By Clinton Akaeze
The National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu broke down in tears at the Oshogbo head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Adeleke, won Saturday’s governorship poll at the expense of the ruling party’s Isiaka Oyetola, National Pilot was reliably informed, last night.
According to an impeccable source at the Oshogbo head office of INEC, Tinubu was said to have been jolted by Saturday’s result.
This medium was also made privy to last minute efforts by some politicians at the electoral commission’s office to manipulate votes in order to bring about the declaration of the election as inconclusive.
After a tension soaked electoral battle that featured three principal gladiators from PDP (Adeleke) APC’s Oyetola, and Social Democratic Party, SDP’s standard bearer, Iyiola Omisore, the leading opposition candidate won the election by a margin of 353 from its total result of 254,698 votes as against the APC candidate’s 254, 345.
But INEC curiously announced that the election was inconclusive and justified the call by stating that in as much as the number of votes cancellation is more than the winning margin, no winner can be declared. This, according to the electoral umpire, means that there will be a rerun set for 27, September. But the newspaper was reliably informed that Tinubu, along with a retinue of party stalwart had stormed the Osogbo head office of INEC and was spotted railing and begging INEC officials to do everything to halt what appeared to be an impending defeat for the party at the polls. “I must not be put to shame,” Tinubu was reported to have said, with tears reportedly streaming down his face.
The poll had at the early stages recorded upsets which saw outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbeshola, lose his own polling unit in Ilesha; ditto, too, the former national chairman of the ruling party, Bisi Akande, who was also defeated in his stronghold by PDP.Some observers and party agents allege that votes were pulled from PDPs tally to reduce the overall score of the leading opposition party which, according to the newspaper’s sources, led to the outcome where INEC declared the election as inconclusive. This claim was further corroborated by an incident where an INEC staff reportedly caught after pulling out and destroying about 1, 000 ballot papers representing votes from PDP in the polling area. The officer was arrested, though. INEC, however, has not made any categorical statement on the matter.
While INEC has said that it is going ahead with rerun of the election, PDP, from its national headquarters in Abuja has stated that it intends to challenge the electoral commission. According to Kola Ologbodiyan, Publicity Secretary of the PDP, in a statement made available to National Pilot, the party has rejected the rerun as called for by INEC. The PDP insists that the process was conclusive and that its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, who won a total of 254, 698 votes, is in clear lead and should be immediately declared winner by INEC, having met the requirements of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Similarly, West Idahosa, a lawyer and politician also stated that INEC decision amounts to placing its own simple guidelines ahead of the constitution. “INEC declared the election as inconclusive because the difference in votes is less than the number of cancelled votes. They are probably relying on their 2015 guidelines which appear contrary to Constitutional provisions on this matter.
“It may make sense if the votes involved are in relation to centers were 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,” he said.
Idahosa further provided a precedent to back his claim. “In Oshiomhole vs Osunbor & others, 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,” stated Idahosa.
Seek legal redress, Saraki tells PDP, Adeleke
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the Osun governorship election, Ademola Adeleke to seek legal redress following the pronouncement of the election as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday.
Adeleke, had polled 254,699 ahead of Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had 254,345 votes.
But INEC’s returning officer, Joseph Fuwape, said a winner could not emerge because the number of cancelled votes, 3,498, exceeded the difference between the two leading parties (353).
In a statement he personally signed on Sunday, the Senate President said INEC has no justification not to declare the PDP candidate winner.
Saraki, who is the chairman of the PDP council for the governorship election in the state, said the Osun poll is not about the people but the country.
“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,” the senate president said.
“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. I praise the dedication and hard work of PDP supporters and the candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke. They have remained steadfast, resilient, focused and determined.
“Let me also commend all the other contestants in yesterday’s election for their gallant efforts because it is clear they are all working for the same objective from different perspectives and platforms to ensure that the era of mis-governance, pain, injustice and insensitivity to the plight of the common people comes to an end. It is our hope that they will all co-operate with Senator Adeleke to ensure that Osun state witnesses a development-oriented era.
Saraki thanked the PDP supporters and people of Osun who stayed up all night, both physically and on social media to monitor the numbers and protect their votes adding that, “We remain undeterred and we all remain determined to ensure that Senator Ademola Adeleke becomes the next governor of Osun State.”
Similarly, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, in a statement yesterday urged the people of the state not to be cowed while also urging the electoral commission to resist any temptation to be used to tamper with the will of the people of Osun.
