Chief Olusola Oke
The ‘cold war’ between the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 20 governorship election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continued yesterday, as Oke described the recent reaction by INEC on the election as diversionary and unhelpful.
Oke, while speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Kunle Adebayo, in a statement, said INEC should learn from the victory of the United States President Barrak Obama in a truly free and fair election, whose hallmark was the credibility of the electoral process.
The special adviser berated INEC for allegedly trying to gag a matter, which he said, was already in the domain of public discourse.
“The pains of Ondo INEC now is that the veil is about to be removed while misconducts and institutional demeanours are subjected to popular review. Why is INEC afraid of evidence and experienced based comments on its conduct in the last election? Why is it trying to gag a matter that is already in the domain of public discourse?” the statement claimed.
INEC had in a statement, while reacting to earlier comments by Oke said the PDP candidate was attacking INEC for no just cause.
Specifically, the INEC Director of Legal Services in the state, Mr. Oluwole Uzzi, said Oke’s complaints were “vain and fruitless attempt to denigrate, discredit and belittle the nation’s progress and achievements in its path to free, fair and credible elections and a robust, enduring democracy.”
But, Adebayo said Ondo PDP would relentlessly lead the war against the practice where unscrupulous officials compromise transparency and administer elections with the basest moral conduct and then hide behind the highly encumbering legal tussles where the real criminal minded individuals who compromised the system hide behind institutional defence and get away.
“Free and fair elections are not defined by arbitrary administration of voting procedure, declaration of controversial results, self praise and organised credibility campaign, rather the credibility of an election consists of the sanctity and transparency of the process and procedure of voters registration, voting, counting and collation, all of which INEC inadvertently violated in Ondo State.
“Did INEC hear of its sensitive materials leaking into the hands of ruling party and government before election like the over 200,000 voters cards recovered from an apprehended LP chieftain in the governor’s hometown?” Adebayo stated.
Adebayo said while the American election officials did not neglect to conduct election in any remote part of America, INEC, for inexplicable reason abandoned its sacred duty to conduct election in key wards and units in the state.
“We are sure that no single voter in the American election failed to see his name or found his name cloned on the voters register, unlike here where INEC list suffered the injection of over 150,000 strange and amorphous names? Did voting materials arrived election venue hours after accreditation was over in America as was the case in several places on October 20th?” he asked.
While insisting that shocking revelations would be made when the tribunal begins sitting, Oke’s media adviser criticised INEC for finding credibility for the election with the favourable reports of some elections monitors.