- Buhari congratulates Oyetola, urges aggrieved contestants to go to court
- It’s a charade, embarrassment to democracy — Saraki
- Democracy is dead in Nigeria, Atiku, Fayose
- Our victory is divine — APC
- I will run an inclusive, participatory govt — Oyetola
By Dayo Johnson, Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Ishola Balogun, Gbenga Olarinoye & Rotimi Ojomoyela
WITH the declaration of Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the Osun State governorship election, there was an uneasy calm in the state, yesterday.
The victory was not heralded with the usual celebration and jubilation across the state. Rather, security personnel were stationed at strategic places in the state capital ostensibly to prevent protests by members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Even the state secretariat of the ruling party did not witness any celebration despite the declaration of Gboyega Oyetola as governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
There was heavy presence of security men including the military in Osogbo, and the adjourning town, Ede, the home of the PDP Governorship Candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
According to the results announced by the INEC in the early hours of yesterday, after Thursday’s re-run poll in seven polling units across four local councils, Oyetola defeated Adeleke with 482 votes. He polled 255,505 votes while Adeleke got 255,023 votes.
The result elicited mixed reactions in the polity yesterday. While President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC hailed the exercise, described the party’s victory as divine, and asked aggrieved contestants to seek redress in court, the PDP and its leaders kicked. PDP leaders that kicked against the outcome of the Osun governorship election, yesterday, included Senate President Bukola saraki, fomer Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose.
An elated Oyetola saluted Osun people and APC leaders for his victory and promised to run an inclusive and participatory government when he takes over from Governor Rauf Aregbesola in November.
However, unlike the usual celebrations that greet victory of political parties at poll, the streets of Osun state were devoid of jubilation by residents.
Residents who are supporters of the APC did not jubilate on the streets but some prominent leaders and members of the ruling party thronged the State Government House at Oke Fia to felicitate with Governor Aregbesola and Oyetola.
Joined in the joyous mood was the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Senator Iyiola Omisore whose party had an alliance with the APC in the Thursday re-run election.
I will reclaim my mandate — Adeleke
Meanwhile, the PDP flag-bearer Senator Ademola Adeleke, yesterday, pooh-poohed election and vowed to use all legal and civil means to reclaim his mandate.
Speaking at a press conference in Ede, Adeleke said that the party would unite against electoral oppression, while those he considered as electoral robbers will face justice.
He urged Osun people to gear up and not to be low-spirited, saying the APC victory was just a temporary setback for the PDP.
He commended the international community, domestic and international observers for their impartial coverage and monitoring of the poll.
Oyetola pledges to run an inclusive govt
Appreciating God, the people of the state and APC leaders for his election, Oyetola in his acceptance speech in Osogbo, said: “I will run an inclusive and participatory government. I will consult with the party, workers, communities, traditional rulers, the civil society and the people of the state in their heterogeneity. I will engage the youth, tap into their ideas and enable them to unleash their creative energy in a positive way.
“I pledge to serve God and humanity and the people of Osun with my whole being, without prejudice to religion, ethnicity, race and ideology.’’
Our victory is divine —APC
Also, the Osun State chapter of the APC in a statement by its Director of Publicly and Strategy, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi said: “We rejoice with the people of Osun for the narrow escape from tragedy which God made miraculously possible on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Without divine intervention on Saturday September 22nd, when the forces of evil almost fraudulently snatched victory, the good people of this emerging state would have been in mourning by now.”
‘Both the governorship election on Saturday on the 22nd of September and the partial re-run of Thursday 27th were classic examples of how “God intervenes in the affairs of men.”
‘We firmly believe that PDP did not deserve a second place in that election; and because they did not earn it, they lost it.
‘PDP had never been and could never become a substitute for the APC in Osun. If ill-fate had helped them all the way through last Saturday, Osun would have stalled and regressed.
‘But because the people did not merit that kind of fate, God allowed the PDP to collapse under the burden of its own evil machinations.
‘God knew best and we are aware that if APC government did not continue, the PDP would have not only halted everything Gov. Rauf Aregbesola had done, they would have also replaced it with the PDP signature of ‘blood and tears.’’
Buhari thanks Osun people for re-electing APC
President Buhari, while congratulating Oyetola, and commending Osun people for re-electing APC, urged those aggrieved to go to court.
Buhari, in a statement his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, said: “Thank you Osun State for supporting our good governance agenda by re-electing the APC. I assure you that we will continue to work for the progress and prosperity of the state and the nation.”
He urged the Governor-elect “to always remember that the electorate expects unreserved commitment to delivering results that directly impact their lives and families’’ and ‘’affirms that the successful election in the State further strengthens the democratic culture in the country, extolling INEC for, once again, making the country proud.’’
President Buhari commended ‘’ the maturity, loyalty and courage of all contestants in putting in their best to be elected to serve the state, urging them to seek redress in court, where they disagree with the outcome.’’
