Nigeria: Osun Elections – PDP Rejects Inconclusive Verdict by INEC

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Nigeria: Osun Elections - PDP Rejects Inconclusive Verdict by INEC

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.”

 

Published by Punch

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