•Poll peaceful, turnout massive
•Ambode, Ganduje, Amosu, Ajimobi, El-Rufai observe vote
•EU observers commend process
•INEC warns against publication of false results
NseobongOkon-Ekong, YinkaKolawole and Segun James
After a largely peaceful governorship poll Saturday in Osun State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commenced the announcement of the results about 4 am today. The results so far declared showed that the two main candidates, Senator Ademola Adeleke of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of All Progressives Congress (APC) were neck and neck, with APC winning in 13 local government, and PDP having 12 local government areas, and Social Democratic Party (SDP) winning one local government. But PDP led in the popular vote tally by about 15, 000 votes as at the time of going to press.
APC had 209,354 votes and PDP scored 224,443 votes. SDP scored 92,467 votes.
The knife-edge vote was very close between Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC and Senator AdemolaAdeleke of PDP. Besides the two candidates, Senator Iyiola Omisore of the SDP was the only one – out of a total of 48 on the ballot – that won in a local government area.
Initial results from the homesteads of the three leading candidates in the Osun State governorship election, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), confirmed earlier predictions that they will do well in their spheres of influence.
At Unit 2 Ward 8 in Sagba/Abegunde, where Adeleke voted, the PDP candidate won with 154 votes. Oyeleke scored 35 votes, while Omisore recorded two votes.
At Omisore’s Moore Ward 1 Unit 3, the SDP candidate scored 178 votes to beat Oyeleke to the second place with 37 votes. Nine votes were recorded by Adeleke.
Results from Oyetola’s polling unit, Unit 2, Ward 1, LA Primary School, Popo, Iragbiji, showed that the APC flag bearer won with 451 votes, while Adeleke scored 134, votes. The Action Democratic Party (ADP) candidate, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, had 25, votes, while Omisore scored six votes.
The governorship poll, which had 48 candidates on the ballot, was largely adjudged as peaceful. But not all the candidates participated. Voters turned out early and in large numbers all over the 30 local government areas of the state. Voting materials arrived early and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were at their duty posts on time.
Adeleke was one of the early voters, performing his civic function at 8.05am at his Abogunde Sagba Polling Unit 009 Ward 2 in Ede North Local Government Area. Omisore performed voted at 11:25 am at Moore Ward 1, Polling unit 003, inside Yemoo, National Museum Extension, Moore, Ile-Ife. The SDP candidate, however, alleged that there were insufficient electoral materials in some polling centres in Osogbo, while malfunctioning card readers were reported in some voting centres in Ife.
Omisore charged the electorate to come out en masse and vote, despite the situation. He also warned against the practice of exchanging money for votes, saying that it mortgages the future of the electorate.
Oyetola and his wife, Kafayat, voted at Local Authority Primary school, Ward 1. Unit 2, Iragbiji, headquarters of Boripe Local Government Area. Clad in white guinea brocade with brown hand woven Yoruba cap, he cast his vote at 10.12 am while his wife followed four minutes later.
Oyetola applauded INEC for its sound preparation for the election. Brimming with confidence, he said he would emerge victorious. “I have worked so hard and my predecessor laid a good foundation by touching all areas of human endeavour, including education, health, agriculture and road construction. I am going to build on these achievements. There will be continuity of all the good work that Governor Aregbesola has done,” he stated.
The ADC candidate, Akinade Akinbade, also commended the entire process at his Ogbagba home.
Monshood in Iwo commented that the election peaceful as voters moved around to cast their votes.
Accreditation of voters commenced at 8am in many polling units across the state following the arrival of electoral officials and materials as early as 7am.
Voters were seen on queues ahead of the commencement of the accreditation process.
At Baruwa Ward 4, Unit 19 and 20, Ward 10 polling unit 13, Fagbesa in Osogbo Local Government Area, ward 8 unit 3 Olorunda local government and Ward 7, Eripa Boluwaduro Local government and ward 4, unit 10 Oloburoad ,Irepodun local government area, INEC officials and election materials arrived well ahead of time.
An official of INEC at polling unit 1, ward 3, Ifon, Oloru Local Government Area, MrsAlawodeAbidemi, said she and her team arrived the polling centres with the election materials about 6:30 am. She said that the accreditation of voters began at 8am. According to her, the card reading machines functioned without hitches. But a few cases of glitch were reported on the machines.