It’s a charade, embarrassment to democracy — Saraki
However, Senate President Saraki, who is the chairman of the PDP Campaign Council on Osun State Governorship election, dismissed the election as a charade and an embarrassment to Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that: “Yesterday, we witnessed another display of the subversion of the will of the Osun people during the re-run gubernatorial elections in the State. The election was characterised by widespread voter intimidation, violence and harassment. Accredited observers were denied access to polling units and duly registered voters were prevented from participating in the electoral process by thugs and compromised security agents.
“Like I said a few days ago, this needless re-run election was only designed as an avenue for the ruling party to perpetrate electoral fraud. The nature of these elections is an embarrassment to our democracy and casts an alarming pall on the institutions responsible for protecting the will of the Nigerian people as stated through their votes. That was why for more than ten hours the INEC could not collate and announce results in just seven polling units with just over 2000 votes.
“It is surprising that the election in which on Saturday, the two leading candidates were running neck to neck with the PDP candidate having an edge, four days later, as a result of manipulations and impossible conditions, the APC candidate is now being credited with all the votes and some paltry number of votes were being recorded for the PDP candidate.
“It is important for Nigerians and the international community to insist that the hands of the clock should not be turned back in terms of the achievements we recorded in the last general elections. We should not make a mockery of democracy by conducting elections in the manner that the Osun Polls were conducted. The Osun election is a clear indication of how the 2019 election will be conducted. It demonstrates that if we cannot conduct free, peaceful and fair elections in seven polling units spread across four local government areas of a state, then the conduct of the general elections in 774 local government areas across 36 states of the country is already endangered.
“I therefore call on the government, INEC, security agencies and development partners to ensure a radical change in the way and manner the next set of elections will be conducted. Osun 2018 Polls is a very low point in our electoral system.’’
It’s demonstration of tyranny — Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and PDP Presidential aspirant described the result as a travesty of justice and a demonstration of tyranny.
In a statement he signed personally, Atiku said: “The result just declared today in Osun by the Independent National Electoral Commission in favour of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate is a travesty of justice. That was not democracy. That was a demonstration of tyranny.
“The victory of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, was firmly established last week on Saturday the 22nd of September, 2018.
“This so-called victory of the APC is not a democratic victory. Observers, both foreign and domestic, reported the brazen intimidation of voters and outright suppression of voting in PDP strongholds with even PDP agents physically prevented from being at the polling units.
These actions showed to the whole world that this unnecessary rerun, in polling units cancelled or voided by the INEC, was nothing more than a red herring, to distract attention and gain time, while the ruling party perfected strategies to pull a fast one on the electorate, as it has done today…
“I call on the international community not to stand idly by while democracy is being trampled upon. Nigeria is a very unique nation. We are very strategic to Africa in terms of population and location. A destabilised Nigeria will destabilise Africa and this must never be allowed to happen.
“I call on Nigerians to be on guard. The APC has shown its hand. It is the leprous hand of a tyrant. Therefore we must be alert in future elections, for as Thomas Paine said “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” he said.
It’s a show of shame — Fayose
Describing the development as ‘’a show of shame’, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State said the only conclusion one could draw from the Osun’s scenario is that “democracy is now dead in our beloved country”.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, the governor said: “With what happened in Osun state, democracy is actually dead in Nigeria and we are in critical times. The Osun supplementary election was just a repeat of what happened in Ekiti state on July 14th. And it is unfortunate that, again, the will of the people has been perverted.
“It was obvious even to the blind that the Osun election, as was the case with Ekiti, was a contest between the PDP and the security agencies supervised by a compromised INEC”
Fayose added that the people used by INEC have, ab initio, been compromised and only serve the interest of those he described as their pay masters.
“Therefore, we want to believe that conscionable Nigerians and the survival of this country as a whole are at the mercy of God and of the judiciary. And if the judiciary fails to rise up to the occasion, Nigerians will be among men the most miserable”
Re-run characterized by voters’ harassment, intimidation — TMG
Meanwhile, the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, which observed the supplementary election, said there were several incidences of intimidation and harassment of voters during the poll.
“In Orolu Local Government in particular, some observers and journalists were arrested and detained by some security agents, while some other observers were prevented from accessing the polling units, by some hoodlums,’’ said the Chairperson, TMG South West Coordinator, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and Sulaimon Arigbabu.
“By these acts, we observed that sizeable number of voters was therefore prevented from performing their civic duties particularly in Kajola, Orolu Local Government, Oyere and Osi in Ife South Local Government. Our observations also show that several party agents were prevented from observing the process. There were also sporadic gunshots in some locations in Osogbo and Ife.
“Furthermore, TMG observers’ report also show that some PVCs were found with people who were not the owners and who had tried to use same to vote.