The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola was at about 1:23 am today declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and returned as the governor-elect of the state.
He scored 255,505 votes to defeat the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, who got 255,023 votes. Oyetola thus won with a margin of 482 votes in a closely fought contest. Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came a distant third with 128,053 votes. The total number of registered voters was 1,678,985 while 775,487 were accredited for the election.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that in the Osun State governorship poll held last Saturday, the INEC returning officer, Professor Adeola Joseph Fuwape, had declared the election inconclusive. Fuwape, who is the vice chancellor of the University of Technology, Akure, said that his decision was based on the nation’s constitution and INEC guidelines.
According to him, the difference between the two leading parties was a mere 353 votes as compared with the 3,498 votes canceled in some polling units as a result of irregularities. He then declared that the INEC would announce a rerun of the election at a later date. INEC later announced that the supplementary election would take place, yesterday. Senator Ademola Adeleke of the PDP had polled 254,698 votes while the APC candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, scored 254,345.
However, the PDP has rejected the result, describing the supplementary election as the most brazen assault on democracy and biggest robbery ever witnessed in the history of the state. It described what happened in the Osun State as a black day for the nation’s democracy, warning that the country was sliding into crisis.
The party called on INEC to immediately cancel the elections in all the units where security agencies seized the Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) of PDP members and where its members were prevented from voting.
The party which described the election as a siege against the Nigerian people added that the election has revealed the rigging template of the APC ahead of 2019 general elections. Addressing a press conference yesterday after an emergency National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Abuja, the national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, expressed concern that the ruling party may not vacate office if it was defeated in the 2019 presidential election.
“We found that Osun is under siege, therefore today is a black day for Nigeria. If you look at what has transpired so far from Ekiti to Osun State, Nigerians are groaning in pains especially the Osun people. The right of the citizens to be able to come out and vote had been trampled upon and the entire state and the wards and units have been seized by the security agencies who are acting on behalf of APC to make sure the election is rigged by all means.
“We are sad that if this is what is going to take place in 2019, then the future of Nigerian democracy is bleak and we are sliding into crisis.”
He urged security chiefs to avoid bias in the discharge of their duties. “Nigeria is a multi-party state, a multi-party nation, but what we have witnessed in Osun shows clearly that APC is not ready for an election and we are afraid that Buhari will not handover if he loses the election next year,” he said.
Secondus challenged INEC to rise above what is happening in Osun and declare PDP candidate immediately as the winner of Osun State governorship election. Also, PDP state chairman, Hon Soji Adagunodo, in a press statement yesterday, accused the ruling APC and security personnel of colluding to commit electoral fraud in the state.
He noted that thousands of eligible voters were chased away from their homes in Orolu, Ife North and Ife South LGAs yesterday morning.
“Scores of our supporters in those local governments were shot and macheted on their way to polling centres and in the full glare of security men. Hundreds of people holding PVCs from other polling units were accredited and allowed to vote in Osogbo and Ife South LGAs. “PDP agent in Olode was axed and abducted at about 7 am today (yesterday). Media men and election observers were denied access in several polling units. By the time access was granted to journalists at about 11 am, ballot boxes had been stuffed by APC agents acting in connivance with INEC officials,” he said.
The opposition party added that it could not accept the result of the election in view of the reported malpractice.
But the APC has replied to the allegation, saying the PDP was merely bemoaning its failure. APC’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, said the PDP was unable to manipulate the result this time around “so they are crying foul.”
“We have always known and have made ourselves clear before the election that the PDP had made elaborate arrangements to rig the election through the manipulation of the card readers and it was this process that made them get the votes allocated to them in the first ballot. “Nobody expected the PDP to even come second. Most people in Osun have the belief that it would be a straight fight between the APC and SDP. But as God would have it, Osun was saved from the vultures.
“We like Osun people to understand that the run-off votes went the way it did because the PDP was unable to manipulate the card readers this time around and, fortunately, the police thwarted their plot of buying and trying to use the PVCs of suspecting voters. That was why some of their leaders were arrested. So the PDP should look for other excuses.
“They attempted to win by fraud, they failed in the first round and eventually lost the rerun election,” he said.
Just like in the earlier poll, yesterday’s election witnessed a high turnout of voters.
Meanwhile, the PDP agent was noticeably missing as rerun election was held in Adereti Village, Ward 7, Unit 12. Ife South local government.
When asked why PDP was missing An INEC official, Ven. Stephen Oyewande, who is deputy director, Voters Education, said he was not in a position to answer the question. However, Lateef Abimbola of All Progressives Congress (APC), Olaiya Yemi of All Peoples Alliance (APA), Rasheed Mojeed of Advance Congress of Democrat (ADC), Adeyemo Gafar of Action Democratic Party (ADP) and Bayo Shittu of Social Democratic Party (SDP) were present at the polling centre.
At Orolu Orolu ward 8 unit 1 at Kajola primary school, voting commenced at about 8:30 am under the watchful eyes of domestic observers and INEC officers. An election observer, Mr. Tomisin Olatoye, told newsmen that the election was peaceful but that the heavy presence of security personnel scared away some voters belonging to a political party. According to him, only one political party was allowed to vote while other parties faced intimidation as security operatives watched.