The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare its Osun standard-bearer Senator Ademola Adeleke as the winner of last Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
At a press conference, the party insisted the process was conclusive, saying its candidate met the requirements of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, who addressed the press, said Section 179 (2) (a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended), is clear in spelling out the conditions for returning a candidate to the office of governor of a state.
“This section states inter-alia, ‘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 - (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and (b) 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’,” he quoted.
Describing the verdict as a robbery of the people’s franchise, the PDP said: “It is obvious that having failed in their schemes to alter the final results, due to the resistance of the people, the APC had to bear pressure on INEC to declare the election inconclusive, to pave way for the perfection of their manipulative schemes, which the people of Osun State have firmly resisted so far.
“Instead of yielding to the evil machination of the APC, INEC should have summoned the patriotic courage to immune itself and end this needless controversy by returning the PDP and declaring our candidate as the winner.
“It is instructive to state that the PDP will no longer accept inconclusive elections as subterfuge by the APC to attain its dubious electoral manipulative schemes in our nation.”
The PDP gave the All Progressives Congress (APC) a rude shock as the result of Saturday’s Osun State governorship election was announced.
The opposition party won the election but by a margin, which according to Returning Officer Prof. Joseph Adeola Fuwape, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from declaring its candidate, Ademola Adeleke, outright winner.
While APC’s Gboyega Oyetola scored 254,345 votes, his counterpart, popularly known as the ‘dancing senator’, polled 254,698.
“According to the election guideline, where the margin of win between the two leading candidates is not in excess of the total number of registered voters of the polling units where elections were cancelled, a candidate may not be returned.
“From the analysis of the result we have, the difference between the two leading parties is just 353.
And the number of voters in the units where elections were cancelled is 3,498.
To that effect, unfortunately, as a returning officer, it’s not possible to declare any party as the clear winner of this election,” Fuwape said.
The polling units (seven altogether) where results were cancelled are: Ife North, one; Ife South, two; Oreolu, three; Osogbo, one.
The electoral body has since fixed Thursday, September 27, for a re-run in the affected units.
There was a dramatic interlude when one Mr. Salawu Mutiu Kolawole, believed to be an INEC official, was arrested for allegedly shredding the result sheets of Ayedade Local Government Area.
He claimed he took the action on the instruction of his superior. In video clips trending online, Kolawole said: “My boss, Mrs. Aderinoye, in Ayedade local council, called me and directed me to go to the council and tear the result sheets.
Before I could ask her, she cut the call. I approached another electoral officer, Mr. Oladunjoye, and told him what my boss said. I went there to tear it.
But while doing it, two party agents met me and arrested me. They brought me to INEC office.
I am not a party agent but an official of INEC. My phone was taken from me by policemen who ushered me into the premises.”
Mr. Ologbondiyan, threatened that although “PDP is for peace, we will not hesitate to use every force available in a democracy to face any attempt to subvert the will of the people or rig us out in this election.”
To avoid “the fury of the people,” the PDP charged INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu to “immediately reverse this fraudulent decision and declare our candidate the winner.
Anything short of this is definitely not acceptable to the PDP and the people of Osun, and it is a direct recipe for crisis.”
In another statement, PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus, added: “What other evidence do the democratic watchers and security agencies need to establish obvious bias from INEC: the commission’s administrative officer caught destroying result sheets in Ayedade Local Government Area, where over a thousand votes belonging to PDP were removed, confirmed acting on the instruction of his superior officer?”
The Osun chapter of the PDP accused INEC of colluding with the APC to rob its candidate of victory, describing the inconclusive verdict as a rape of democracy.
“The whole world saw how our candidate and the party were denied victory.
We are amazed that INEC could resort to this illegality to please the APC,” state chairman, Soji Adagunodo, declared at a press conference.
But Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola blamed the PDP for the outcome of the election, expressing optimism that the APC would win the re-run.
Reacting to the allegation that the APC was behind the cancellation of results in the seven units and the arrested INEC official, he said: “It was orchestrated by the PDP. Ask yourself, who arrested him?
Was it the police or PDP agents? The video being shared around was orchestrated for cheap propaganda. They acted it. The police will not parade a suspect along the road.”
Also, APC’s acting national publicity secretary, Yekini Nabena, urged the people of Osun to support its candidate in the re-run.
He told The Guardian: “Our party must go back to the drawing board, to see if it can get things right.
Osun governorship election result is a big lesson ahead of 2019 and we have to re-strategise.
For now, we are only begging Osun people to, please, vote for APC in the re-run.”