By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, Hon.Razak Atunwa has said that, there was no iota of truth on the the insinuations that, he had withdrawn from the governorship race ahead of March 9 governorship polls in the country.
Atunwa who spoke with our Correspondent in Ilorin on Friday during an interview said that, “I am so more intact in the race to Ahmadu Bello Government House, Kwara, come March 9 polls.”
He said that,. “I want my supporters and members of our party, PDP to shun such rumour and move out enmasse to vote for me during the poll so as to move the state forward.
“I have all it takes to provide good governance to Kwara State and no amount of blackmail will stop me from emerging the next governor of the state come March 9 polls.”
Also, corroborating the Atunwa’s stand in a chat on Friday in Ilorin, the state chairman of the party, Hon.Kola Shittu described the rumour of Atunwa’s withdrawal from the governorship race as “totally false, mischievous and misleading.
“Atunwa remains in the race and will emerge victorious by the grace of God and the support of Kwarans.”
He however said that, “the insinuations of the issue was the handiwork of the members of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the state.
“I want to appeal to Kwarans to come out on March 9 governorship polls so as to vote massively for Hon.Atunwa so as to move the state forward.”
On the just concluded polls in the state, Hon.Shittu said that, the party had rejected the outcome of the polls in the state as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that, “it took this decision after a thorough review of the conduct of the election, which it said was marred by widespread irregularities in different parts of the state.
“Reports we received from our polling agents across the state indicated that the electoral process was characterised by massive anomalies that put the credibility of the exercise in doubt.
“Although the election was largely peaceful as there was no record of violence in any part of the state, our agents reported that the exercise was fraught with several discrepancies such as card readers failure, over-voting and inflation of figures.”
He added, “In addition, our agents were also harassed and intimidated by some compromised security officials for complaining that card readers were not used for voting in their polling units.
“For the avoidance of doubt, in over 70 per cent of polling units across the State, card readers were not used for voting as they only verified voters but could not authenticate their fingerprints, which led to the use of manual screening of voters. This gave room for perpetuation of electoral fraud in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We also received report of how APC agents made use of unclaimed PVCs to vote at some polling units across the State particularity within Kwara Central. Also, many of the local observers accredited by INEC to monitor the election were APC members.
“Additionally, prior to the day of the election, the Federal Government backed APC made some retrogressive and undemocratic moves, using state apparatus to intimidate and arrest some of our members and supporters in some parts of the State.
“Of particular note was the Kwara senatorial candidate of our party, Dr. Rafiu Ibrahim who was arrested and unlawfully detained by the Police less than 48 hours to the commencement of an election he was a major contender. This was apparently done to keep him out of circulation and give his opponent undue advantage.
“From the foregoing, election held in Kwara over the weekend cannot be said to be free, fair and credible. And it is on this basis that our party is rejecting the results of the presidential and national assembly election announced by INEC. The outcome of the exercise did not in any way represent the wish of majority of the electorate.
“Therefore, we will further review the circumstances surrounding the conduct of the election and take every lawful means to pursue our rights”.