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration are to blame for the electoral misfortune of the party in Edo and Osun states.
“Poor reward system of the party and that of the president, if not checked, could impact negatively on the party.
“In Edo State, we have a deformed Assembly lacking the inclusion of the majority because duly elected members are yet to be inaugurated. Mr. President has shown no serious concern about this dangerous development, despite the fact that the affected parties are all members of the party he leads.”
Under President Buhari, APC governors worked against the party in Edo State similar to how figures in his cabinet have been fingered in the loss of Osun state. But Mr. President won’t lift a finger to either reprimand these party saboteurs, instead he signals tolerance that further emboldens them.”
Mayaki also criticized President Buhari’s refusal to sack non-performing members of his cabinet and government who, according to him, have shown themselves incapable of bringing an end to the insecurity that plagues the country.
Jubilations In Osogbo
There were noisy celebrations by residents of Osogbo, the Osun State capital, and other towns following yesterday’s declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, as the winner of the state governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The story was not different as people in Ede, Senator Adeleke’s hometown, moved round the town celebrating their son’s victory at the poll with slogans like “Awa lokan”, “Ede lokan” meaning “it was our turn” – an obvious mockery of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s campaign catchphrase ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu is the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the party defeated at the Osun governorship poll weekend.
The celebrations resulted in gridlock as vehicular movement was brought to a standstill for hours in Ede.
The Osun State Returning Officer, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, had earlier in the day announced the victory of Adeleke on behalf of INEC after the collation of results at INEC’s headquarters.
Meanwhile, Governor-elect Senator Ademola Adeleke, in his acceptance speech after the announcement, appreciated people of the state for electing him as their governor, saying he dedicated the victory to the late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, Osun people and all his supporters and friends.
Two-time Senator Isiaka Adeleke was the first elected governor of the then newly created Osun State in 1992 during the aborted Third Republic and elder brother of the governor-elect. After Senator Isiaka’s death in April 2017, he was replaced in the Senate by Governor-elect Ademola Adeleke.
LEADERSHIP reports that with the current victory of Senator Adeleke, this is the second time in 30 years that the Adeleke Family would be producing the governor of Osun State.
The governor-elect who pledged his commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Osun State pledged to dedicate himself to the service of the state with outmost sincerity.
Meanwhile, the APC candidate and incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola has said the party would be responding appropriately to the election outcome after studying the results and consulting with critical stakeholders.
In a statement issued by his chief press secretary, Ismail Omipidan, Oyetola called on his supporters to remain calm, and the people of the state to go about their businesses without let or hindrance, just as he called on security operatives to ensure maintenance of law and order.
Meanwhile, in his congratulatory message, the Timi of Ede land, Oba (Dr.) Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa 1, described the victory of Adeleke as well deserved.
While admonishing the Ede-born governor-elect to be magnanimous in victory, the monarch called on Senator Adeleke to pay back the people of Osun State who voted massively for him with good governance and dividends of democracy as promised in his electioneering campaign.
Oba Munirudeen INEC, the law enforcement agents, and the press for doing a good job in the election process, saying posterity will reward them.
On his part, a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Omooba Dotun Babayemi, described the victory of the PDP as the dawn of new era for the people of the state who, he said, had been subjected to misgovernance by the APC administration in the last 12 years.
In a statement issued by his media office on yesterday, Babayemi congratulated his party and the people of the state, noting that with the triumph of the PDP at the Saturday’s polls, the people had liberated themselves through their votes.
“I want to implore that we don’t rest on our oars until we take over at the centre by voting in Atiku as president, and our governors as well as lawmakers at federal and state levels.We need these for ease of administration,” he said.
Meanwhile, the report that the PDP returning officer for Irewole local government Bamidele Salam was shot dead has been debunked.
According to him, Salam received bullet wounds and was receiving treatment at an hospital in Ikire.
Victory Signposts PDP’s Return To Villa – Atiku, Ayu, Waziri
Meanwhile, PDP national leaders yesterday said the party’s victory in Osun shows the party’s acceptance and its imminent return to power at the centre.
PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said the election was a referendum on the administration of the APC.
