*Oyinlola, Minister of Police lose polling units
Gbenga Olarinoye, Henry Umoru, Dapo Akinrefon and Gbenga Oke
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was, last night, shoving aside a stiff challenge from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Senator Iyiola Omisore as early results from yesterday’s gubernatorial election in Osun State trickled in.
Early returns showed Aregbesola to be leading in many areas of Osogbo, Ede and Ilesha with Omisore showing good lead in Ile- Ife and some towns across the state.
The election, characterised by strong presence of security personnel, was itself differently portrayed by the APC and the PDP. While the APC described the conduct of the election as a rape on democracy, the PDP, speaking through its National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, said it was free and fair. The many observer groups were, last night, yet to speak on the conduct of the election which saw massive turnout of voters in all 30 local government areas of the state.
The off season election followed the judicial enthronement of Aregbesola as governor in November 2010 after three and a half years of the four-year term earlier stamped in favour of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on the platform of the PDP.
As results of the election poured in showing Aregbesola in good lead in his Ijesha and Ede strong holds, early cause of celebration was tempered by the strong showing of Omisore in his Ife heartland and some parts of Ijesha. Omisore also pulled strongly in some unexpected quarters including Okuku, the hometown of the immediate former governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Oyinlola, who defected from the PDP to the APC four days to the election, was unable to win his polling booth for his new party, as the APC trailed by 61 votes to the 125 polled by the PDP in his Ward One Unit 3.
Heavy presence of security men characterized pre-election and post-election activities throughout the state. Hours before the election commenced late on Friday night, the APC claimed that its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, alongside a media aide to the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Afolabi Afolabi Salisu, Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, were arrested.
Recounting his experience in a statement following his release, yesterday morning, the APC spokesman said: “We were being driven to the Government House when we were stopped at a military check point by men in military and DSS uniforms, all hooded and armed to the teeth with AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and other weapons. Since there was no curfew in Osun and people were moving around freely, we felt it was a routine check.
”Suddenly, the men, some of them apparently drunk, ordered us out of the car, took our phones, pointed their assault rifles at our heads and said ‘you are under arrest’. They herded us into their bus like animals and drove away. There is no doubt that they knew who we are because I introduced myself!
”From our encounter with our tormentors, there is also no doubt that these were not just soldiers and DSS officials, there were also ex-militants and thugs, all clad in military and DSS uniforms but apparently lacking in any training! We also witnessed how men in military and DSS uniform fired their guns at the gate leading to the residence of Senator Isiaka Adeleke to force it open!
”We asked them why we were being arrested, but they ignored our question as they drove for close to one hour before veering into a compound that turned out to be the offices of the DSS. There, we met people who had been previously arrested and stripped of their clothing, many of them bloodied from the beatings to which they must have been subjected.
”We were herded to one side as our tormentors marched around triumphantly, in what could well have been a scene from the Ukraine! We were waiting for our turn to be stripped of our apparels and taken along with those who were arrested earlier to the DSS cells when a man who is apparently a senior DSS official intervened and ordered our release. The men who arrested us, apparently unhappy at the order to set us free, rejected the order, until the man asserted his authority and even accompanied us to where we were arrested from.
“Our party, the APC, has, no doubt, whatsoever that the depravity being exhibited under President Jonathan’s watch, in the name of politics, has his imprimatur. We have no doubt that elections, which should be a celebration of democracy, have now been turned to war because of the desperation of President Jonathan to win re-election at all costs. We have no doubt that the anarchic Minister of State for Defence and Minister of Police Affairs, who are leading the ”troops” in Osun as they did in Ekiti, are taking their cue from President Jonathan.
”If those Ministers can move around freely in Osun and elsewhere, why can’t other Nigerians, irrespective of the party they belong to? If a PDP “hireling” like Chris Uba can be put in the command of 50 soldiers of the Nigerian Army, why should anyone still be under any illusion that the Nigerian Army is still serving the nation? Where else in the world is a thug commanding disciplined forces?
”We, Lai Mohammed, Sunday Dare and Afolabi Salisu, are just fortunate to be alive. The guns pointed at our heads by drunken armed men could have gone off! Since our arrest took place in the dark, we could have been driven to an unknown destination and shot dead! This is a dangerous time for Nigeria and her democracy.
