Mr Babatope Akinyele, Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s Ifako/Ijaiye Federal Constituency by-election in Lagos, has attributed his defeat to the leadership tussle bedevilling the opposition party.
Akinyele admitted in Lagos that the poll was credible, and has since accepted defeat.
Mr Nurudeen Akinwunmi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the poll, which resulted from the death of Mr Elijah Adewale, who represented the constituency in the House of Representatives.
Adewale died in Abuja on July 20.
￼According to Akinyele, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was neutral in the poll.
“The electoral body, with what I saw, was neutral; I did not see any bias from it. INEC did its job well.
“I think INEC has improved; the way and manner it conducted this election was good.
“I analysed the results, polling unit by polling unit; APC candidate, as far as I am concerned, won and the INEC was neutral.
“There is no reason I should not congratulate the winner. If I have Akinwunmi’s phone contact, I would have called him.
“Our politics should be devoid of violence and should not be a do-or-die affair, if we want to ever achieve our dream of a better Nigeria,” Akinyele said.
The candidate, who lauded INEC’s introduction of simultaneous accreditation and voting, said that the development made the process efficient.
He, however, said that he would have won the election if there was no rancour or division in his party.
Akinyele said: “I did well; the only challenge was the strength of the party behind me. It was Akinyele against APC. The support of my party was not as it should have been.
“Our house is divided and when a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand, and there is no way it can win an election.”
On voter apathy at the election, the candidate said that he expected such but not to the magnitude experienced.
“Only about 10,000 out of over 70,000 people who voted in 2015 general elections came out to vote,” he said.
Akinwunmi of the APC polled 7,640 votes to defeat Akinyele of the PDP, who polled 1,771 votes.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) polled five votes, Action Alliance (AA) had 14 votes, and African Democratic Congress (ADC) 158 votes, while Alliance for Democracy (AD) had 101 votes.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Clement Aghatise, said that the total number of registered voters was 339,864, accredited voters, 10,051; valid votes, 9,689; invalid votes, 195 while the total votes cast were 9,884. – NAN.