The Peoples Democratic Party and other stakeholders protested on Sunday after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the Osun State governorship election inconclusive.
The commission also fixed the rerun poll in the seven polling units where election result was cancelled for Thursday, September 27, 2018.
Although the candidate of the PDP, Senator Ademola Adeleke scored 254,698 votes to beat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress who polled 254,345 votes, INEC said Adeleke could not be declared the winner because the number of votes cancelled – 3,498, was higher than 353 by which the PDP candidate defeated Oyetola.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Akure, announced the result on Sunday.
The candidate of the ADP, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti scored 49,742, while the ADC candidate, Alhaji Fatai Akinabade, polled 7,681 votes.
The returning officer said, “We must note that during the presentation by the collation officers from different local government areas, we had issues in some polling units.
“There was an issue at the Orolu Local Government Area. There was a problem of ballot box snatching and 393 votes were cancelled. At unit 004 of the same Orolu LGA, there was also an issue of snatching of ballot box and 387 votes were cancelled. At Registration Area 9 unit 003 there were 167 registered voters. So, for Orolu LGA where there was cancellation, we had 947 registered voters.
“At Ife South LGA, there was also cancellation of election due to the problem of card reader malfunctioning at unit 010 where there were 502 registered voters.
“At Oyere in Ife North LGA, we also had cancellation of election. Fifty one people were accredited but there were 200 votes that were cast, with that, there was cancellation due to irregularities of over voting. Number of registered voters at that unit 02 is 353. In Osogbo at Unit 017, there was issue of absconding of the presiding officer; to this effect, the election there was cancelled. The number of registered voters was 884. So, the total number of registered voters at the polling units where the electoral officer cancelled is 3,498.
“We should recall that early this morning we presented reasons why a candidate could be returned or may not be returned.
“From the analysis of the result we had, the difference between the two major parties is 353 votes and the number of voters in units where elections were cancelled is 3,498.
“As a Returning Officer, it is not possible to declare any party as the clear winner of this election on the first ballot. I, Prof. Joseph Fuwape declare this election inconclusive.”
Earlier, the collation was temporarily suspended because of the rejection of the election results from some local government areas, including Ayedaade, Osogbo; Ife East.
The Chairman of the PDP in the state, Mr Soji Adagunodo, and Adeleke’s brother, Dele Adeleke, and some party leaders said they discovered discrepancies in some of the results.
An INEC official was also said to have been caught tearing the result of the Ayedaade LGA.
The man, who allegedly claimed that he was instructed to change the figure by one of his superiors was brought to the INEC premises in Osogbo and our correspondents observed that he was crying.
Some agents of the opposition parties warned INEC against falsifying election results in favour of the APC candidate.
The agents of the Restoration Party of Nigeria and Kowa Party, Mr Tosin Odeyemi and Miss Opeyemi Oladunjoye respectively said the election had been going on smoothly until some discrepancies were noticed in the results from some local government areas.
They called on the electoral umpire to do the right thing and avoid needless crisis.
Meanwhile, the APC has called on the voters in the polling units where rerun poll will be held to resist any attempt by the PDP to buy their conscience.
The Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in Osun State, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, said in a statement, adding that the ruling party would win on Thursday.
“It is providential. Osun has been miraculously saved from the savage jaws of the evil that could have befallen it if the monstrosity called the PDP had won the election.
“Now that Osun has been given a second chance to escape from the calamity it almost fell into, the people of Osogbo, Orolu, Ife South and Ife North now have the enormous task to save the state from predator-politicians.
“On Thursday, September 27, that is the mission that they have.
“We therefore call on all citizens in these polling areas to sacrifice everything they can on that day to become the great heroes and heroines of our beloved state.”
PDP rejects INEC’s verdict
However, the national leadership of the PDP rejected the inconclusive declaration of the Osun election by INEC.
The party said its candidate, Adeleke, must be declared as the winner of the election, adding that the process was conclusive.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, at a conference in Abuja on the election said the party “rejects in its entirety the INEC’s declaration of the September 22, 2018 Osun State Governorship election as inconclusive.”