Irrespective of the outcome of the Osun election, democracy has been dealt a near-mortal blow. 73,000 ‘security agents’, including the military, police, DSS, Civil Defence, ex-militants, thugs and murderers, deployed to police election in just one state? There is no better indication that we are in a militarized democracy.”
Mohammed’s depiction of the conduct was countered by the PDP’s National Secretary, Prof. Oladipo, who is from Osun State.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after voting, yesterday morning, in Ile-Ife, Oladipo praised the conduct of the security men, describing them as civil in their dealings with the electorate. According to him, no single individual was harassed at his polling unit.
The PDP candidate, Omisore, who voted at St Gabriel Primary School, Ile-Ife, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise just as he commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for the smooth conduct of the exercise.
The APC candidate, Aregbesola, however, differed, saying that President Goodluck Jonathan would be blamed if democracy is derailed.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after his accreditation at his Ifofin Ward 8 Unit One in Ilesa, the incumbent said: “They will have themselves to blame if they scuttle the democracy. You can see people’s patriotism and commitment to democracy.
“If they can be 20 percent committed like the ordinary people, the nation would have been the best for it. What they are doing by picking our chieftains and members is barbaric.
“They have been arresting, harassing and molesting our people for no just reason. The democracy is about making your choice freely without being hounded”.
APC chieftain, Senator Bayo Salami, also, yesterday, alleged that assassination attempts were made on him by those he claimed to be security men.
Speaking to newsmen at his polling booth in Olu-Ode in Osogbo, he said: “At about10:05 pm on Friday, about 15 men stormed my house with masked gun men in a bus and SUV. They beat up my security guard at the gate and carried him away. As they did all that, me and my family moved into one room.”
Salami, who was in the Senate between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, said:
“They shouted, ‘open the door or will we will shoot it down’. They shot at the door thinking it was a wooden door. They shot at the door several times but they could not gain entry. When you go to my house now you will see the pellets littered around.”
On whether he reported the matter to the police, he said: “I don’t have cause to go to police. I sent text to people who could help me out.”
He noted that he had a tip off of an intended attack on him and he then instructed his wife, who is related to the minister of police affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, challenging him on what had transpired.
According to him, the minister replied, saying he did not deserve the kind of text message and allegation against him.
Aregbesola made a sweep of most of the polling booths in Osogbo, the state capital according to the results compiled by Sunday Vanguard.
The results showed that in Fagbewesa Street (Unit 013) in Osogbo, APC won with 253 votes to PDP’s 75.
Fagbewesa/Ataoja ‘D’/ Osogbo (Unit 014): APC 217, PDP 70.
Polling Unit 16, Ward 4 in Fagbewesa: APC 133, PDP 42
Unit 12 Fagbewesa: APC 210, PDP 78
Unit 21 Fagbewesa: APC 139, PDP 46
Olorunda Local Government, Ward 12 (Unit 3):
APC 271, PDP 94
Ward 2 Units 5: APC 216, PDP 94
Ward 2 Unit 9: APC 228, APC 127
Ward 4, Unit 10, Alajue area, Ede South Local Government:
APC 188, PDP 92.
The PDP’s gubernatorial running mate, Adejare Bello, was reported to have lost his polling unit in Ede as PDP scored 30 votes while APC scored 130 votes there.
The State Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa, lost in his Olorunda Ward 1 GRA as PDP scored 95 votes while APC scored 142.
In Osogbo Ward 8 Unit 4, APC scored 300 votes to PDP’s 58; Ward 7 Unit 14, APC scored 133 votes and PDP scored 20 votes; Ward 4 Unit 12, APC scored 210 votes, PDP scored 78; Ward 4 Unit 21, APC scored 139 votes, while PDP scored 46.
Obaloye Grammar School, Alajue 1, Ede South, Polling Unit 005: APC 105, PDP 75.
Anu Olu junction, Alajue 1, Ede South: APC 197, PDP 65.
Osogbo LGA, Polling Unit 003, Ogo Oluwa-Kitan 2: APC 166, PDP 68.
Osogbo LGA, Polling Unit 001, Opp 7up, Gbogan Road: APC 156, PDP 79.
Osogbo LGA, Ward 4, Woleola Unit 19: APC 319, PDP 105.