Stories by CHIOMA GABRIEL, OLASUNKANMI AKONI, LUKA BINNIYAT & DAPO AKINREFON
EMINENT Nigerians yesterday described the Court of Appeal verdict on Osun State governorship tussle between Engineer Rauf Aregbesola and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as victory for democracy.
In unison, former governors of Lagos and Ogun states, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Olusegun Osoba, former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu amongst others commended the judgement.
Judgement strikes final blow to election riggers–ACN
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said yesterday that the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the Osun gubernatorial election has struck a final, deadly blow against election riggers, who must now be consigned into where they belong — the dustbin of history.
In a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said its victory is particularly sweet music for all democrats, who have continued to fight to wrest Nigeria from the deadly cabal of election riggers, who have made Osun state their base.
‘’Osun, under the grip of the electoral marauders, became a euphemism for election rigging with bravado. Even with a questionable mandate, they carried on as if they were indeed elected by the people of the state. Osun lost more people to the 2007 elections than any other state. Dislodging the marauders, therefore, is a succour of sorts to the families of those who were killed in the process of what will rank among the worst cases of electoral brigandage in our country’s history.
‘’We also recall that the marauders in Osun provided the men and material for the rigging of the gubernatorial re-run in Ekiti. At a stage, they even resorted to the use of police helicopter to ferry their generals and their arsenals to Ekiti to further terrorize the people of the state.”
Delay not denial, says Kalu
Former Abia state governor Dr. Orji Kalu has described the victory of Rauf Aregbesola as a sign that God’s words would always come to pass even when mere mortals tend to doubt him.
In a release signed by his Special Assistant to the Media , Emeka Obasi, Kalu described Aregbesola’s victory as the Lord’s doing.
He said,”it is the Lord’s doing. Once again , God has shown that delay is not denial. Even if it took Aregbesola close to four years to get justice, he will rule for at least the same number of years”
Kalu congratulated the new governor stating that his emergence has changed the political equation in Nigeria.
Vindication to the judiciary—Afenifere
LEADER of Afenifere, a Pan Yoruba socio cultural ,Chief Reuben Fasoranti yesterday described the court of Appeal judgment which declared Engineer Rauf Aregbesola as the winner of the April 2007 Governorship in election in Osun State as a clear indication that the judiciary is the last hope of the common men
Fasoranti said that the judgment given by the judges showed that the Action Congress candidate was able to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt with avalanche of evidence he presented before the judges.
Also, the retired Bishop of Anglican Communion of Akure Diocese, Rt. Rev. Bolanle Gbonigi praised the Court of Appeal’s judgement.
Victory’s a challenge to rule of force in a democracy —Agoro
The final laying to rest of the Osun State governorship 2007 election debacle almost four years after it was held could be rightly described as good for the rule of law in a democracy but just too bad for political thieves holding on to power against the wish and mandate of the people.
But for resilience, determination, courage and financial high capacity there was no way Aregbesola could have ever claimed his mandate.
It was real victory for the spirit of struggle for Aregbesola who saw hell in the hands of PDP, the enemies of truth and righteousness.
Justice is the first condition of democracy — Tinubu
In his reaction to the verdict, the former Lagos governor, Senator Tinubu said he was proud to be in the vanguard of a revolution in Nigeria.
In a statement titled: “Justice is the first condition of democracy”, he said “It is a golden dawn in the state that bears the cradle of the Yoruba people. It is golden dawn for all lovers of democracy in Nigeria and all over the world. We in the Action Congress of Nigeria are proud to be the vanguard of this revolution.
We are proud to represent the moral imperative in a polity struggling to retrieve its conscience from the depravity of men who have no honour because they have no shame. We are proud to stand beside the good people of Osun State in their struggle to assert the legitimacy of their mandate and the dignity of their vote.
“The struggle has been tough. It has taken the best of our human and material resources. But we resolved that we would never let go. Nigeria is our fatherland, a collective patrimony given to us by our progenitors.
It is our responsibility to leave her better and greater than we received her.” Commending the judiciary for living up to its responsibility, the former governor said “we praise the courage of the fearless men and women of the Bench.