Ologbondiyan explained that “Adeleke, who won a total of 254, 698 votes as against the APC candidate, Oyetola with 254,345, is in clear lead and should be immediately declared winner by INEC,” having met the requirements of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Ologbondiyan said, “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.
“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.’
“The declaration of the election as inconclusive by INEC is therefore a sordid robbery of the franchise of the people of Osun State who participated in the election.
“It is obvious that having failed in its 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 the 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 declaring our candidate as the winner.
“It is instructive to state that the PDP will no longer accept inconclusive elections as subterfuge by the APC to attain its dubious electoral manipulative schemes in our nation.”
The PDP spokesman warned that even though PDP was for peace, the party would 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 of this election.”
Ologbondiyan called on 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. Anything short of this is definitely not acceptable to the PDP and the people of Osun and it is a direct recipe for crisis.”
Asked if the party would go to court, Ologbondiyan said all options were being considered, including going to court and participating in the supplementary election scheduled for Thursday.
He pointed out that when APC won the bye elections in Bauchi and Katsina states with numbers of voided votes, the ruling party candidates were still declared by INEC as winners.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, also described the decision taken by INEC as shameless.
He alleged that INEC took instructions from the APC by declaring the result as inconclusive when he said it was obvious that the PDP candidate won.
Also, the Osun State Chairman of the PDP, Mr Soji Adagunodo on Sunday faulted the INEC decision, insisting that Adeleke fulfilled all requirements to be declared the winner.
Adagunodo said, “We therefore condemn the decision of INEC not to declare our candidate the winner of the election despite fulfilling all stipulated constitutional and legal requirements.”
The state PDP alerted Nigerians that the alleged plot to declare the election inconclusive was pre-planned and orchestrated by INEC in collaboration with the APC.
He said by declaring the election inconclusive, INEC deliberately thwarted people’s will.
He said, “The whole world saw how our candidate was denied victory in a hotly contested election. In that election, we fought against the multiple forces of state deployed against us.”
He said the party will look at all the options and do what would benefit Osun people.
The state PDP boss commended the people of Osun State.
“However, it is not over. The battle to chase away the slave drivers is not complete. Let us guide our loins for the last onslaught.”
INEC dancing naked in market place – Kogi PDP
In its reaction, the Kogi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party says INEC is dancing naked in the market place.
In a statement on Sunday by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Bode Ogunmola, the PDP in Kogi State accused INEC of double standard.
He explained that same was the situation in the Lokoja federal constituency bye election when the APC candidate was declared the winner.
Ogunmola said, “The world is watching INEC. It will be difficult for it to hide behind a finger as it has shown that it is biased.”
The Kogi State PDP urged the party in Osun State to remain focused even in the midst of the attempt to manipulate its victory.
He described the declaration of the election as inconclusive as a postponement of the evil day by the APC.
Also, the African Democratic Congress said on Sunday that the Osun electoral process was affected by systemic challenges, calling for a conclusion of the election in the “interest of our nation.”
The ADC National Publicity Secretary, Mrs Yemi Kolapo, said the electoral challenges were a major threat to democracy.
She said, “We have always been concerned about the systemic challenges affecting the electoral process, which have become a major threat to our democracy. That was why we instituted the Coalition for Electoral Integrity to help in detoxifying the electoral environment.
“We are committed in our pursuit and we just want the Osun election to be concluded so that we can do the needed conversation in the interest of our nation.”
APC appeals to Osun people
However, the APC on Sunday told its supporters in Osun State to remain calm and keep faith with the party as it prepared for the rerun election.
The acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, said this on the telephone to one of our correspondents.
He said, “We appeal to all our supporters in Osun State to remain calm as we go back to the drawing board to prepare for the rerun election.
“As a party, we also plead with the people of the state to continue to be peaceful and support the APC to return in order to conclude the good work it has started in the state.”
PDP will resist attempt to steal its victory – Atiku
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, in his reaction, called on INEC not to tamper with the will of the Osun people on the choice of their governor.
He said he was sure that the people of the state were behind Adeleke, adding that the opposition party would win the election on Thursday.
