Protests mar INEC, political parties parley in Osun

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BY GBENGA OLARINOYE

OSOGBO—The one-day stakeholders meeting organised in Osogbo yesterday, by the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega with registered political parties in Osun State was disrupted by two opposing protesters calling for the removal and retention of the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Rufus Akeju.

Four of the registered political parties also walked out of the meeting accusing Jega of taking side with Dr. Akeju.

Leading the anti-Akeju protest are Osun Liberated Movement, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP, Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, and All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA.

They demanded for the immediate removal from the state the REC, arguing that his continued stay in office was becoming a stain on INEC.

They alleged that Akeju was a card carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, claiming that he was also an ally of the APC national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.

While the anti Akeju protest was going on, another group of people mobilised themselves and stormed the venue of the meeting calling for the retention of Akeju in office.

At this point the situation became tensed and uncontrollable while anti-riot policemen were drafted to the scene to disperse the crowd and bring the situation under control.

Jega in his address at the gathering assured the parties that INEC would conduct a credible election in the state this year.

He absolved INEC staff of blames arising from Anambra governorship election, insisting that so many factors responsible for it had been taken care of.

Trouble, however, started when representatives of the political parties were making their presentations and the parties except APC demanded for the removal of the state REC to ensure a credible election in the state.

But when Jega said all the allegations against Akeju were not substantiated to warrant his removal from the state, they stormed out of the meeting en-mass.

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