According to him, “It is inconceivable that Nigerians will reward the APC for the failings of the last seven years. And in a state like Osun, for example, it’s been a long time since the people last felt the effect of good governance.
PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, said the party is set to take over the presidency in 2023 following its victory at the Osun governorship election.
Ayu, who stated this while hailing voters in Osun State for voting PDP, said they had spoken clearly through their votes just as he recalled that the APC government in the state did everything to frustrate PDP, including denying them the use of any public facility in the state capital for its mega-rally.
He, however, called on all PDP members and all Nigerians to join the moving PDP train, adding that the party’s next destination is Aso Villa.
He congratulated Adeleke who he ascribed as a tenacious two-time winner as well as the PDP National Campaign Council for the Osun State Governorship Election, headed by Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and the PDP vice presidential candidate and Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, for their tireless work.
He further saluted INEC as well as security agencies for toeing the path of neutrality and ensuring that the votes counted.
Also, the PDP Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, has congratulated the Osun state governor elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke, over his victory at the just concluded Osun governorship election, saying it did not come to him as a surprise.
Walid Jibrin said he had before the election assured the governor-elect of winning the election.
He said: ”I was there at Osun during the last campaign and the number of people that turned out for the rally was unbelievable and I was so sure that the PDP will win Osun state.
Obaseki, Mark, Saraki, Secondus Congratulate Adeleke
Former Senate President of the Senate, Senator David Mark also congratulated Adeleke, describing the victory as a gateway for PDP’s return to power in 2023 at the national level.
Mark in a congratulatory message said Senator Adeleke’s victory is testament to PDP acceptance by the people of Osun State who desire positive change.
He said, “Your perseverance, steadfastness, focus, determination and unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of the citizens of Osun state has paid off. Their votes are investments and trust in you to lead them to the Promised Land.”
The former Senate President told Adeleke to see his victory as a call to higher responsibility, the power to do good and emancipate the people from deprivation, poverty and want.
He praised the people of Osun state for remaining steadfast and believe in the capacity of Adeleke to deliver dividends of democracy to them hoping that the governor- elect will live up to expectation.
Mark praised INEC, the security operatives and the media for the enabling environment that guaranteed free, fair and credible election in Osun state.
He said the PDP victory in Osun state shows that “the PDP is the party of choice and the vehicle to usher in positive changes for Nigeria in 2023″.
On his part, the former PDP national chairman Prince Uche Secondus said the victory is a clear affirmation of the people’s goodwill in appreciation of the efforts of the Adelekes in the development of the state.
Secondus praised the Osun people for standing up for democracy through their avowed determination to ensure that their will and nobody’s else prevailed in the state and for waiting patiently to reclaim their victory after they were robbed four years ago.
“By this brave and courageous act, Osun people have shown their determination to take their collective destiny in their own hands, and for this PDP and all lovers of democracy are proud of them,” he said.
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, also congratulated the PDP candidate, adding that the people had chosen PDP’s values of equity, unity and progress over retrogressive policies that had put them in dire straits for years.
Former President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said that the winner of yesterday’s Osun State gubernatorial election, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, has reclaimed PDP’s stolen mandate.
In a statement released on his social media handles, Saraki emphasized that after the inexplicable loss in 2018, Adeleke demonstrated leadership by working to build stronger coalition across the state and the nation in order to ensure that the PDP remained the most popular party in the state and emerged victorious four years later.
The statement reads: “Make no mistake, this victory was not easily attained. It is the culmination of the sacrifice and hard work of our party leaders, stakeholders, and leaders, who all played specific roles to ensure that this time around our party’s mandate was protected, and our candidate has now emerged victorious.
IGP, PSC Commend Police, Others Over Peaceful Conduct
The inspector-general of police, IGP Usman Baba has commended the security operatives, particularly officers of the Nigeria Police Force, the Military, and other security agencies as well as the electorate in Osun State for the peaceful conduct of the elections on Saturday, July 16, 2022.
Also, the chairman, Police Service Commission, PSC, Musiliu Smith, said the commendable performance of the Police during Osun State governorship election is a signal that future elections in the country will witness good coverage by Police and other security agencies.
