By Chioma Gabriel
I don’t like to comment on political issues even with the Osun election but after I listened to delegations from the Missions of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States which observed the voting in the Osun State re-run election on September 27, I felt that Nigeria is doing things the other way and the peoples’ vote did not really count in Osun and may not count in 2019 elections.
The delegation from the missions of EU, United Kingdom and the United States expressed concern over widespread incidents of interference and intimidation of voters, journalists, and civil society observers by some political party supporters and security agencies. Their own findings also were in tandem with those of leading civil society groups that observed the election.
I worry about INEC and the reliability on the umpire to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019. Was declaring the election result inconclusive necessary or was it because Senator Ademola Adeleke won the election? Would INEC have declared the result inconclusive had the APC candidate Oyetola won the first time? Was the re-run meant to upstage the results and turn things upside down as many thought happened? Was Adeleke not muscled out in the rerun and Oyetola wangled in? Would Osun people vote back into power a political party that owed the state workers several years of salary? Who would listen to these people if the trend continues with the new government?
To me, there are more questions than answers concerning the rerun election that produced Oyetola governor-elect and some people dared to rejoice that they won. They dared to mock the real winner of the election and dared him to do his worse, while they celebrated injustice.
The truth is, out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, the truth shall be established. If neutral bodies like EU, UK and US perceived something and came out openly to say so, the truth has been established. Or hasn’t it?
Why do few people rejoice when evil rules simply because it has the power? What should one expect when all the APC super-powers congregated in Osun to intimidate Adeleke?
But then, what did PDP expect? Apart from Saraki, how many PDP stalwarts were in Osun to support Adeleke? Where were Uche Secondus, Nyesom Wike and other PDP governors and big men? What support did they give the PDP governorship candidate at the Osun polls? Senator Adeleke is not yet very grounded in politics and the tricks inherent. And the masters who should help him stayed far away. How did they expect him to get Omisore’s backing when APC had its governors, Oshiomhole, Tinubu and several others physically present to support Oyetola?
What happened in Osun is significant of what will happen in 2019. Where APC loses, the results would be declared inconclusive. And where would that lead us?
It would be a disaster if what happened in Osun would repeat itself in the general elections.
It would be a disaster if INEC does what it did in Osun, if the umpire is seen to be working in favour of the ruling party. INEC neutrality in the elections should be seen by all and sundry.
The neutrality of the security services and responsible conduct by party agents, both inside and outside the voting units should not be dubious.
These agencies should be committed to supporting the Nigerian people in having free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections. The will of the people should not be subverted again. What happened in Osun should not repeat. Voter intimidation, violence and harassment should not repeat. Osun rerun was an embarrassment to democracy and the outcome was a clear indication of what the rerun was intended to indicate.
History of what happened in Osun should not repeat itself in 2019 general elections. The hands of the clock should not be turned back in terms of the achievements Nigeria recorded in the last general elections.
Le vol à la lumière du jour devrait cesser si le Nigéria devait aller de l’avant (The daylight robbery should cease if Nigeria should move forward).