This is daylight robbery – PDP asks INEC to declare candidate winner
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the declaration of the Osun State governorship election as inconclusive describing it as disgusting robbery of the franchise of the people of the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the election inconclusive, saying the requirement for a winner to emerge on first ballot was not met.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the declaration as a “sordid robbery of the franchise of the people of the state”, calling 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 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.”
Similarly, popular musician, David Adeleke, better known as Davido, has accused INEC of ‘daylight robbery in Osun’ adding that the PDP should reject the declaration of the election as being inconclusive.
Davido is a nephew of Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the PDP in the election.
APC, Aregbesola, Omisore, US govt react
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the stalemate following Saturday’s Osun governorship election in Osun State.
Its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, in a statement Sunday night, said while we the nation continues to improve on electoral processes and correcting some irregularities witnessed in the poll, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration deserved commendation for continually exhibiting commitment to ensuring that elections are more peaceful, transparent, credible and acceptable.
He added: “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.”
Meanwhile, the Governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola has expressed optimism that the APC will win Thursday’s rerun election.
Aregbesola, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Sola Fasure, yesterday, said, “We expect to win at the first ballot.
“We believe in the rule of law and due process and democrats, we will abide by INEC’s decision, it is okay by us.
“If there was no cancellation in those areas, we would have won outrightly without the need for the rerun.”
Reacting to the result, the Social Democratic Party, SDP candidate, Iyiola Omisore in a statement issued yesterday, said, he was delighted that his 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 greater victory; the clarion call by all our people for good governance and accountability.”
Meanwhile, the United States Government has called for a peaceful conclusion of the Osun State governorship election.
Speaking in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, David Young, appealed to candidates of political parties and their supporters to be peaceful and respect the final results of the Osun State governorship elections that will be announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the coming days.
He said: “We request and urge all supporters to be peaceful as this process moves forward. This is part of democracy.
“We at the United States have had very close elections too. I urge people to be peaceful and respect the result that comes out in the time ahead.”
The US envoy also commended INEC for the conduct of the election. He urged all political parties and agents to allow the electoral body to do its job.
Similarly, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has commended the PDP in Osun for taking the lead in the inconclusive September 22 governorship election in the state.
Ortom gave the commendation in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase on Sunday in Abuja.
Ortom said, “The conduct of the Osun election reflects the resolve of many Nigerians to give their mandate to the PDP in the 2019 general elections.”
Police arrest vote-buying-selling suspects
The Nigerian Police said it has arrested two vote-buying suspects during Saturday’s governorshp election in Osun State.
The suspects are; one Muriat Olalekan ‘M’ 61Yrs of No. 11 Oloya Street and Hamzat Muniru ‘M’ 65Yrs of Molari compound.
The police in a statement issued at the weekend by the police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood said, “Consequent upon the deployment of Police Operatives from the Intelligence Unit of FCIID, IGP Monitoring Unit and the Intelligence Response Team of the Force to gather intelligence, arrest and prosecute anyone caught attempting or in the act of vote buying or selling, the Police team on election duty at Iwo LGA of Osun State today, 22 September, 2018 arrested two (2) suspects in the act of vote-buying and selling.
“The sum of Six Hundred and four Thousand N604,000.00 only was recovered from their possession.
“Also, a PDP chieftain, Mr Adeagbo Wasiu of ward 8 unit 9 Fiwasaye Area Osogbo was arrested for vote buying, he was searched and sum of one hundred and sixteen thousand naira (116,000) was recovered from him.”
The police said investigations into the cases are ongoing and suspects will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation.
… Buhari has brutalised all agents of democracy – Secondus
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, said President Muahammadu Buhari has brutalised all agents of democracy.
He said this while responding to the Osun governorship election that was declared inconclusive.
Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the PDP had polled majority vote of 254, 698, and Isiaka Oyetola, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has 254, 345 votes— leaving a margin of 353.
The margin, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had said was not significant enough to declare a winner.
Reacting on Sunday, Secondus asked that the PDP candidate be declared winner, accusing Buhari, who is away in New York to address the United Nations general assembly, of not being fair with the process.
“What will President Buhari be telling democratic world at the UN when back home he has brutalised all agents of democracy and has been unable to conduct a simple state election,” the statement signed by Ike Abonyi, Secondus’ spokesman read.
The PDP chairman said Yakubu Mahmood, chairman of INEC, should be held responsible for brewing crisis in the country ahead of 2019 general election.