He said the police officers deployed for the assignment exhibited a high level of commitment to their duties and were able to restore orderliness in most of the polling Units.
He said despite initial squabbles in few polling units, the Police with the assistance of officers of the Civil Defence, Federal Road Safety Commission and, in some places, the men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Department of State Services (DSS) were able to quickly restore peace and order.
Force PRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the IGP applauded the massive deployment of Police operatives, specialized units and other human and operational assets including three helicopters and a couple of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for aerial surveillance in the three senatorial districts, four adequately manned gunboats for the riverine areas, and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) which enabled swift responses to the pockets of electoral issues.
He equally lauded the collaborative efforts of other security agencies which assisted in the peaceful conduct of the elections.
He similarly assured that the Force was continuously improving on its election security mandate for a top notch 2023 general elections.
CSOs Authenticate INEC Results, Seek Inter-agency Collaboration
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have confirmed the authenticity of the Osun State gubernatorial election results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Also, the CSOs have called for an inter-agency cooperation among government agencies, stating that the election showed lack of cooperation.
A report released by Yiaga Africa Watching The Votes (WTV) signed by Board member, Hussain Abdu and executive director, Samson Itodo, said INEC’s official results announced were consistent with what they monitored.
It said: “On the whole, votes cast for the 2022 Osun state gubernatorial election are consistent with the Yiaga Africa WTV estimated range. Specifically, it falls within the Yiaga Africa’s WTV estimated range. Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the Yiaga Africa WTV estimated ranges.
“Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, candidates, parties, and voters should have confidence the official results for the Osun 2022 gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units on Saturday, July 16, 2022.
On its part, the Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) and the Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC) have raised the alarm over a clear lack of cooperation among government agencies.
From a joint preliminary report signed by the chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, and the Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, the groups said while INEC was striving to enthrone fairness, transparency and credibility in the electoral process, the absence of unity of purpose among agencies was the albatross to achieving this goal.
According to them, it was uncalled for to see some security personnel conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner during the exercise.
HEDA and WARDC commended the efforts of LEAs particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in curbing vote-buying, as the usual ominous vote-buying in public or with reckless abandon was minimised while a number of persons were arrested.
“There was more consciousness on the part of both buyers and sellers of vote, a good precursor to minimising the phenomenon altogether, an indication of successes of the post-election advocacy on the issue since the last general elections in 2019, though party agents were still in few cases caught offering money for votes.
“For instance, there was an incident where the EFCC reportedly went to conduct a search (based on an intelligence gathered) but on getting to the location, the place was fortified with some other LEAs, thereby denying the EFCC access to investigation and arrest of bigwigs involved in the act. Where other LEAs were expected to be cooperating and aiding the fight against vote-buying, they were found instead obstructing or perhaps abetting crime,” report revealed.
Osun: Democracy Has Triumphed Over Violence – Abdulsalami
The Co-chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC) and former Nigeria’s head of state, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar has said that democracy has triumphed over violence in the just concluded gubernatorial election in Osun State.
In a statement he personally signed, Abdullahi, who commended the people of Osun State for speaking, added that the process was a triumph to democracy. “NPC wishes to commend and congratulate the people of Osun State over their peaceful
conduct during the July 16, 2022, governorship election making the following observations.
“While the elections were not devoid of incidents, particularly the scourge that is vote trading, we commend the efforts of all stakeholders who have tirelessly worked either as ombudsmen or observers or participants to ensure that the elections were conducted according to the rules.
“These particularly include INEC and security agencies for facilitating an electoral process, where people were not disenfranchised because of their party affiliation, gender, religious or ethnic affiliations and/or disability. We commend the Media, CSOs, and international development partners for their tireless efforts in monitoring and reporting on the process in a transparent and unbiased manner. Such reportage plays the important role of highlighting success, identifying the gaps which remain and the solutions that begin to address them, ” Abdulsalami said.
The National Peace Committee, which decried the incidences of vote-trading recorded during the elections, added that the criminal offence should not be treated with levity because it threatens the credibility of the process.
He urged the winner, Senator Adeleke to be benevolent in victory.