The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Senator Iyiola Omisore, whose support is considered crucial in winning today’s rerun election has announced his party’s alliance with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Omisore who made the announcement yesterday evening at his Ile Ife residence said the pact was to form a coalition government in the interest of Osun people.
He told journalists that he decided to back the APC after the party accepted the conditions he gave earlier for his support.
Omisore’s decision came after receiving delegation from President Muhammadu Buhari led by Ekiti State Governor-Elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and some South West governors on the platform of the party.
He also played host to Senate President, Dr. Olusola Saraki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) behind closed door.
Though details of what transpired at the meetings were not made public, sources said APC had more “juicy deals to offer Omisore and SDP leaders in Osun than the PDP.”
The development came as the family of the PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke denied a rumour that it rejected working with Omisore.
The family described the rumour as “a concocted lie by rejected APC and their satellite politicians”.
A statement by the Director of Media and Publicity, Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Rasheed Adewale, said: “ Adeleke has openly expressed his willingness for cooperation and partnership with all progressive political forces to consolidate on the victory of last Saturday.
“He spoke with many political leaders and candidates in the last poll.
It was, therefore, false to allege opposition to the involvement of Omisore in the push for victory.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said 2,637 voters that collected their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) will participate in today’s rerun election.
The Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mr. Segun Agbaje, told journalists on the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Osogbo, where the materials were collected and dispatched that the electoral body and security agencies were tracking the materials to ensure they arrive at their destinations safely.
A document released by INEC stated that in Oyere 11, Alapata village in Ife North Local Council, out of 353 that registered, 241 had collected their PVCs.
In Adereti village, Ife South, 812 registered while 585 had collected their PVCs.
In Alutu Erin Primary School, Albert Village, 502 registered but 311 collected their PVCs.
For Kajola village in Orolu Local Council, 393 registered but 303 had collected their PVCs.
In Idi Iya village also in Orolu, 387 registered but 353 collected PVCs.
In Gbogbo Primary School, also in Orolu, 167 registered, 150 had PVCs. In Adewole Steet, Ataoja E, in Osogbo, 884 registered while 694 collected their PVCs.
INEC disclosed that the 861 PVCs not collected in the seven polling units were in its strong room.
As the rerun election holds today in seven units in four local governments, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere has appealed to the stakeholders, particularly the people, to be steadfast and approach the exercise in a peaceful manner.
The main election held on September 22, 2018 in which the PDP secured the highest votes, was declared inconclusive by the INEC, which scheduled a rerun for today.
Adeleke, candidate of the PDP, polled 254,699, while his closest challenger, Isiaka Oyetola of the ruling All progressives Congress (APC) had 254,345 votes.
The election’s returning officer, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, who is also the vice chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, declined to make a return on the grounds that the margin of win was less than the 3,498 registered voters in the polling units where election was cancelled by the commission.
Consequently, the INEC scheduled a rerun for today in the seven units in Ife-North, Ife-South, Orolu and Osogbo local government areas where the poll was cancelled.
In a statement yesterday, Afenifere urged Osun people to go to the poll to conclude the governorship election in a peaceful and orderly manner.
The group described the supplementary election as crucial to the future of Osun, Yorubaland and Nigeria, thus the interest the international community has taken in it.
"We appeal to voters in the units to make informed choices without any inducement, fear or favour.
We have noticed undue interference with the electoral process by politicians in the last few hours and frown on such violation of the sanctity of the ballot system .
The elections in Osun is still on and it shows the lack of ethics on the side of politicians to be interfering openly the way we have seen.
“It has also come to our notice that a climate of fear is being created in the state on the eve of the election with arrests and intimidation," the group said in the statement by its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin.
Afenifere’s charge came as the South West chapter of the PDP cautioned the APC and the Federal Government against intimidating its members in Osun.
The PDP Zonal Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ayo Fadaka, in a statement made available to journalists in Akure, Ondo State capital yesterday, essentially alleged that security operatives were used to demoralise the party ahead of today’s runoff election.
"We wish to bring to the notice of all Nigerians that the APC has been prosecuting a series of violence, thuggery and sinister plots in its desperation to compromise the runoff election in Osun State slated for Thursday this week.
"Towards this end, it has assaulted a number of our members and inflicted bodily harm on them, this attitude is not only barbaric, but a manifestation of its desperation to win the election by hook or crook," PDP said.
According to Fadaka, that the PDP has been tolerating the attacks on its members, who have remained civil so far, is not a sign of weakness.
"It is only driven by our commitment to the good of the state and wellbeing of the citizenry.
We, however, warn that our civility should not be mistaken for weakness.
"We request of the police and other security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities and arrest all thugs that sail unchallenged in the streets of Osogbo particularly and Osun State in general.
"We equally want to bring to the notice of the police and other security agencies that plans are already concluded to hijack ballot boxes."
The allegation of attack on PDP members may not be unconnected with the arrest and detention of some of the party’s chieftains.
But yesterday, Justice A. O. Ayoola of an Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo, ordered the release of some members of the PDP, Alhaji Fatai Diekola, and his aides, Alhaji Adekilekun Segun and Alhaji Sikiru Lawal, from police custody.
The trio were arrested on Monday for allegedly buying voter’s cards at Alekunwodo area of Osogbo, one of the polling units where the rerun will take place today.
The trio had approached the court with a motion exparte , asking the judge to order their release from police detention.
Ruling on the motion yesterday, Justice Ayoola, granted the prayer of the applicants and ordered the police to release them immediately.
But another leader of PDP, Dr. Muyiwa Oladimeji, has reportedly been arrested and detained by the police.
Oladimeji, a medical practitioner and personal physician to Diekola, was allegedly arrested yesterday when he went to visit Diekola in detention to know his state of health.
The rerun election may feature a high level of vote buying as the ‘3498 deciding votes’ may be either bought or induced.
Residents who spoke to The Guardian said the importance of a single vote might push the political parties to offer as much as N15,000 to woo each voter.
A corps member in Oshogbo, who did not want his name mentioned, said he saw party agents writing down the numbers on the PVCs of those who agreed to the bargain.
Adedeji Afeez, who condemned the development, urged the people to vote their conscience.
Meanwhile, the government has declared today public holiday throughout the state.
A statement yesterday by Sola Fasure, Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Media, said “the holiday is to enable workers to participate in the rerun.”