Atiku, who is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, stated this in Abuja on Sunday.
He also said that the PDP would resist any attempt by the APC to steal the “expected victory of our candidate, Adeleke” on Thursday.
He said, “The people of Osun State have freely given their mandate to Senator Adeleke and the PDP and I urge INEC to resist any temptation to be used to tamper with the will of the people of Osun State.
“The attempt by the APC to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat will be resisted with every legitimate and democratic means.
“What has happened in Osun State is a turning point and our people have spoken and democracy is safe. INEC must do the needful.”
Makinde disagrees with INEC
A governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party in Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, on Sunday said the reasons given by INEC for declaring the governorship election in Osun State inconclusive were unacceptable.
He said INEC only played a game dictated by some politicians who were afraid of the PDP coming to power in the state.
He said, “Adeleke won the election; INEC must have buckled under pressure from desperate politicians whose cupboards are filled with filth.
“The decision by the election umpire is a disservice to democracy and will not stand the test of time. Such miscarriage of justice will not be allowed to happen in Oyo State.”
Makarfi hails orderly conduct of poll
A PDP presidential aspirant, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, however, commended the people of Osun State for the peaceful conduct of the election.
Makarfi urged Adeleke and his supporters not to relent until the APC reign of terror in the state was brought to an end.
He also called on the INEC and security agencies to strive harder in order to instill confidence on Nigerians ahead of the 2019 general elections.
A statement by Makarfi’s media aide, Mukhtar Sirajo, in Kaduna on Sunday, read in part, “It is the belief of Senator Makarfi that the long suffering people of Osun State, who have had to endure a harrowing experience more than seven years in the hands of the current APC administration, more than three of which were spent with either half salary or no salary by the workforce, until the recent deceitful election-period bailout, have grown wiser and will rally round to ensure that such horrible experience is consigned to the dustbin of history by successfully completing the task they started on Saturday.”
APC unpopular among Nigerians – Junaid
Also, a Second Republic lawmaker and northern elder statesman, Dr Junaid Mohammed, said the Osun election showed that the APC-led government was no longer popular among Nigerians “because of the insecurity and economic hardship in the country.”
Junaid said the Osun election was reminiscent of what might obtain in the 2019 general elections.
He said, “My belief is that the APC has become too arrogant and too reliant on corruption rather than performance to win an election.
“There is a trend emerging in the South-West and that is going to manifest in other parts of the country – from the South to the Middle Belt and to the North – the APC is no longer the predominant party of this country.
“The ridiculous government policies and other misgivings have not given the ruling party any edge in the states. Therefore, 2019 is very open.”
INEC decision right – ex-Deputy NBA chair
However, the immediate-past Second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani, said INEC was justified in law to declare the election inconclusive.
But he added that he was not sure whether or not the cancellation of those votes that warranted the planned rerun was justified.
“Since the difference in the number of votes between the two leading candidates of the PDP and the APC was less than the cumulative number of registered voters in the units where votes were cancelled, INEC, by law, has the power to declare the election inconclusive.
“In the Osun election, the leading candidate had 353 votes more than the APC candidate.
“The figure is less than the over 3,000 registered voters in the units where the election was cancelled.
“But whether or not the votes were justifiably cancelled is another question.”
Exclusion: NRM says Osun poll a stillbirth
The National Rescue Movement has protested against the exclusion of its candidate in the Osun State governorship election, describing it as a stillbirth and exercise in futility.
The party said INEC unlawfully excluded its candidate, Ms Jumoke Lawoyin, despite the fact that the commission witnessed the primary.
The NRM in a statement in Jos on Sunday by its lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, said it would urge the court to set aside the election “as consequence of the illegal exclusion of a duly presented candidate.”
He said, “All efforts made to ensure that INEC do the needful was abortive as INEC went ahead to conduct the election without correcting the anomaly.
“Presently, a pre-election matter is before the Federal High Court in respect of the matter and a petition will be filed to set aside the election as a consequence of the illegal exclusion of a duly presented candidate of NRM.”