Opposition decries APC’s desperation, wants Adeleke declared winner
Some opposition political parties that took part in the recent gubernatorial election in Osun State alongside well meaning citizens have vowed to resist any attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare anything short of their expectation in the scheduled rerun election. They urged the commission to declare candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke winner of the election since he polled majority of lawful votes cast and two-third spread across the 30 local government councils.
The parties reacted against insinuations that the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently working out modalities in collaboration with the presidency, security agencies and the commission to manipulate the rerun poll scheduled for Thursday to favour its standard bearer, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola.
Adeleke defeated Oyetola by a margin of 353 votes in the exercise, which was declared inconclusive by the Returning Officer, Prof. Joseph Adeola Fiwape, based on some technical grounds.
Former PDP Deputy National Chairman and leader of the party in Lagos, Chief Olabode George, said the electorate in Osun has spoken in what was adjudged as a free, fair and peaceful election to choose Adeleke as its next governor.
George described the poll as a clear, unambiguous victory well earned by the candidate of the PDP and its candidate, saying: “It is rather disturbing for the INEC to now concoct an unnecessary stalemate. Cancelled votes remain cancelled, removed from the total votes. Where then did they manufacture a so-called inconclusive election? It has no bearing with our electoral law. It is a blatant fraud, which may trigger a dangerous course for our democracy.
“Adeleke fulfilled all the necessary electoral requirements for his well deserved victory. There is no extant electoral stipulation for a so-called rerun, farcical dramatization.”
He stated that the electoral commission must, as a matter of justice, fairness and the rule of law and constitutional primacy, declare Senator Adeleke as the rightful winner.
“The will of the people must prevail,” he said. “We must not conflagrate this nation.
The dark experience of 1963 that reverberated across the South-West and that eventually consumed our nation began with this similar attempt to thwart the will of the people. This nation must never go through this road again. The whole world is watching. We must not set this country ablaze. The agents of doom and destruction must never prevail.”
Also, the National Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr. Tanko Yusuf, urged Nigerians to be vigilant about the ploy of the ruling party to manipulate the result to suit its candidate, adding: “The declaration of Osun poll as inconclusive by INEC, where a winner clearly emerged, was a recipe for anarchy. Once the winner scored majority of votes and also satisfied the regulations of the Electoral law of two-third in each of the local governments, he should have been declared.
“This is not about the PDP but the fact that the ruling party is desperate to foist itself on Nigerians even when they were rejected through the ballot. It is important that all stakeholders should look at the law for interpretation before going for the rerun otherwise this is a pointer to what we are likely going to get in 2019.”
In their own reaction, Chairman, Lagos chapter, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Mr. Abiodun Dabiri, said the winner of the election should be declared without further delay since he satisfied the electoral guidelines. Dabiri said as far as the election was free, fair and peaceful with a winner having majority of the vote cast there was no need for cancellation.
He urged Nigerians to be ready because the Osun governorship election was a pointer to the fact that the ruling party may want to hang onto power beyond 2019, stressing, “We should focus more on APC’s desperation instead of INEC.”
National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetimma, said the outcome of the Osun election was a great pointer to “what we are going to face in the next general election,” saying, Nigerians are watching.
But from across Osun State, most especially in Osogbo and parts of Iwo and Iragbiji, indications emerged on the possibility of violent reaction if the rerun election is by any way tailored to favour an unpopular candidate.
When The Guardian interacted with residents at Osogbo Garage yesterday, majority of the traders and commercial vehicle, operators said they were fed up with the APC style of leadership and needed a change.