Turnout of voters was also impressive in most polling centres visited across the state while security personnel, including the police and personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, were deployed in strategic locations.
At polling units on Ifon Road, voters were accredited seamlessly with the card readers in the presence of security personnel. An Assistant Presiding Officer in the area, Herold Mercy, said the exercise was peaceful and there was adequate supply of voting materials.
At several polling stations in Boluwaduro and Boripe Local Government Area, the materials and officials also arrived polling centres as early as 7am.
Meanwhile, enthusiastic voters, mostly elderly people, thronged the various polling centres in Orolu ward for accreditation. In Ede South Ward 2, polling unit 001 Alajue, voting commenced in earnest while the unit recorded large turnout, just like ward 4, unit 10 Alajue Cottage junction.
A large turnout was also recorded in Osogbo, the state capital, as people came out en masse to cast their votes.
In Ede North, an equally large turnout was recorded, and the security arrangement was good.
Osun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, told journalists at Unit 002, Ward 04, Isale/OkeAafo in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area, where he voted, “The election was free, credible and peaceful.” Baderinwa commended INEC for a job well done.
He noted, “Polling units opened early and election materials also arrived early.”
Baderinwa also commended the security agents for their professionalism.
The Osun governorship election, expectedly, drew a lot of attention and interest from different Nigerian and foreign observers, including the governors of Kano (Abdullahi Ganduje), Lagos (Akinwunmi Ambode), Ogun (Ibikunle Amosun), Oyo (AbiolaAjimobi), and Kaduna (Nasir el-Rufai) states.
An international observer from the European Union, Mr. John Tomasewski, who met our reporter in Ede said the process was peaceful and the people were orderly. He, however, said it was too early to rate the entire process, as voting was still underway. On the issue of vote buying, the international observer said he had not witnessed outright open purchase of votes. He commended INEC for putting in place measures to curb open inducement of voters.
However, there were unconfirmed reports that chieftains of political parties had perfected other methods of buying votes in a discreet manner, including electronic transfer of money and having voters collect the cash at an agreed point close to the polling unit. Some of the voters told our reporters that it might be the last time they will see the candidates or their representatives and so they did not mind taking what they could from them.
Isolated cases of arrests for vote buying were recorded. For instance, two men were allegedly arrested by the police at Iwo for trying to buy votes. In another incident, Mr. MuyiwaIge, the late Chief Bola Ige’s son, who is an APC chieftain, accused the PDP of inducing voters in EsaOke, with money.
Meanwhile, INEC warned against the announcement or publication of false or unofficial election results, as the collation of results began. The commission gave the warning yesterday via its twitter handle @inecnigeria.
It said that the official results would be available as announced by the election Returning Officer.
“Announcing or publishing a false election result is an offence.
“It is a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment.
“The official #OsunDecides 2018 results will be uploaded on our platforms as declared by the Returning Officer,” the commission said.
An assortment of security agents performed various duties at the governorship election in Osun State. While soldiers of the Nigerian Army were seen on the highways checking vehicles, unarmed policemen and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were at different polling units to oversee the process.
Other paramilitary agents noticed by our reporter included men of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and plain clothes security agents.
From the markings on their vehicles, some of the security agents were assigned to Osun from other states. Our reporter observed an “OP AWATSE” vehicle “donated by the Lagos State Government “. Another police operation vehicle carried the marking “Oru West Mgbidi” (Imo State).
However, many of the vehicles used by security agents were unmarked and carried no number plates.
It had been widely reported that Nigeria Police mobilised 27,000 of its personnel to carry out various duties in the Osun State governorship polls.
Some Parties Not Represented by Agents
Representation by agents of political parties during the governorship contest in Osun State bore a huge gap, as some of the 48 candidates on the ballot did not have agents. At various polling units visited by our reporter in Oshogbo, Ede, Ile Ife, Iragbiji and Iwo, the number of political parties represented by agents was between 10 and 18.
The parties that were represented in virtually all polling units included APC, PDP, ADP, Labour Party, African Democratic Alliance (ADA) , action Alliance (AA), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), African Congress for Democracy (ACD), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP). Alliance for Democracy (AD), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), African Peoples Alliance (APA), Grand Democratic Party of Nigeria (GDPN) and the Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN).
RESULTS DECLARED BY INEC THIS MORNING