Bad signals from Osun governorship election


It is no longer news that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC will hold a supplementary election in Osun State today. This is sequel to the inconclusive election that was held on Saturday September 22. 2018. The supplementary election came about following the fact that according to INEC figures the two leading parties, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC failed to score a clear majority because although the PDP led the APC by 361 votes there were seven units spread across four local governments where elections did not hold due to no fault of the voters. The two leading parties by the resulted so far released met the constitutionally prescribed guidelines to be declared winners.

However the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke felt hard done by, with good reasons too.

First it is important we praise the security agencies for guarantying a relatively peaceful poll. We equally believe that up until the collation of results INEC had done a good job. Although there appears to be some dissimilarity over some figures on the final tally as we have been made to believe by the PDP, it is still a function of some INEC officials. We do not think it is a grand plan to scupper the election. Having said that, it is important to state clearly that reports indicate there were still incidents of vote buying trailing the exercise. A handful of persons were caught, arrested and are currently facing interrogation. Pitiably, some identified vote buyers or thugs who caused problems at polling units are still parading around the state. These are people that have been accused of electoral offences.

More seriously is the charge by the PDP in the state that INEC connived with APC to pad their tallies in forms E-8 A, B and C. These are the forms containing scores attributable to parties from the polling units, wards and local government areas. It seems that the alterations were done between the polling unit and the next collation centre. This allegation is serious and easy to prove. In all more than 4, 000 votes were either removed from PDP or higher figures were added to APC. They contend that if this was not done, PDP would have carried the day, therefore no need to hold a supplementary election. The party then asks that those numbers should be changed to reflect the true picture of what happened at the ballot box.

If this is indeed true, we condemn it and asks for collaborative media searchlight on this daylight robbery. We equally urge the PDP to remain calm in the face of such illegality. After today’s poll and the composition of the election petition tribunal the PDP should approach the tribunal and lay its cards on the table. We are not believing everything as revealed by the PDP, however, it is important these issues are put out there for people to appreciate the toughness and guile of electoral contests. We will want judicial review of this scandal even if the PDP ends of winning the supplementary election today. Also we will want a judicial review of the recourse to a supplementary election in the first place. We need to know exactly at what point a supplementary election becomes inevitable. What is the reasons precedent to determine the kind of decision INEC took on Sunday. A clear and concise declaration on that will help our understanding of rules guiding elections in our country going forward.

It is important to point out that we are happy that Osun people turned out in large numbers to elect a new governor of their choice. We are equally happy for the keen contest the exercise turned to be. Such that difference in votes between the two leading candidate is not up to 400. This is new in Nigeria especially at the gubernatorial level.

The tension and gravitas that has trailed this contest is good for our democracy. Suddenly people and politicians are realizing the power of the voter. The voter has been restored as the king in a democracy. The election although will be over today has sent a direct message to state governors and even the president. Election has become a referendum on an incumbent. The close nature of the Osun election is a testimony to the way things are changing. Although not perfect yet; we expect a definitive winner today. We urge Osun people to be orderly and not become cannon fodder to any of the gladiators.

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