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Abdulsalami, Mark, Melaye others laud Osun election amid alleged vote buying  

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, John Akubo, Msugh Ityokura, Ernest Nzor (Abuja) and Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos)
18 July 2022   |   3:08 am
Former Head of State and Chairman, National Peace Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar, yesterday, commended people of Osun State over peaceful conduct of Saturday’s governorship election.

vote buying

Former Head of State and Chairman, National Peace Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar, yesterday, commended people of Osun State over peaceful conduct of Saturday’s governorship election.

Although he noted that the poll was “not devoid of incidents, particularly the scourge that is vote trading,” he, nevertheless, commended the “efforts of all stakeholders who have tirelessly worked, either as ombudsmen or observers or participants to ensure that the elections were conducted according to the rules.”

In a statement, titled: ‘Osun Governorship Election: How Democracy Triumphed Over Violence’, Abubakar called on the winner, Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to be benevolent in victory, urging him and his party to eschew triumphalism that could make peace-building difficult.

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives also congratulated Adeleke over his victory, saying the defeat of a sitting governor underscores the confidence and trust the people repose in Adeleke as a leader with the “desired capacity, integrity, humility, love for the people and political will to lead their state in the right direction.”

On his part, Senate Minority Leader and head of the PDP caucus in the Senate, Philips Aduda, charged Adeleke to use his goodwill, experience, expertise and capacity to ensure people-based and development-oriented programmes that would bring happiness and fulfilment, which, according to him, have eluded Osun State under the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state.

Dino Melaye, a senator who represented Kogi West in the 8th Senate and partly in the 9th, described the victory as a good omen that signposts better outing for the PDP in the 2023 general elections.

He added, in a statement: “The victory is an indication of the confidence of ordinary Nigerians in the ability of PDP to change the narrative and deliver good governance to all.”

Former Senate President, David Mark, described the victory as a gateway for the PDP to reclaim power in 2023.

In a congratulatory message, he praised the people of Osun for remaining steadfast and believing in the capacity of Adeleke to deliver dividends of democracy to them, even as he hoped that the governor-elect would live up to expectation.

MEANWHILE, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has been urged to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons suspected to have violated electoral laws during the election.

The call followed reports of vote buying and bribery in several polling units, particularly by the APC and PDP. In a letter to Yakubu, dated July 16, and signed by Deputy Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the group said vote trading was witnessed in several polling units.

It noted: “Nigerians rely on INEC to curb vote buying, electoral bribery and undue influence in elections. But nothing will ever change if INEC won’t pursue charges against suspected perpetrators and their sponsors.

“If INEC fails to act, vote buying, electoral bribery and undue influence would remain a permanent feature of Nigeria’s elections because corrupt politicians and their sponsors would continue to engage in these criminal acts with impunity.”