…as voters openly sell votes
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Dare Fasube, Shina Abubakar & Miftaudeen Raji
Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the early hours of today, emerged the winner of Osun State governorship election.
Adeleke beat his closest rival, Governor Gboyega Oyetola, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to emerge winner.
The election was held across the 30 local government areas of the state amid tight security with political parties adopting new methods of vote-buying.
It also witnessed huge turnout of voters as the electorate trooped out enmass to cast their votes.
Interestingly, as of press time, there was no record of violence.
Whereas the Osun State chapter of the PDP claimed victory in the election, last night, affirming that collated results from polling units confirmed its emerging victory, the ruling APC said the claim was capable of setting the state on fire.
The candidates, who took part in yesterday’s exercise, besides Oyetola and Adeleke, include a former Adeleke of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun, of the Labour Party; Dr Oyegoke Omigbodun of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and Dr Akin Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party.
Others are Munirudeen Atanda of the Action Democratic Party, ADP; Lukman Awoyemi of Allied Peoples’ Movement , APM, and Busuyi Ayowole of Peoples Redemption Party, PRP.
Oyetola, Adeleke, Akande, Omisore, others win polling units
Major political actors secured victory at their respective polling units.
As the result of the election trickled in, Oyetola won his polling unit.
Oyetola scored 545 votes against PDP’s 69.
His main rival, Adeleke, polled 218 at his polling unit in Ede-North against APC’s 23.
Similarly, a former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, won his Unit 012, Ward 4 in Isedo 1 in Ila-Orangun.
APC scored 140 while the PDP polled 117 there.
The National Secretary of the APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore, won his Polling Unit 003, Ward 1 in Ife East Local Government Area of the state.
The APC scored 192 while the PDP scored 168 there.
While the Osun State chapter of the PDP claimed victory in the governorship election as results trickled in, last night, affirming that collated results from the polling units confirmed PDP’s emerging victory at the poll, the ruling APC said the claim was capable of setting the state on fire.
A statement issued by the Caretaker Chairman of the PDP in the state, Dr Akindele Adekunle, said that “the party has secured majority as well as more than two third spread across the 30 local governments and area office.”
Adekunle noted that “the victory of the party at the poll is a product of mass mobilisation and grand coalition of people of Osun State against bad governance and insensitive leadership”.
He thanked the “people of Osun State for endorsing and affirming Ademola Adeleke’s governorship bid, the party sternly warns against any attempt to tamper with the result of the election.
“We want to assert that Ademola Adeleke has won this election overwhelmingly going by results at our disposal. We warn against any plot by some agents of chaos to doctor the results”.
But the Director General of the Campaign Council of Oyetola’s re-election, Senator Ajibola Basiru, described as “irresponsible the claim by the PDP that it has won the election which result is still being collated as we speak”.
In a statement issued in Osogbo, Basiru said: “The claim by the PDP was capable of setting Osun on fire.
“We warn the PDP to desist from making a frivolous and unsubstantiated claim about an election, which, as we speak, voting is still going on in some areas”.
Basiru called on the security agencies to take appropriate action in dealing decisively with the peddlers of false claim as they are setting the stage for violence and chaos.
“It has come to our knowledge that the PDP in a statement is already claiming victory for an election whose result is yet to be declared. We are not surprised at their claim because we know their antics”, he stated.
“Going by the result so far declared, there was no way PDP could lay claim to any victory. This is more so that in one of the Local Governments where the PDP candidate hails voting is still going on as we speak.
“Therefore, the PDP’s claim is tantamount to standing logic on its head. We appeal to our supporters and sympathisers in Osun and across the country to remain calm in the face of this obvious provocation.
“While we won’t do what the desperate people in the opposition PDP did by usurping the powers of INEC, we are however confident that with the positive results from the field at our disposal, the people’s support for Gov Oyetola will ultimately give him victory when the authority legally empowered to announce election results does so and he is declared Governor-elect.”
I’m confident of victory—Oyetola
Speaking immediately after casting his vote at Oloti Ward 1 Unit 2, around 11am, Oyetola expressed confidence of being re-elected.
He said APC will be re-elected by the people owing to his tremendous achievements in the last three and a half years in office.
Oyetola said: “I am very confident that I will be re-elected by the electorate, today, and by God’s Grace I will be celebrating the victory this evening.”
I’m confident of winning—Adeleke
On his part, the PDP candidate expressed confidence of winning the election.
Speaking after casting his vote at Ward 2 Polling Unit 009, Sagba/Abogunde in Ede North Local Government Area of the state, the PDP candidate also commended the INEC for improving on the electoral process.
Asked about INEC’s performance so far, Adeleke said: “It is fantastic. I think INEC has improved. They can do better but they have improved and I must give them credit.”
When asked if he has heard any case of vote-buying, he said: “It is still early. I have not heard of any case and we hope nothing like that happens because we want this election to be a point of contact for 2023. The world is watching and this election is going to be a test case. So, let Osun people decide who they want.
“We met with INEC and they assured us that this election will not be like that of Ekiti. They promised that this election is going to be transparent, peaceful, free and fair.”
He, however, expressed confidence that he will emerge winner of the election, saying, “I am not afraid, I am confident of winning the election.”
Exercise too slow—Ogunbiyi
Separately, the governorship candidate of the Accord Party, Ogunbiyi, declared that he would win the election convincingly.
Ogunbiyi, in a chat with newsmen after voting at his Unit 003, Ward 05 in Methodist Primary School, Ileogbo, Ayedire council area, however, expressed concern that the exercise was too slow.
“I will win this election convincingly no doubt about it.
“I am not entertaining any fear because I have done my homework and highlighted the programmes I have for the good people of Osun state.