“What other evidence do the democratic watchers and security agencies need to establish obvious bias from INEC when the commission’s administrative officer caught destroying result sheets in Ayedade local Government area where over a thousand votes belonging to PDP were removed confirmed acting on the instruction of his superior officer,” he added.
In a trending video, Alao Kolawole, an individual said to be an official of INEC was accused of tearing the result sheet of the election held in Ayeedade, Osun state.
INEC had fixed Thursday for a rerun in select areas where results were cancelled.
Secondus, however, said his party will not accept anything less than its deserved victory.
…Adeleke to Supporters: Let’s rededicate ourselves to the struggle
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Osun State governorship election, Ademola Adeleke, has urged his supporters to rededicate themselves following the pronouncement of the election as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Adeleke said he was honoured to have won considerable votes across all local governments of the state despite the “blackmail” during electioneering campaign.
He appealed to the people to rededicate themselves to the “struggle”
“I send my appreciation through this medium to Osun voters who find me worthy of their votes. Your votes humbled me and further strenghten my resolve to truly serve our people,” he said in a statement issued on Sunday evening.
“Despite all the blackmails and persecution, you stood by me; you voted for me and you defended your votes. You adopted me as the rallying point of the redemption movement. Words cannot express the depth of my appreciation.
“We will get to the promised land. It started well and it will end in praise to our dear God. Let us rededicate ourselves to the struggle. You have proved that with determination, the most powerful tyrant can be forced to submit to the will of the people. I appreciate you all.”
… Police couldn’t stop vote-buying – PSC
The Police Service Commission, PSC, has said that there were areas police officers could not stop vote-buying during the governorship election in Osun.
The PSC, however, rated the conduct of the officers on election duties as largely satisfactory.
The PSC said it monitored the police officers in 30 Local Government Areas of the state.
It said that outside few isolated incidents, the conduct of the officers was impressive.
“The few isolated incidents included cases where the police officers were overwhelmed and ballot boxes snatched, inducements and inability to stop discreet vote-buying,” the PSC said in a statement by its spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani.
The Commission, however, commended the mobilization and deployment of Police Officers and the maintenance of peace and order at the polling units.
It said, “The personnel were also polite, approachable and largely adhered to the guidelines for election duties.
The commission stated that, “There was an average of four police officers per polling unit, complemented by officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps; Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Prison Services, Federal Road Safety Corps and Department of State Security.”
It said it carried out the assignment in partnership with CLEEN Foundation and Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.
… Only votes of Osun people’ll determine next gov – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said only the votes of the people of Osun will determine the next governor of the state.
Chairman, information and voter education committee of INEC, Solomon Soyebi, said this in a statement on Sunday.
This followed the outrage as a result of the declaration of the poll inconclusive.
Joseph Fuwape, returning officer of the election, had said there was no significant votes to declare a winner.
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ademola Adeleke, had polled 254,699 ahead of Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had 254,345 votes.
Afuwape said since the number of cancelled votes, 3,498, exceeded the difference between the two leading parties (353), no winner could be declared.
Soyebi, while commending the Osun people, noted that the poll has been one of the keenly contested election in recent times.
“Notwithstanding the successful conduct of the elections, the returning officer, professor Joseph Adeola Fuwape, vice-chancellor of the Federal Umversrty of Technology, Akure, has communicated to the commission his inability to make a return in accordance With the legal framework and INEC guidelines,” the statement read.
“This is as a result of areas where results were cancelled there was no voting or there were disruptions.
“Based on the results collated by the returning officer, the margin between the two leading candidates is 353 which is lower than the number of registered voters in the affected areas. Extant law and INEC guidelines and regulations provide that where such a situation occurs, a declaration may not be made.
“In the light of the foregoing, the commission met and decided that it will remobilise and return to the affected polling units on Thursday 27th September 2018 to Rerun the elections, conclude collation and make a Return.
“We appeal to all stakeholders and particularly the people of Osun state to continue With the maturity and peaceful manner they have so far approached the elections. The commission wishes to reiterate its pledge that it is only the votes of the electorate in Osun state that will determine who becomes the next governor of their state.”
…INEC fixes Thursday for rerun
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced Thursday, September 27, as the date for the governorship rerun election in Osun state.
This followed the declaration of Saturday’s exercise as inconclusive.
Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had polled 254,699 ahead of Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had 254,345 votes.
