…Osun poll, a demonstration of tyranny – Atiku
…it’s an embarrassment to Nigeria’s democracy – Saraki
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday said that it was wrong for President Muhammadu Buhari to have congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Osun State governorship election, Adegboyega Oyetola.
It said that the President by the action, had shown that the Presidency was behind the alleged electoral manipulations, outright rigging and bloodletting that the PDP said marred the process.
In a statement in Abuja on Friday, the PDP said it was sad that Buhari chose to ignore the observations of both local and international observers who he said monitored the rerun.
“Nothing can be more reprehensive; while the entire world is condemning the process and the blood of the innocent that were maimed by the APC thugs is yet to dry on the streets of Osun State, the Presidency and the APC are busy celebrating a stolen mandate,” the party said.
This came just as civil rights groups and chieftains of the PDP, including the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, berated the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Buhari-led administration over the conduct of the Osun State governorship election.
Atiku, in a statement on Friday, described the declaration of the candidate of the APC in the election, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, as the winner as triumph of tyranny.
He said the announcement did not tally with what happened in the state on Saturday, September 22, and Thursday when the rerun in seven polling units was held.
According to him, the PDP candidate in the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, won the poll.
The former Vice-President stated, “The result just declared today (Friday) in Osun by the INEC in favour of the APC and its candidate is a travesty of justice. That was not democracy. That was a demonstration of tyranny.
“The victory of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, was firmly established last week on Saturday the 22nd of September, 2018.
“This so-called victory of the APC is not a democratic victory. Observers, both foreign and domestic, reported the brazen intimidation of voters and outright suppression of voting in the PDP strongholds with even the PDP agents physically prevented from being at the polling units.”
On his part, Saraki said the supplementary election was a charade and an embarrassment to Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement on Friday in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that the rerun was not needed in the first instance while the supplementary poll was unfair.
The statement read, “Yesterday (Friday), we witnessed another display of the subversion of the will of the Osun people during the rerun gubernatorial election in the state. The election was characterised by widespread voter intimidation, violence and harassment. Accredited observers were denied access to polling units and duly registered voters were prevented from participating in the electoral process by thugs and compromised security agents.
“Like I said a few days ago, this needless rerun election was only designed as an avenue for the ruling party to perpetrate electoral fraud. The nature of this election is an embarrassment to our democracy and casts an alarming pall on the institutions responsible for protecting the will of the Nigerian people as stated through their votes. That was why for more than 10 hours, INEC could not collate and announce results in just seven polling units with just over 2,000 votes.”
PDP calls for Yakubu’s resignation
Meanwhile, the National Executive Committee of the PDP called for the resignation of the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this while briefing journalists after the NEC meeting on Thursday.
The party accused the Yakubu-led INEC of connivance and manipulations of the electoral process in Thursday’s governorship rerun in Osun State.
The PDP spokesman said, “NEC warned against allowing the current INEC leadership under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to continue in office as it has shown it cannot conduct a free, fair and credible election at any level.”
INEC declines comment
However, INEC refused to make any comment on the PDP allegations on Friday. Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, declined to speak on the matter.
A top source in the commission, however, said, “This is the fifth or sixth time that the PDP would make such call for the chairman’s resignation and all is because of the elections that they have lost. In a democracy, when you are the loser, it is easy to make noise.”
APC hails poll, Oyetola’s victory
But the APC, however, insisted that its candidate in the election, Oyetola, won the poll.
It described his victory as an “emphatic and hard-fought win.”
This was contained in a statement signed by the acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja, on Friday.
The ruling party said its candidate won the election despite attempts by the PDP to subvert the will of the people through various attempts to rig the poll.
Buhari’s integrity at stake –ADC
However, the African Democratic Congress, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Yemi Kolapo, said the supplementary poll was nothing but a sham.
According to the ADC, it is now clear that “the failed government will stop at nothing to subvert the people’s will.”
The party stated, “For a government that has failed to deliver on all its promises and has instead foisted untold suffering on citizens, while resorting to lies, bogus claims, witch-hunting to cover up its gross deficiencies, the Osun debacle was, indeed, a desperate last resort to retain power by all means.
My mandate is sacred, says Oyetola
However, the Osun State governor-elect, Oyetola, has described the mandate given to him by the people of the state as sacred
Oyetola, who said this in his acceptance speech made available to one of our correspondents in Osogbo on Friday, expressed gratitude to the people of the state and to the APC leaders and members, saying he would not let the people down because he was familiar with the challenges ahead.
He said, “I regard the mandate given to me by the good people of Osun as sacred and I am taking it seriously. Of course, I have been part of the new beginning that started eight years ago.
Oyetola stated that he won the governorship election at the first ballot, saying there were loads of evidence to prove this but he just accepted the INEC’s decision on the rerun supplementary poll.
However, the PDP governorship candidate, Adeleke, insisted that the APC had stolen his mandate, assuring his supporters that he would reclaim it in court.
Police, CDD disagree over violence at Osun poll
Meanwhile, the Police and the Centre for Democracy and Development have disagreed over cases of violence at the Osun State governorship election.
Although the Nigeria Police Force said there was no record of violence during the supplementary poll, the CDD, in its assessment, stated that the conduct of some key stakeholders during the poll clearly ran contrary to democratic norms and standards.
The police had debunked reports that thugs harassed some voters, journalists and observers at some wards, saying no one was prevented from carrying out their civic responsibility during the election.
The NPF spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, said in a statement in Abuja on Friday that there was no official complaint of violence or injuries, stressing that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the police personnel during the poll.
But the CDD, in a statement by its Executive Director, Idayat Hassan, berated the conduct of security agents and politicians, who she said took steps that were clearly inimical to the conduct of a free, fair and credible election.
Hassan said, “The CDD observers reported several cases of denial of access to polling units to observers and even voters. CDD’s field observers deployed to observe the process and ensure its credibility, especially in Orolu and Osogbo local government areas, were intimidated, threatened and in some cases arrested by security forces.
“Credible reports from our field observers showed that despite being duly accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission, several of the observers and journalists were stopped from observing the process.” Punch