“But I discovered that the exercise here is too slow. The INEC officials here told me that only 35 persons have voted as at past 10am and we have over 500 eligible voters in the ward.
“They need to step up the process. We don’t want to start hearing that voting will stop by 3pm thereby disenfranchising so many voters. They need to put in more efforts and be fast about it.
“The reports I got from across the state showed massive turn out of voters and that the exercise is peaceful, orderly and without violence as at this morning”.
Massive turn out
The election witnessed massive turn-out of voters in major towns across Osun.
In Ede, Osogbo, Olorunda, Shekona, Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Obokun, Ila, Iragbiji, Iwo and Ejigbo, voters left their houses as early as 7am to check their names on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, register pasted at the respective polling units.
Early arrival of INEC staff, voting materials
Officials of INEC, including NYSC members, arrived the polling units as early as 6:30am and were seen at their duty posts.
The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, was deployed at each of the polling units.
Though there were glitches at the early stage of voting, INEC officials were able to address the situation.
Combined security operatives including the army, navy, police, civil defence, immigration, road safety, NDLEA, DSS, and fire service, were deployed for the election.
They were able to maintain law and order in the various polling units across the state.
Also, some security agents, stationed at flash points and strategic areas were seen frisking vehicles.
Police helicopter provided aerial surveillance of the three senatorial districts as they were seen going round from time to time.
NSCDC on peaceful conduct
The acting Commander-General of the NSCDC, Fasiu Adeyinka, who spoke during his visit to St. Gabriel Primary School Yemoo, Moore, Wards 3 and 4, Polling Units 003 and 004, in Ile-Ife commended voters for being calm, cool and easy going in all polling units he visited.
New methods of vote-buying
A dimension in vote-buying was witnessed in yesterday’s exercise as politicians in Osun devised means of inducing prospective voters to support their parties.
Sunday Vanguard observed that vote-buying was more discreet and methodical unlike the open style that was witnessed during the governorship poll in Ekiti State last month.
In Osun, vote-buyers and sellers devised ways of avoiding the prying eyes of security agencies especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The new techniques were noticed in some polling units along Aregbe-Olaiya axis of the Ogo Oluwa-Abere Road of Osogbo and Ede including a polling unit, very close to the new flyover constructed by the present administration at Olaiya area of Osogbo.
The new methods included assigning somebody to stay at a place close to the voting stand and monitorimg voters.
Once it was confirmed that a vote-seller had voted for a preferred party of the vote-buyers, he or she would be directed to a nearby place to write his or her name.
Thereafter, a tally would be given to the person which was later used to collect money from the vote-buyers.
The persons that had the cash with them would stay in a corner and some members of the team loitered carefully around the place to prevent intruders.
The name writers recruited for the purpose are mostly young ladies.
Voting for highest bidders
Similarly, in most polling units in Osogbo and Olorunda local government areas, many voters cast their votes for the highest bidders as it was gathered that a vote cost as much as N10,000 in the state capital.
A voter (name withheld) in Unit 35 said: “I was offered N7,000 by APC but when PDP gave N10, 000 I decided to vote for the party.
“Many of us took the N10,000 and voted PDP. It is wrong for the APC to offer us a lesser amount being the party in power.”
It was a similar situation at Ward 8, Units 11, 35, 38 as voters received as much as N10,000 to cast votes for any of the two leading parties.
In Odo-Otin, votes were sold for N5,000 by the PDP and APC.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, said both parties were neck-and-neck seeking voters’ favour with the said amount.
The voter said: “In most of the units, the people were left with no choice than to collect N5,000 and vote for a candidate of their choice since both parties offered the same amount.”
Some agents approached us with N5,000, N2,000— Voters
In some polling units around Osogbo, a voter, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, said some party agents approached them for negotiation.
The voter, who cast his vote at Agunbelawo along Okinni Ilobu road in Osogbo, said: “Some party agents approached us and told us they were going to give us N2,000 each if we voted for their party. “Another party agent told us they would give us N5,000 if we voted for them. Some people agreed to collect from the highest bidder, while others said they would vote for their preferred candidate.”
Another voter, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard at Ward 4, PU004 CAC Primary School, Shekona in Ede South Local Government Area of Osun State, said they were asked to write down their names before casting their votes.
Inducement of voters was witnessed at Service Area of Osogbo as a voter told Sunday Vanguard that party agents were giving between N5,000 and N10,000 to influence voters’ choice.
Voters requested money before voting— Odeyemi, PDP chieftain
Speaking on vote-buying, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Diran Odeyemi, said some voters requested money from political parties before casting their votes warning that the trend, if not curbed, could affect the country’s democratic process.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard after casting his vote at Polling Unit 002, NUD Primary School in Ibokun, Obokun local government area of Osun State, Odeyemi said there were demands by voters during the exercise.
EFCC arrests 3 for vote-buying
To curb inducement of voters, operatives of the EFCC went round some polling units in Osun State to monitor the election.
Six of their officials were seen at Unit 1, Ward 1 Olotin area of Iragbiji in Boripe council area of the state.
The leader of the team, a female, declined interview when approached.
When pressed further, she said that they were monitoring the exercise and no arrest had been made on vote buying. The commission, however, arrested three persons for engaging in the act.
The suspects include Jimoh Kazeem, Adeyemo Bahir and Abidogun Ismail.
The suspects were arrested by officials of the EFCC at Polling Unit 002, Ward 2, Ababu, Isale Osun in Osogbo. It was gathered that the suspects were caught with bags of cash as they were “inducing voters” during the electioneering process.
One of them was said to have also kept money in his socks.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that in some of the polling units, the APC agents “rewarded” voters with cash between N5,000 and N10,000 after casting their votes, while the PDP gave N4,000 and above to voters after forcing them to swear to an oath in confirmation that they voted for the candidate of the party.