AFTER a very testy and keen election, which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, declared as inconclusive, 3, 498 voters drawn from seven polling units across four local councils, will on September 27 determine the winner of the Osun State governorship election.
In what can pass as the tightest governorship election in the annals of elections in the country, the Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ademola Adeleke, polled 254,698 votes while his closest marker, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, of the All Progressives Congress, APC scored 256,345 votes. Adeleke led with 353 votes, which is a far cry from the 3,498 voided votes in Orolu LGA (three units, 947 votes), Ife South (two units, 1,314 votes), Ife North (one unit, 353 votes), and Osogbo (one unit, 884 votes).
Consequently, while announcing the result of the Saturday’s election, yesterday, the electoral umpire said it was inconclusive and ordered a re- run to be conducted on Thursday, September 27 in four council areas where 3,498 votes were voided.
This emerged as the PDP kicked against the re-run and vowed to go to court, insisting that it won the election.
However, the APC agreed with the INEC’s decision and stated its readiness for the re-run.
The outcome of the election elicited reactions from a host of politicians and stakeholders including Senate President Bukola Saraki, Ehiogie West-Idahosa and Lagos lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
Apart from the 3,498 voters, the Social Democratic Party, SDP Candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, who polled 128,049 votes to be on the third position and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yusuff Lasun, who is from the neighbouring lrepodun council area but said to have a firm political grip on Orolu council, are considered as important factors in the September 27 re-run.
There were reports, last night, that Omisore would team up with the PDP in the re-run.
Why poll was inconclusive – INEC
INEC’s returning officer, Prof Adeola Joseph Afuwape, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, explained the reason for the re-run.
Prof Fuwape said at the end of collation of results, Ademola Adeleke of the PDP won majority votes of 254,698 while Gboyega Oyetola of the APC came second with 254,345 votes.
The candidates of SDP polled 128,049 and ADC 7,681 votes.
Fuwape said the margin between Adeleke and Oyetola was not significant enough to declare a winner.
He said: “Since the total number of cancelled votes 3,498 exceeds the difference between the two leading parties (353) it is impossible for me to declare any party as winner.
“As the chief returning officer of the election, the election is hereby declared inconclusive and a rerun is hereby ordered in cancelled local government area of Orolu, lfe North, Ife South and Osogbo.
According to him, seven polling units were affected in the four council areas. They include one polling unit in lfe North, two in lfe South, three in Orolu and one in Osogbo.
The returning officer said that all the 48 political parties will participate in the rerun election in the affected polling booths.
Prof Fuwape said irregularities such as ballot snatching, over voting, cases of card reader malfunctioning and abscondment of electoral officers were recorded and results of affected polling units in the four council areas were cancelled.
INEC official nabbed for tearing results
Reports had it that an Administrative Officer of INEC in Osun State, Salau Mutiu, was, yesterday, arrested for tearing the original final results of the governorship election in Ayedaade council area of the state. the INEC official rushed to the local government where the result of the poll was pasted and tore it.
However, luck ran against him as he was arrested with the torn results sheets.
Unknown to him, agents of the PDP had duplicated the results pasted on the wall, when it was announced at the INEC final collation centre early Sunday morning. The PDP agents raised the alarm that their governorship candidate had been short-changed with 1,000 votes.
According to the agent, the INEC form EC60 result signed by the Commission’s Returning Officer in Ayedaade council area, Prof Ayotunde Adeagbo of FUTA, Akure at the council collation centre was different from what was announced at the final collation centre.
The administrative officer, who later arrived the INEC office was identified and almost lynched but for timely intervention of security officers.
He confessed that he was sent to remove the result sheet pasted on the wall by one Doyin Aderinoye.
The suspect was later whisked away by security operatives present at the INEC collation centre.
APC, PDP supporters tear-gassed at INEC office
Earlier, tension heightened in front of the INEC office at Abere as supporters of the APC and PDP clashed, forcing security officers deployed for the election to shoot several canisters of tear-gas to disperse them.
We’re ready for rerun – APC
Reacting to INEC’s decision, the APC in Osun State, which hailed INEC’s decision said it was ready to participate in the re-run exercise.
The party’s Director of Media, Research and Strategy, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi said: “We agree with INEC’s decision, we are a party that follows the rule of law. That is what the law says and we have no choice than to agree with that because if INEC had not called the election inconclusive, we would have challenged the result. So, we look forward to next Thursday’s re-run election; we are ready and prepared and we know that at the end of the day, we will be victorious.”
