…As controversies ensue over number of outstanding PVCs
By Emmanuel Aziken, Clifford Ndujihe, Gbenga Olarinoye & Dirisu Yakubu
OSOGBO—THE two major contenders in tomorrow’s Osun State government rerun election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, were, yesterday, locked in a verbal war over perceptions of impropriety ahead of the crucial polls in seven selected polling points.
The verbal warfare came as proxies of the two parties continued solicitations to Senator Iyiola Omisore, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, candidate who came third in the election for his support.
Atiku, Fayemi visit Omisore
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, came on behalf of the PDP, while Ekiti State governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who supposedly came on behalf of APC, however, said he came to visit Omisore who he said is his in-law.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was also being drawn into the fray yesterday as PDP gave details of how it was allegedly short-changed of 4,387 votes in two local government areas by INEC, supposedly working in cahoots with the ruling APC.
The party alleged that INEC was set to increase the number of voters due for the rerun from the 3498 earlier announced to 4,387 to allegedly widen the APC’s capacity to manouvere.
The claims were dismissed by the APC’s media campaign coordinator, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who urged voters affected to ignore the PDP which he claimed was jittery over its imminent loss.
INEC also rebuffed the claims as it gave statistics to back its claim that the number of voters in the voting area is 3,498.
Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, on his part said the outcome of the election was the reason the party must never go to sleep.
The sense of despair of the PDP was also conveyed by its failure to get the exact number of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, collected among the 4,387 voters.
INEC in a rebuff to claims to social media figures that only 423 PVCs were collected by voters in the affected area, said it would not release the figures for security reasons.
An APC chieftain dismissed the figures as false, adding that INEC had the authentic figures.
“Who is in possession of better statistics? INEC is in possession of the real statistics, whatever figure people are claiming is false,” the chieftain said.
Contacted on the issue, Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said the electoral umpire had the authentic figures of voters and number of PVCs collected.
He, however, said “that for security reasons, the commission will not disclose the total number of PVCs collected in the seven polling units where the re-run election will take place.”
INEC boss should resign — PDP
The PDP at a press conference in Abuja, addressed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan, yesterday, called for the resignation of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the National Commissioner in charge of operations, Mrs. Amina Zakari, upon the claim that they collaborated to stalemate a concluded election.
Ologbondiyan said: “With INEC’s fraudulent conduct in the Osun governorship election, and approval that a concluded election be declared inconclusive, the PDP and, indeed, all well-meaning Nigerians no longer have confidence in Prof. Yakubu.
“It is completely inexcusable that Prof. Yakubu presides over an atrocious and compromised electoral umpire that manipulates electoral processes, doctors figures, allocates fictitious votes and subverts the will of the people in an election.
“The PDP has additional documentary evidence of how this compromised INEC, through its Operations and ICT Department, doctored results from polling centers, directly short-changed the PDP with no fewer than 4,387 votes by slashing votes cast for the PDP at the polling centers while allocating fictitious figures to the APC.
“From the facts available to us, INEC robbed our party of over 4,387 votes. Our actual winning margin stands at 4,740 votes against the 353 votes declared by INEC.”
INEC staff wrongly accused—Osun REC
Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC for Osun State at a press conference in Osogbo explained how an INEC staffer was wrongly accused of manipulating the election result in a polling unit in Ayedaade Local Government Area of the state.
He said: “The Electoral Officer for Ayedaade LGA Mrs. Aderinoye Olukemi Alice, on the information she received from the Local Government Security Chief (LGSC), that there was an error on the Form EC 60 (E) INEC PUBLICATION OF RESULT OF POLL Poster, pasted at the Local Government Collation Centre i.e St. Patrick Grammar School Gbongan, and after crosschecking the results sheet for the collation EC 8C to confirm the information, called her staff Mutiu Salawu, to remove the pasted EC 60 (E) poster with error and replace it with a correct one. Mr. Mutiu Salawu being a dutiful staffer went to carry out the lawful instruction of his boss when he was accosted by a mob that rough handled him before they took him to Adelani Rafiu Oyediran Ajanaku’s house along the New Gbongan Osogbo Road.
”“There he was humiliated, harassed and subjected to take manipulated photographs that were sent to various social digital platforms. He was then brought to the INEC State Office where he was harassed by some section of the media.”