…They’re paid demonstrators — Adeleke Campaign
By Gbenga Olarinoye
OSOGBO—SCORES of residents of Osun State, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest along the major streets in Osogbo against the judgment given by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja last week Friday which declared the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the September 22, 2018 governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the winner.
The protesters, majority of whom were youths, mostly students from higher institutions and pro-democracy activists stormed Osogbo, the capital of Osun State in their numbers and caused traffic gridlock within the major roads.
Armed with placards with various inscriptions such as Oyetola remains our Governor, We voted for Governor Oyetola, We cannot be intimidated, among others, the demonstrators vowed not to rest until true justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings.
Speaking with journalists after the protest, General Secretary, Osun Concerned Citizens, Yaya Ademola said the protest becomes imperative following what they observed as lacuna in the ruling of Election Petition Tribunal which declared Senator Ademola Adeleke of PDP the authentic winner of the September 22, 2018 governorship election.
Ademola said: “The said verdict, which is a split decision by which a majority of two of the three- member panel, purportedly declared Mr. Ademola Adeleke of PDP as winner of the September, 22 and 29, 2018 governorship election is clearly unacceptable to us and the overwhelming majority of the people of Osun in general and the electorate in particular.
“Our concern in this matter is not just a partisan disavowal of a judgment that is unfavourable to our preferred candidate, Mr. Isiaka Gbeyega Oyetola of APC. Our rejection of the said verdict is borne out of the clear fact that it is a thinly disguised attempt at clothing the product of a black-market judicial heist with the garb of legality in the hope that it may acquire legitimacy.
”Though a proper legal response to this unjust verdict has been entered at the Court of Appeal, we hasten to say that the basis with which the majority judgment was made is strange and baseless.
“We are concerned and indeed alarmed that rather than adjudicate in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Electoral Act that emphasises substantial compliance or lack of it or want of it as the basis for proving the validity or otherwise of the election of a candidate, the majority decision of the Tribunal arbitrarily pitched its tent with the formal irregularity of the failure of INEC to fill certain columns of the result sheets even when they do not affect the number of votes scored by candidates! This amounts to a disingenuous working to a predetermined answer.
“Under civil rule, electorate’s votes determine who governs the state and it is by simple majority. Election tribunal cannot substitute itself for the electorate role vis-a-vis voting.
“Osun Concerned Citizens stand for democracy and justice. We firmly believe that the electorate in Osun had spoken and the attempt by the majority decision to turn the Tribunal into a ’Selectotate’ shall be resisted.
“We shall not rest until true Justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings.
“No to Jankara justice. Osun electorates have spoken through their majority vote!! Attempts to obstruct our votes shall be vehemently resisted.”
‘They’re paid demonstrators’
In its reaction, the Adeleke Campaign Organisation described the group as paid demonstrators.
Speaking through its Director of Media, Rasheed Olawale, the organisation affirmed “that the court judgement restoring Senator Ademola Adeleke’s mandate is valid and lawful in law as it flows from evidence and cross examinations throughout the duration of the hearing,” noting that “the usurpers are jittery and desperate over the restoration of people’s mandate.
“We note with confidence in God and people that the judgement is God given based on truth and dispassionate interpretation of the law and the constitution. We affirm that the judgment restored the will of the people as expressed on September 22, 2018.
“The mobilisation of exploited O-Yes members to rally against a judgment that sets Osun people free from slave holders is a cowardly attempt to hoodwink the people.
“We note that that there is nothing within the judgment that is not covered by law and the constitution. The ruling to nullify the rerun, the cancellation of results of some polling units and the declaration of Ademola Adleke as the winner are all provided for by provisions of INEC electoral guidelines, Electoral Act, the constitution of the Federal Republic and extant judgements of various courts in the land.”