Adeleke campaign organisation faults INEC
Earlier, the Adeleke Campaign organisation had warned INEC, not to declare Saturday’s governorship election inconclusive.
In a statement it’s Director, Media and Publicity, Mr. Olawale Rasheed, the Organisation urged INEC to declare the winner of the election.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to reports of an alleged plan to declare the Osun governorship election inconclusive as a plot to order a re-run..We appeal to INEC to toe the path of honour and constitutionality by declaring the rightful candidate with required votes and spread, Ademola Adeleke, the winner of this hotly contested polls.
“We note with high sense of responsibility the intense pressure surrounding Osun election from the beginning. There are times however when one must stand with the people and the law by doing the right thing without fear of favour. Now is the time for INEC to align with Osun people and resist pressure and intimidation to tamper with the will of the people.
“Our democracy is too stressed up to be subjected to another daylight electoral robbery. We reject plan and plot for re-run;a winner has clearly emerged. To INEC chiefs,time is now to announce Senator Nurudeen Ademola as the winner of this historic election.”
Omisore commends SDP members, supporters
Meanwhile, the SDP candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore commended members and supporters of the SDP, for standing by him.
Omisore, in a statement, said: “The past four months have been very exciting. I am delighted that our message of good governance and dignity has reached every corner of the state.
“Over the past four months, I have worked with committed people who have given time and resources to our shared agenda for restoration. I am confident that while we might appear to have lost an election, we have won the greater victory; the clarion call by all our people for good governance and accountability. We have positively impacted on electoral campaigns and elections in Osun state promoting inclusion, people centeredness and shied completely away from vote buying, voter intimidation and thuggery. The SDP campaign was factual, informed and inclusive.”
Political bigwigs in LG areas where re-run’ll take place Orolu LG
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yusuff Lasun who is from the neighbouring lrepodun council area is said to have a firm political grip on Orolu council. His tentacles, according to reports, extend to the council.
Lasun fell out with governor Rauf Aregbesola following the imposition of Gboyega Oyetola by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Osogbo, which is the state capital is the stronghold of the ruling party.
An industrialist, Tunde Badmus and a former APC leader, Fatai Diekola, who left to join the PDP, would join forces with the opposition to give the ruling party a good fight during the rerun.
Ife South Omisore is strong hold. He may decide to bend over backwards to give support to Adeleke during the rerun. However, a leading media mogul, Chief Dele Momodu, in a tweet, yesterday, downplayed the suggestion. According to him, Omisotre told him in a terlephione conversation that no line of communication had been opened with the PDP.
Omisore won in this council area. It is another stronghold of the SDP governorship candidate.
The support of Omisore in the two council areas- Ife North and lfe South would give fillip to the victory of Adeleke in the two councils.
Also, the running mate of Senator Adeleke, Albert Ade-Ogun is from lfe North and is expected to garner votes in the council in support of their ambition.
This is daylight robbery — PDP, asks INEC to declare Adeleke winner
The PDP has rejected the declaration of the Osun state governorship election as inconclusive.
Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, national publicity secretary of the PDP, described the INEC’s declaration as a “sordid robbery of the franchise of the people of the state”, and called on INEC to immediately declare Adeleke the winner.
“Section 179 (2) (a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended), is clear and very unambiguous in spelling out the conditions for returning a candidate to the office of governor of a state,” he said in a statement.
“This section states inter-alia, ‘A candidate for an election to the office of Governor of a State shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being two or more candidates – (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the State.
“It is obvious that having failed in their schemes to alter the final results due to the resistance of the people, the APC had to bear pressure on INEC to declare the election inconclusive so as to pave way for the perfection of their manipulative schemes, which the people of Osun state have firmly resisted so far.
“Instead of yielding to the evil machination of the APC, INEC should have summoned the patriotic courage to immune itself and end this needless controversy by returning the PDP and declare our candidate as the winner.
“It is instructive to state that the PDP will no longer accept inconclusive elections as subterfuge by the APC attain its dubious electoral manipulative schemes in our nation.
“The people of Osun state and the entire nation are already aware that the PDP won this election. They have the authentic figures from the polling units and know the candidate the voters prefer.”
The party said it would not hesitate to use any means available to resist the rigging of the election result.
“The people by their votes, have overwhelmingly declared for our candidate and we are not ready to accept any attempt by anybody to use any means whatsoever to steal our mandate freely given by the people.
