Osun Rerun: Lasun, Omisore join forces with APC to fight PDP

HOUSE of Representatives Deputy Speaker Yussuff Lasun yesterday joined the battle to ensure victory for All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Gboyega Oyetola in tomorrow’s supplementary governorship election in Osun State.

The APC lost in Orolu Local Government Area, which is believed to be Lasun’s stronghold. He is known to be aggrieved with APC leaders.

The supplementary election will hold in three units in the local government due to cancellation over hijacking of materials by thugs.

There are 987 registered voters in the three units.

Also joining forces with the APC is Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Senator Iyiola Omisore.

The election will determine the winner between Oyetola and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Ademola Adeleke.

Saturday’s election was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which ordered the supplementary election in seven polling units in four local governments – Osogbo, Orolu, Ife North and Ife South.

There are 3, 498 registered voters in the polling units where the elections were cancelled due to various reasons, including hijacking of election materials, abscondment of presiding officer, disruption of election by hoodlums who were shooting sporadically, manual accreditation and over voting.

The supplementary election is a straight fight between Oyetola and Adeleke.

Adeleke has a marginal 353 votes advantage in the election in which Omisore finished third.

Omisore hosted an APC delegation of Ekiti State Governor-elect Dr Kayode Fayemi and Dr Olu Agunloye at his home in Ile-Ife.

On Monday, he received Senate President Bokola Saraki, who came to lobby him to support the PDP.

Omisore, who left the PDP for the SDP because the PDP ticket was skewed in favour of Adeleke, declined to give Saraki his commitment.

But after his meeting with the APC team, Omisore twitted under a photograph of himself with Fayemi and Agunloye: “With @OfficialAPCNg Ekiti state governor elect @kfayemi during his visit today. #goodgovernanceinosunstate #OsunDecides2018.”

In another tweet, Saraki Presidential Campaign Council spokesman Doyin Okupe said: “Omisore I’m told caved in to pressure from APC…”

It was learnt that Omisore, whose dad is the traditional ruler of Olode in Ife South where the election will hold in unit 07, 012 Adereti village with 812 registered voters, joined the APC for a campaign yesterday.

Also yesterday, the police confirmed the arrest of three people for allegedly buying Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and breach of the public peace.

The suspects, Alhaji Fatai Diekola, 61, Sikiru Lawal, 54 and Adekilekun Segun, 54, were arrested on Monday at Adewale Street, Alekuwodo area, Osogbo.

Spokesperson for the Osun State Police Command Folasade Odoro, a Superintendent (SP), said the suspects were arrested by the teams drafted to the state for election duties.

Odoro said: “The three suspects were arrested at Adewale Street, Alekuwodo area, Osogbo at one of the polling units where a re-run election is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 27.

“They were said to be soliciting to buy additional PVCs from one Olawale Kazeem of 4B, Adewale Street, Alekuwodo area, Osogbo and Azeez Sulaiman of 3A, Akinlade Street, Alekuwodo. It was gathered that when the duo declined to sell their PVCs, they were allegedly attacked by the supporters of the suspects.

“However, timely intervention of the police operatives led to the arrest of the three suspects after they were attacked and wounded by the mob. “However, the wounded were taken to the Police Hospital for medical treatment and currently assisting the police in investigation into the crime and the recovery of the PVCs alleged to have been bought from other people in Osun State. The outcome of the investigation will definitely be made public.

“In the meantime, the Nigeria Police Force is assuring the good people of Osun State and other critical stakeholders of its renewed commitment and resolve to ensure adequate security for a free and fair re-run election as announced by INEC in Osun State.

“Members of the public are however advised to desist from any action that may elicit violence as any person arrested will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

The brickbats continued yesterday between the APC and the PDP over the Osun State governorship election.

The governor-elect will emerge tomorrow after the supplementary election in seven units in four local governments.

The PDP plans to file a suit today on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s declaration of Saturday’s election as inconclusive.

