The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in the Osun governorship election, Mr. Ademola Adeleke have protested as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, as the governor-elect of the state.
The rerun of the Osun State governorship election was held in seven polling units across four council areas on Thursday Oyetola beating Adeleke.
The returning officer, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, declared that the APC candidate, Oyetola, won the governorship election by scoring a total number of 255,505 votes while Adeleke of the PDP polled 255,023 votes.
This was, however, met with protests by Adeleke, the PDP, and the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), among others.
Adeleke had won the main election on Saturday with 353 votes after polling 254,698 against Oyetola’s 254,345.
On Thursday, both candidates relied on 2,637 votes in the seven units where INEC had declared rerun to win the final contest.
The rerun was held in one polling unit in Oyere in Ife-North, one polling unit in Olode in Ife-South, another polling unit in Osi, Ife-South, three polling units in Orolu, Kajola Local Government Area of the state and one polling unit in Osogbo.
In Oyere, APC had 126 votes while PDP had two votes. In Olode, APC scored 283 votes with the PDP scoring 15 votes. In Osi, APC had 172 votes while the PDP had 21 votes.
In Ifon, Orolu, APC had 111 votes against PDP’s three votes. In Gbogbo, Orolu, APC had 41 while PDP scored 64 votes. Also in Idiya, Orolu, the APC scored 128 votes against the PDP’s 55 votes.
In Osogbo, the APC scored 299 votes while the PDP scored 165 votes. In all, APC scored 1,160 to beat the PDP which scored 325 in the rerun. When added to the result of the main election on Saturday, APC had a total of 255, 505 votes against PDP’s 255,023.
In the run-up to the rerun of the election, the PDP alleged that INEC shortchanged its candidate in some of the council areas by announcing figures that were lower than what Adeleke actually scored.
It claimed that the actual margin of the win against Oyetola in the first election was 4,740 and not 353.
The party said INEC added 2,000 votes to what the APC polled in Osogbo and 1,387 to what it scored in Olorunda.
The party also alleged that 1,000 votes were deducted from what Adeleke scored in the Ayedaade council area.
The candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Iyiola Omisore, who came a distant third in Saturday’s election, however, became an important element in the Thursday’s rerun because some of the polling units fell under the area of his strength.
He was visited by a high powered federal government delegation which included the APC chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, Ogun State governor, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun, his Oyo State counterpart, Mr. Abiola Ajimobi, Ekiti State governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed.
Although he also met some leaders of the PDP, which included the party’s presidential aspirants, Bukola Saraki, and Atiku Abubakar, Omisore caved in under the federal government’s pressure as he announced that he would support the APC in the rerun.
In areas where the rerun was held in Ife-South and Ife-North, PDP supporters alleged that they were barred by thugs from reaching the polling units to cast their votes for Adeleke.
They also alleged that police watched as they were beaten by the thugs, adding that the result of the election did not reflect the wish of the electorate.
Consequently, the national leadership of the PDP met in Abuja on Thursday over the conduct of the rerun governorship election in Osun State.
While rejecting it, the party also said that the Thursday election was one of the worst days in the history of Nigeria.
It described the election as a black day for the nation.
The national chairman of the party, Mr. Uche Secondus, spoke at an emergency meeting after the meeting of members of the PDP national working committee.
He lamented that Osun State was put under siege and the citizens’ right trampled upon by security agents, whom he said were backed by both the APC and INEC officials.
He expressed concern that if what took place in Osun State was what would take place in 2019, then the future of Nigeria’s democracy “is bleak and the nation sliding into crisis.”
“What we have witnessed in Osun shows clearly that the APC was not ready for an election and we are afraid that President Muhammadu Buhari will not hand over if he loses the election next year.
“Today, we are all aware of the rerun election in Osun State as we address the press conference. We, the members of the National Working Committee, have reviewed what has happened from the distribution of materials to the actual voting in some of the units and wards.
“We found that Osun is under siege. Therefore, today is a black day for Nigeria.
“We would think that it is a state or some units, but if you look at what has transpired so far from Ekiti to Osun State, Nigerians are groaning in pains especially the Osun people.
“The right of the citizens to be able to come out and vote had been trampled upon and the entire state and the wards and units have been seized by the security agencies who were acting on behalf of the APC to make sure the election is rigged by all means.
“We are sad that if this is what is going to take place in 2019, then the future of Nigeria’s democracy is bleak and we are sliding into crisis.”
Secondus challenged INEC to rise above what happened in Osun and declare the PDP candidate as the winner of the election.
He also called on the commission to immediately cancel the elections in all the units where security agencies seized the permanent voter cards of PDP members and also where their members were prevented from voting.
In his reaction, the deputy national chairman (South-West), Dr Eddy Olafeso, noted that security agents colluded with the APC people by allowing those wearing uniform bearing the APC governorship name to vote.
He alleged that in Orolu and Garage Olode and some of the units, the PVCs of PDP members were seized and INEC members of staff were induced with cash, which he said they could not refuse.
Meanwhile, vowed to retrieve his ‘stolen mandate’ from Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC at the election petition tribunal.
Adeleke said this while speaking in an interview with journalists shortly before the final figure was announced by the Returning Officer, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, on Thursday.
PDP candidate, who spoke through his brother, Dele Adeleke, said he would meet with the party leadership and tribunal would be the next step for the party and the candidate to take.
“It will be foolish to allow this 419 result to stand. The party will meet and I believe that the tribunal is the next step to take.
“Adeleke’s mandate can’t be stolen, it will be retrieved. The wish of the people will stand at the end,” he said.
However, the APC said the PDP is crying foul over the result of the Osun State governorship rerun election because of the inability of the opposition party to rig the poll.
The APC said this in a statement issued on by its director of publicity, research and strategy in Osun State, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi.
The APC spokesperson said that the opposition party made an elaborate arrangement to rig the poll but were prevented from carrying out the act.
“Osun people have spoken. The PDP was unable to manipulate the result this time around, so they are crying foul. We have always known and have made ourselves clear before the election that the PDP had made elaborate arrangements to rig the election through the manipulation of the card readers and it was this process that made them got the votes allocated to them in the first ballot.
“Nobody expected the PDP to even come second. Most people in Osun have the belief that it would be a straight fight between the APC and SDP. But as God would have it, Osun was saved from the vultures.
“We will like the Osun people to understand that the runoff votes went the way it did because the PDP was unable to manipulate the card readers this time around and fortunately the police thwarted their plot of vote-buying and trying to use the PVCs of unsuspecting voters. That was why some of their leaders were arrested. So the PDP should look for other excuses.
“They attempted to win by fraud; they failed in the first round and eventually lost the rerun election,” he said.
Also reacting, the senate president and PDP presidential aspirant, D. Bukola Saraki described the election as a total sham and the biggest electoral fraud in the history of the country.
Saraki, who spoke in Kaduna during his electioneering called for the cancellation of the result, especially in view of the complaints made about the supplementary election.
Saraki accused the APC of rigging the election, stressing that Adeleke ought to have been declared the winner by INEC on Sunday.
This, he said, is because Adeleke had polled the highest number of votes based on the vote count on Sunday.
With Punch report