Evidence of things to Come

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Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Segun James report the Osun governorship election could be a pointer to what will happen in the 2019 general elections

The Osun state governorship has come, but like tales of the unexpected, it has not gone. What happens next will be determined by the supplementary election that will take place this Thursday.

The outcome of the election does not only point to a return of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-west, but an indication that the region is not going to be an easy win for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the Saturday, September 22 as inconclusive following a close call. INEC said that there will a supplementary  election within the seven polling units where infractions were reported in the  elections.

Declaring the election as inconclusive, the Returning Officer, Prof. Joseph Adeola Fiwape, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of

Technology, (FUTA) Akure said that the margin between the highest votes scorer, Sen. Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke of the PDP and the runners-up, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the APC was so narrow and smaller than the figures of the votes cancelled.

He said, “as a result we have the difference between the two leading parties is just 353, the number of votes in units where election were cancelled is 3,498-to that effect unfortunately as returning officer, it is not possible to declare  any paryt as clear winner of the election on the first ballot.

“I must commend the people of the state for being peaceful. INEC will announce the date for the next election. I therefore declare the result inconclusive”.

The seven polling units where the election were cancelled for the

re-run to take place include unit 017 Osogbo, Orolu, Garrage Olode in

Ife South and Ife East respectively.

The fact that the APC was not going to have an easy win was evident  when supporters of Governor Rauf Aregbesola expressed apprehensions that the governor may lost his home base – Ilesha. This was later proven to be true when the governor lost his local government council area.

That the APC will encounter such opposition did not come to the people as surprise. Osun is considered a civil service state where the government is the highest employer. But the government has been having a running battle with workers over the refusal of the government to pay the workers.

To many people,  what the people had done was a protest vote against the state government and Governor Aregbesola in particular. At the venue of the collation of results, some youths had gathered to celebrate the victory of the APC candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

According to them, this was payback time against Aregbesola, like the Ekiti people did against Governor Ayodele Fayose who had burdened the state workers with heavy yoke.

Come Thursday, who will win between Senator Adeleke and Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola? That is the question as both men go back to the people to determine who rules the state in the next four years.

Despite the fact that it was leading with a small margin, the PDP has accused the INEC of conniving with the APC  to rob the party of an obvious victory, and for also  refusingl to declare its candidate as duly elected. It described these actions as a rape on democracy.

The Osun state chairman of the party, Mr. Olasoji Adagunodo at a press conference held at the country home of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the party’s governorship candidate at Ede, said that what the “whole world has just witnessed a blatant rape of democracy, a deliberate thwarting of people’s will and a reprehensible assault on the aspiration of Osun voters.

According to him, the election was meant to be a “day of liberation from bad government and inhuman rulership; anti-people politicians have delayed the day of celebration and freedom from oppressors and slave holders.”

 Adagunodo lamented that “our party and candidate were denied victory in a hotly contested election. In that election, we fought against the multiple forces of state deployed against us with reckless abandon. From the beginning, our party and candidate were subjected to coordinated assaults and protracted litigations, assault and blackmail.

The entire electoral process was programmed to favour the ruling All Progressive Congress.

“We raised several critical issues bordering on fake polling units, deployment of unclaimed PVCs, inducements of National Youth Service Corp members, unholy partnership with security agencies, purchase and cloning of PVC, open monetary payments to voters among others. All issues raised by our party were ignored by the electoral commission and relevant agencies.

He stated that “level of impunity demonstrated by the electoral umpire in connivance with other federal agencies was unrivalled in Nigerian electoral history. Our party went to the election with only one weapon at our disposal – the unalloyed loyalty and support of Osun people.

“This was well demonstrated at the polls with our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke widely supported by the people. Despite all these malfeasance however, our candidate Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke satisfied the conditions laid down by law to be declared winner of the Governorship election having scored the highest number of votes cast and obtained a quarter of votes cast in all 30 local governments of Osun state.”

He therefore “condemn the decision of INEC not to declare our candidate as the winner of the election despite fulfilling all stipulated constitutional  and legal requirements. The Nigerian constitution is clear on requirements to be declared winner of a Governorship election.”

To prove his points, Adagunodo cited Section 172 subsection 2 of the constitution which stated that a candidate for an election to the office of Governor of a State shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being two or more candidates

“He has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and he has not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the State. In default of a candidate duly elected in accordance with subsection (2) of this section there shall be a second election in accordance with subsection (4) of this section at which the only candidates shall be the candidate who secured the highest number of votes cast at the election; and one among the remaining candidates who secured a majority of votes in the highest number of local government areas in the State, so however that where there are more than one candidate with a majority of votes in the highest number of local government areas, the candidate among them with the next highest total of votes cast at the election shall be the second candidate.

“In default of a candidate duly elected under subsection (2) of this section, the Independent National Electoral Commission shall within seven days of the result of the election held under that subsection, arrange for an election between the two candidates and a candidate at such election shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Governor of a State if he has a majority of the votes cast at the election; and he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast.”

He stressed that despite these; the INEC ignored the law and decided to serve partisan interest of the APC.

“We want to call the attention of Nigerians to the reality that the plot to declare the election inconclusive was pre-planned and orchestrated by INEC in collaboration with the APC. APC agents in collaboration with security personnel deliberately attacked the polling units at Orolu, Ife North, Ife South and Osogbo which are PDP strongholds.

It was to prepare ground for their infamous inconclusive declaration.

Aside that ,the state returning officer deliberately refused to correct our complaints of arithmetical errors and gross irregularities in Ilesa East, Ife East, Osogbo, Olorunda, Ayedaade and Boripe Local Governments. As a controversy long hatched, PDP complaints were ignored as part of pro-APC agenda.

“We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms the undemocratic conduct of INEC. The decision is illegal, absurd, abnormal and a condmenable trampling on the wishes of Osun people. All options are on the table on this unconstitutional act.”

He however said that the battle is not over. “The battle to chase away the slave drivers is not complete.  Let us gird our loins for the last onslaught,” Adagunodo concluded.

 The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Mr.  Kunle Oyatomi said its party may have been jolted but had taken home lessons. “Our candidate did very well.  We have not been bloodied.  There was heavy inducement of the electorate with money.  But I agree that it was a hard fought battle. “

A leader of the party said that Governor Aregbesola had created many enemies by his style of rulership.

He accused the governor of unbriddledt arrogance and self righteousness

Such action, he insisted was now taking its turn against Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC.

He said that with the election, Tinubu was gradually being demystified and his stranglehold on the South-west politics was being unentagled.

To him, the outcome of the election is a referendum on the continued leadership of Tinubu in South-west politics.