But the APC Campaign Council urged voters in the areas where the supplementary election will hold to ignore the “ranting’’ of the PDP and turn out en masse to vote for the ruling party.”

The Chairman of the Council’s Media Committee, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the PDP’s threat to challenge in court INEC’s declaration of Saturday’s election as inconclusive was “ nothing but sheer bravado’’.

Mohammed said the threat was because the opposition party was afraid of losing the rerun.

The chairman, who said the PDP might also have contrived the court threat as a way of distracting the APC and its members ahead of the rerun, called the strategy “dead on arrival”.

”The PDP knows that the so-called court challenge which it has threatened to mount will not fly, especially because the highest court in the land has already pronounced on the issue of whether or not INEC has the powers to declare an election inconclusive.

”The PDP is not unaware of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of James Abiodun Faleke Vs INEC and others.

“The apex court held that INEC has the duty of conducting elections and that, besides the constitutional provisions, it is guided by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Election Guidelines and Manual issued for its officials in accordance with the Act,” he said.

Mohammed said that since the PDP had boasted that its candidate would win if the Osun Governorship Election was conducted over and over again, the party “ should stop being jittery and put its money where its mouth is by willingly participating in the rerun.’’

He, however, said that if the PDP chose to boycott tomorrow’s rerun out of fear, the party’s right to do so would be respected.

”The PDP, after its failed mission to win Saturday’s election at all cost, is shopping for an illegal shortcut to victory by threatening a court action over an issue that has been settled.

“It’s a sheer waste of time. Let the PDP drop its pretension and get ready to be defeated in Thursday’s rerun.

“Alternatively, it can withdraw to save face,” the chairman said.

The APC also accused the PDP of cloning Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) with the intention of using them to rig the rerun election.

The statement said: “The APC has received fresh reports from our field agents on the ongoing cloning of PVCs by PDP agents. We view this development as bizarre and a sign of the desperation of the PDP to takeover Osun State by all illegal means.

“While we call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to urgently investigate the development and promptly arrest persons behind the cloning, we strongly advise INEC to ensure that its voters’ register is not tampered with.

“Also, we call on INEC and security agencies to speak publicly on measures being taken to stop the ongoing vote buying by PDP agents, which has become widespread in the state.

The APC called for calm in the face of the already tense situation caused by the alleged PDP’s rigging plot.

“The Osun electorate must remain alert and resist any plot to subvert the people’s will and manipulate the rerun election.

“Commendably, the police already have in its custody a PDP stalwart who led other PDP leaders to buy up voters’ cards ahead of Thursday’s governorship rerun. There, however, remains much to be done to ensure the credibility of the forthcoming rerun election.”

Spokesman of the party in Osun State Kunle Oyatomi, said tomorrow’s supplementary poll “cannot be bought”.

In a statement, he said: “Sen Ademola Adeleke can’t win on the popular votes. First, he is the least educated and qualified candidate Osun has ever raised in its history of political contest.

“The fraud that brought him to this lever (manipulation of card readers and purchase of the PVC of ill-informed voters) that we are now discussing him as a potential governor, marks us as essentially an illiterate and backward democracy.

“Such a person should not have qualified to be taken as ‘O’YES Cadet.

‘The PDP and Adeleke family would be disappointed on Thursday.

‘That vote can’t be bought, and would not be bought.

‘The PDP insists on going to court and contesting the rerun election at the same time. That is evidence of desperation. If they have confidence they could win, they have no business to be in court at this stage.

‘The people of Osun will decide on Thursday (tomorrow) in closely monitored and protected votes where the likes of moneybags and fraudsters will be neutralised’

The PDP, however, demanded the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

The opposition party also called for the immediate resignation of INEC Director of Operations Mrs. Amina Zakari who is also in charge of commission’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) Department.

At a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, the PDP, through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan called out the INEC chair over his “controlling role in the fraudulent manipulations” in the September 22 governorship election in Osun State.

