The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 23 House of Representatives election in Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency of Ondo State, Hon Kayode Akinmade, has said that despite the apparent irregularities and manipulations that trailed the election, aggrieved supporters, party faithful and members of the community should accept the result in good faith.
Akinmade, a two-time Commissioner for Information in the state, gave this charge in a press statement released in Akure, the state capital, on Thursday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Tajudeen Adefisoye, winner of the election even when the returning officers declared it inconclusive.
Akinmade said even though the outcome was not what the people desired, the exercise offered a rare insight into elections and electioneering processes in the country vis-a-vis its inherent flaws, adding that the polls in Idanre/Ifedore were an example of all that is wrong with Nigeria’s democracy.
According to him, “There were evident irregularities, including multiple voting, ballot box snatching, burning of ballot papers and other shameful electoral crimes. We had a situation where thugs mounted road blocks preventing INEC officials from getting to voting centers, we witnessed political thugs thumb-printing ballot papers and the brazen use of monetary inducement to compromise voters and electoral officials right at polling booths. All these were reported to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but the officials in Idanre chose to turn a blind eye.
“Our party identified polling units where rerun ought to have been ordered by INEC in consonance with the provisions of the Electoral Act. Significantly, over 6000 registered voters were disenfranchised, first by thugs and now by INEC in the affected areas in Idanre local government alone.
“To confirm our assertion that INEC officials in Idanre compromised ignominiously, it is interesting to note that a winner was hurriedly announced even though results were declared inconclusive by the Returning Officers. We have been confronted by aggrieved voters and supporters who believed the travesty must not be allowed to stand. There are options available to us including, seeking legal action to call for a rerun at the Election Petitions Tribunal.
“It is our belief, however, that power belongs to God and He gives it to whom He pleases. It is in the light of this that I sincerely thank our supporters for their unshaken belief in my ability to offer quality representation that would turn the fortunes of our people around.
“However, in the interest of unity, peace and progress of our community, and bearing in mind my primary aim of seeking the people’s mandate, which is for the overall good of our people and improve on their lots, and after wide consultations with stakeholders, we have chosen to allow posterity to judge, much more so since a supposed winner has been declared. I urge our supporters to allow peace to reign as I know that God is the rewarder of all good and evil. Let the wish of INEC be done on the results and let providence vindicate us.”
Akinmade congratulated Adefisoye and urged him to strive for quality representation at the National Assembly, saying the people of Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency deserved nothing less.