Joseph Afuwape, INEC’s returning officer, had said since the total number of cancelled votes, 3,498, exceeds the difference between the two leading parties (353), it was impossible for any party to be declared as winner.
Afuwape announced that the rerun would take place in Orogun local government area, Ife north and Ife south.
“There was problem of ballot box snatching at unit 001 in Orolu local government and 393 votes were cancelled,” he said.
“At unit 004 of the same LGA, there was also snatching of ballot box, 387 were cancelled. 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 that unit 010 there were 502 registered voters.
“At Oyere 2, Ife north, we also had cancelled election; 51 people were accredited but there were 200 votes that were cast, with that, there was cancellation due to irregularities, over voting, number of registered voters at that Unit 02 was 535.
“Osogbo unit 017, there was a case of abscondment by the presiding officer, to this effect, election there was cancelled. Number of registered voters 884.”
…polling units that will decide Osun’s next governor
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the conclusion of the Osun State governorship election for Thursday September 27.
The election was declared inclusive with the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polling the highest number of votes among the 48 candidates.
He was, however, not declared winner because the margin of his victory was only 353 votes, and could not earn him victory when weighed against the number of votes cancelled, which amounted to 3,498 votes, INEC said.
The Returning Officer, Joseph Fuope, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, while declaring the final results, said he could not “fairly” return Ademola Adeleke as the winner because of the provisions of the law regarding cancelled votes.
The total cancelled votes in seven polling units amount to 3,498, a figure far exceeding the margin with which the PDP candidate defeated his All Progressives Congress opponent, Gboyega Oyetola.
The wisdom of the law suggest that the volume of votes cancelled could substantially determine the outcome of the election when taken into account, particularly in a situation where the margin of victory is very slim.
In Orolu Local Government, Ward 9, Polling unit 001, and with a total registered voters of 393, the election was cancelled after hoodlums snatched ballot boxes and ballot papers.
Also in the same ward, at polling unit 004, with a total of 387 registered voters, ballot boxes were snatched resulting in the cancellation.
INEC also mentioned that a polling unit in Ward 9 in Orolu was also affected with total registered voters of 167.
In Ife North Local Government Area, Ward 15, unit 010, with voting strength of 502 voters, the election was cancelled due to card reader problems. In Ife South, Ward 16, two polling units were affected with a voting strength of 812 and 502 respectively.
In Osogbo, one unit was affected with a voting strength of 884 registered voters. The collating officer had alleged that the presiding officer of that particular unit walked away with the results, and no further explanations came from that.
The INEC Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, in his address to the press, said the difference between the two leading parties is just 353 votes.
“The number of voters in the units where the elections were cancelled is 3, 498. To that effect, as a returning officer, it is not possible to declare the party a fair winner of the election,” said Soyebi.
“I will like to thank voters for their respect for the rules. We also thank all stakeholders including the political parties, election observers, security agencies and traditional rulers for their unprecedented cooperation before, during and after the election.
“Notwithstanding the successful conduct of the election, the returning officer Prof Joseph Fuwape, Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, has communicated to the commission his inability to make a return in accordance with the laid down rules and INEC guidelines.
“This is as a result of areas where results were cancelled or where there was no voting or there were disruptions.”
He went ahead to mention the affected areas and noted that elections would only hold in those areas with all the 48 political parties involved.
“Based on the results collated by the returning officer, the margin between the two leading candidates is 353 which is less than the total number of registered voters in the affected areas,” Soyebi stated.
“Extant law, guidelines and regulations, provide that if this situation occurs, a return or a declaration may not be made. In the light of the foregoing, the commission met, and decided that it would remobilise and return to the affected polling units on Thursday, 27th of September, 2018 to rerun the elections, conclude, collate and make a return.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the rerun elections will only take place in the affected polling booths; there are seven of them. So let us be very clear. In Ife North we have one polling booth, in Ife South we have two, in Orolu we have three and in Osogbo, we have one.”
According to INEC, there will be no campaigns any more, noting that all campaigns ended on September 21 and that the election was simply a continuation and not a separate one.
Soyebi assured that the next governor of Osun State would only be decided through the ballot and no other means.
It will be recalled that there were several allegations of manipulation raised by the PDP candidate, and the change of results of the PDP from 10, 836 to 9,836 from Ayedaade local government area, gave credence to the alarm raised by the opposition party.The unusual delays in the submission of the results by the collating officers also raised fears that all was not well in the conduct of the entire process.