The opposition party accused Mrs. Zakari of altering election figures in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

INEC had declared the election inconclusive, following the cancellation of the election in some local government areas. The commission has slated a supplementary election in the affected areas for tomorrow.

Rejecting the inconclusive verdict on the election, the PDP insisted that the polls were concluded, adding that the party and indeed well-meaning Nigerians no longer have confidence in the INEC chairman.

The party said, “With INEC’s fraudulent conduct in the Osun governorship election, and approval that a concluded election be declared inconclusive, it is completely inexcusable that Prof. Yakubu presides over an atrocious and compromised electoral umpire that manipulates electoral processes, doctors figures, allocates fictitious votes and subverts the will of the people in an election.

“The PDP has additional documentary evidence of how this compromised INEC, through its Operations and ICT Department, doctored results from polling centres, directly shortchanged the PDP with no fewer than 4,387 votes by slashing votes cast for the PDP at the polling centres while allocating fictitious figures to the APC.

“The PDP has facts on how INEC slashed over 1000 votes freely cast by the people for our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, in Ayedaade Local Government Area, just to reduce our votes from our legitimate 10,836 votes cast at the polling centres to 9,836 votes so as to give APC the lead with a 1000 vote margin in the local government.

“Also, the PDP has evidence of how INEC, while collating results, directly allocated over 1,367 fictitious votes to the APC in Olorunda Local Government Area, to fraudulently shore up the APC votes to duplicitous 16,254 votes. This is in addition to evidence of how INEC awarded over 2,000 fictitious votes in favour of the APC in Osogbo to push APC’s vote to 23,379 against the actual 21,479 votes scored by the defeated party.

“Such writing of results by INEC in collusion with the APC occurred in many other areas leading to INEC’s ill-fated directives to its junior officials, including the one apprehended in Ayedaade, to destroy results already displayed at polling and collation centers.

“It was after INEC and the APC realised that despite their manipulation of figures, our candidate still scored the highest number of votes, making him the clear winner of the election, that they decided to fraudulently apply unconstitutional grounds to declare the election inconclusive.

“From the facts available to us, INEC robbed our party of over 4,387 votes. Our actual winning margin stands at 4,740 votes against the 353 votes declared by INEC.

“Furthermore, while the PDP, in rejecting INEC’s declaration, is resolute in the decision to seek legal redress and take our mandate, freely given to our candidate by the people of Osun State, our party has also discovered schemes perfected by INEC to rig its planned supplementary election in favour of the APC.”

“The PDP is already aware that INEC has increased the original number of voters in the affected polling centers by over 850 so as to expand its latitude to manipulate results with uncollected Permanent Voter Card (PVCs), a development, which further shows INEC’s determination to rig the election for APC.

“The PDP holds that the shenanigan that has characterised the Osun governorship election is a testing measure by the APC in collusion with INEC to rig the 2019 general elections, particularly the Presidential election, which they plan to plunge into similar controversy immediately it becomes obvious that APC is losing”.

The PDP expressed fears that the alleged complicit role of the electoral body could push the nation into an irretrievable state of anarchy and spell doom for the country’s democracy.

“While Prof. Mahmood Yakubu can no longer be trusted to conduct the 2019 general elections, it is public knowledge that Mrs. Amina Zakari, the INEC Director in charge of Operations and ICT is a direct blood relation of Mr. President and as such, we believe that she cannot be an impartial arbiter in an election involving her uncle.”

“The PDP therefore calls on all patriotic Nigerians to join in the demand for the resignation of Prof. Yakubu and Mrs. Zakari so as to avert this dangerous path, where INEC is leading our nation.

“As a law abiding and people-oriented political party, all that the PDP is demanding for is the return of our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, as the duly returned candidate at the September 22, 2018 Osun Governorship Election.

“We call on INEC to guarantee free, fair and credible election at all levels of engagement, as we will not allow unpatriotic individuals to destroy our nation with their inordinate and selfish aspirations”.

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