March 23, 2023

Guber poll: Suspend Ogun REC now, group tells INEC Chairman


By Miftaudeen Raji

A group of Ogun indigenes has called for the suspension of the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ogun State, Niyi Ijalaye, over the outcome of the Saturday March 18th governorship election in the state.

The group, under the aegis of the Ogun Assembly of Patriots International, API on Thursday  accused the State Returning Officer, Prof Kayode Adebowale of alleged impunity during the collation and announcement of results.

Adebowale, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, had on Sunday announced Dapo Abiodun, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship poll.

According to him, the polled a total of 276,298 votes to defeat Ladi Adebutu, the candidate  opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 262,383.

Addressing newsmen on Thursday, the Secretary of API, Olasunkanmi Odukale, described the outcome of the election as tragic and disheartening.

Odukale accused the REC and some Local Government Electoral Officers of favouring the APC candidate.

According to him, the election result was declared in total disregard to the margin of lead principle between the winner and his closest rival in the election.

He called on the INEC Chairman, Prof Yakubu Mahmood “to put the impunity to check and save the nation’s democracy from annihilation.”

The Secretary also called for a rerun in areas where elections were disrupted in the Saturday gubernatorial poll in accordance with dictates of the law.

Odukale requested that “a rerun be held immediately in areas where elections were disrupted in the Saturday 18th Ogun State gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections, to uphold the rule of law. 

“That the REC in Ogun be suspended immediately, and investigations instituted for offences ranging from colluding with others to suppress voters in Sagamu. 

“That the Electoral Officers in Ado-Odo/Ota, Ifo, Imeko/Afon, and Obafemi/Owode be suspended immediately and an investigation instituted to determine the extent of their involvement in election results.”

The group said it believes that “it is only when these issues are addressed accordingly that justice and respect for the rule of law would have been seen to have to have been strictly adhered to.”

He pleaded that, “INEC as an unbiased umpire should obey the electoral act and its own guidelines. 

“The commission should not be selective about states where laws should be obeyed. After all, it is the same law for all elections across the federation.”

Meanwhile, reacting, Ijalaye said all he did during the election was in accordance to the law.

The Ogun REC said, “They have their own opinion, but all I know is that, I did what was in accordance to the law. 

“Their request is directed to the Chairman, so the Chairman will take appropriate decision,” he said.