“The PDP is for peace, but we will not hesitate to use every force available in a democracy to face any attempt to subvert the will of the people or rig us out in this election.
“The PDP therefore charges the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to avoid the fury of the people by immediately reversing this fraudulent decision of the Resident Electoral Commissioner and declaring our candidate the winner of the election.”
INEC can’t declare Adeleke winner, APC tells PDP
The APC rejected calls by the PDP to be declared the winner of the election.
In the statement signed by acting spokesman of the ruling party, Yekini Nabena, it said; “While we continue to improve on our electoral processes, particularly correcting some irregularities witnessed in Saturday’s election, the APC commends the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which has continually exhibited its commitment to ensuring that elections are more peaceful, transparent, credible and acceptable.
“This is a departure from the situation under past Peoples Democratic Party PDP administrations where the people’s will was subverted and elections where manipulated. We hereby reject the PDP’s baseless calls that the inconclusive Osun governorship election is announced in its favour.
“In the lead-up to the rerun election, we call on the Osun electorate, party supporters and members to remain upbeat and focused on the task of consolidating on the APC Change administration in the state by voting for the victory of our candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.”
Saraki faults INEC
President of the Senate and Chairman, PDP Presidential Council on Osun State Gubernatorial Election, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has faulted the declaration by the INEC that the election results were inconclusive.
Saraki, in a statement signed by him,expressed dismay over the decision by INEC to declare as “inconclusive” an election in which a candidate won the highest number of votes and fulfilled the condition for geographical spread.
“In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled. The decision of INEC to cancel the election in those areas after voting had taken place means INEC had already excluded the votes in these areas from the election process and therefore those units should have no place in the overall results. My opinion would have been different if the election in the affected units did not take place at all, may be as a result of malfunctioning of the card reader machine or unavailability of the electoral materials. Since the voting took place and was cancelled, only the courts could reverse the initial decision by INEC to cancel the votes in these areas.
“That is why I call on our party and its candidate to seek further legal interpretation on this decision by the electoral body. One cannot but wonder whether if the places were reversed and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one leading in the election, the INEC will take the same decision it has taken now.
“At this point, it is necessary to also call on INEC to display courage, boldness, independence, neutrality and patriotism so as to send signals to the world at large that Nigerian electoral system has come of age and that our democracy has matured. The electoral body needs to re-assure all and sundry that the 2019 election and other elections will be free of manipulations and undue interference.
‘’The INEC should note that the Osun gubernatorial election is not only about that South-western state. It is about our country and the entire world is watching. Our national interest is at stake. The integrity of our electoral system is at stake. The reputation of the electoral body is at stake. The future of our democracy is on the line. The way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from our political process. It should therefore ensure that the wish of the Osun State electorate eventually prevail.
Let the people decide their leader – Adegboruwa
Also, reacting, Lagos lawyer, Mr. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, said the Osun Governorship election ‘’is a loud statement from the masses of our people on the fate of our politicians, to say: Enough Is Enough!
‘’So, in any State where the Governor is owing workers salaries, or has performed below expectation, the people should reject him for second term or for Senate and also reject his appointed or anointed successor, whether in PDP or APC.
‘’I however appeal to INEC to conduct itself and its activities with manifest integrity, transparency and honesty. It should not give the wrong impression that it is sympathetic to the ruling or opposition parties.
‘’I further appeal to the people of Osun to allow the Rerun election, mobilize themselves and reassert their will, and tell Nigerians clearly and convincingly, their true choice, as between the two leading contenders for the office of governorship.’’
Meanwhile, former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa yesterday faulted the action of INEC in calling for a re-run saying that cancelled results should remain cancelled on the fact that they were the fault of the voters.
“They are probably relying on their 2015 guidelines which appears contrary to Constitutional provisions on this matter. It may make sense if the votes involved are in relation to centers where elections were not held due to no fault of the voters.
“However, where elections were held and votes are cancelled, they remain cancelled.
“They ought not to form part of the counting process and should not influence the outcome of the elections for any reason whatsoever. In Oshiomhole vs Osunbor & ors, cancelled votes were added to “PDP’s scores. All the courts held that cancelled votes had no role to play in an election. The votes were deducted and Oshomhole was declared winner of the election. Why is INEC giving so much priority to cancelled votes on this occasion. I can’t fathom it. This may be more political than legal.”