The honourable and noble dispensers of justice untainted by lucre and uncowed by the threat of immoral power. This verdict is a historic denunciation of electoral fraud, a befitting dirge for electoral violence.”
In addition, he said “It is indeed a pity that our laws are yet to punish the wicked men and women who held a state hostage and looted her resources with criminal recklessness for over three years. We know that beyond the punishment of the courts, there is the punishment of God.”
God is vindicating the progressives — Osoba
Osoba, also a former governor, while berating former President Olusegun Obasanjo for allegedly conducting flawed elections in 2003 and 2007 respectively, said the victory shows that God is vindicating the progressives.
His words: “It shows that Obasanjo did fraudulent elections, both in 2003 and 2007 particularly in the South West of this country. From what has happened, you can see that God is vindicating the progressives and the ACN, which has been the party on ground in the South West of this country and in the whole western region. We are very happy and we thank God.”
Aregbesola’s resilience must be commended — Akeredolu
On his part, former president of the NBA, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu commended Aregbesola for his resilience during the legal tussle and also lauded the judiciary for doing justice.
According to him, “This is a victory for democracy and we must commend the resilience of Rauf Aregbesola throughout the case, the case was a titanic battle. I know him so well and I know the passion he has for that state.
I think he has done well and I think the judiciary has done well. The most important thing is that we have found out that in most election petition tribunals, both in the first and second instance, did not do justice to the case, but the Court of Appeal has done justice to the case and we thank them all.”
This is sweet victory- Oshiomhole
The Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has congratulated the Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Rauf Aregbosola on his victory at the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, the Governor said “I heartily rejoice with my brother, my friend and my Comrade, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola on his sweet victory at the Appeal Court more than three years after he was robbed of the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Osun State on April 14, 2007.
“His victory is even sweeter considering that just a few weeks ago, another Appeal Court had sacked the illegal government in Ekiti State and declared our Comrade, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the authentic Governor of that State.
“The latest verdict of the Appeal Court is another testament that the Judiciary is the last hope of the defenceless and the oppressed.”
Victory for democracy—Gov. Kayode
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Osun State yesterday described the declaration of Rauf Aregbesola of ACN as the duly elected Governor of Osun State as the best thing to happen to the country toward the end of the year.
Fayemi, who recently secured victory through an Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin after more than three years of legal battle, said the Osun judgment had indeed shown that it was rule of law that now ruled the country.
It’s a rude shock–PDP
ABUJA — THE National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP yesterday described the sack of Olagunsoye Oyinlola and replacing him with Rauf Aregbosola of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN by the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan as a rude shock.
It would be recalled that the PDP had yesterday, October 14th, 2010 experienced a similar shock in Ekiti State following the removal of Engr. Segun Oni with Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the ACN sworn in as the authentic governor of the state.
Reacting on the development, the PDP National Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje who appealed to members of the party in the state to remain calm, said, ‘’this is a rude shock to us as political party. What we won through the ballot box, is gradually being taken away from us through the courts.
‘’Let the spate opposition winning through the Court continue, then PDP will continue to win through the ballot box. Osun state is a PDP state. The victory of the Action Congress of Nigeria will be shortened as we take back our mandate.”
Justice is unstoppable – Ribadu
Former boss of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has described yesterday ruling as, “the train of justice is on an irresistible motion in our land”
According to the Presidential aspirant of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), “this is evidenced again by today’s (yesterday’s) victory of my brother and friend, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, in court, as the legitimate gubernatorial winner in Osun State,” he said, adding, “in rejoicing with the great people of Osun at this prospect of good governance and a truly service-oriented administration, I call on us all to keep our eyes on the ball towards next year’s election. Let us register in massive numbers in the January INEC voter registration exercise; vote out the PDP, and elect ACN candidates come April 2011”
Falsehood is being dismantled —Fashola
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday described the victory of Engr. Rauf Aregbesola as another success that has dismantled the camp of falsehood built in the country over the years.
Fashola made this known during a press briefing held at the State House, Alausa, Lagos after a meeting with Engr. Rauf Aregbesola and his Deputy, Mrs. Titilayo Tomori-Olaoye; and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
The governor said “today, Justice has been done. Truth has prevailed over a mountain of lies. The camp of falsehood in the country is being dismantled one by one.”