Against the backdrop of September 22 governorship election in Osun, former Minister of Transport and Aviation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, on Monday charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the conduct of a free, fair and credible exercise by allowing the votes of the electorate to count during the election.
He maintained that all stakeholders involved in the conduct of the poll must strive to create an enabling environment where eligible voters would freely choose the governor without any form of malpractice that can discredit the electoral process.
Speaking during a chat with journalists in Ilesa, Babatope averred that it was imperative for INEC to maintain their position as unbiased umpire by allowing peoples’ verdict in voting for the potential successor to Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
Babatope, who was also the director of an organisation in the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) led by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said, “a situation where peoples choice is not allowed to prevail will put the peaceful coexistence and atmosphere in Osun in disarray.”
While imploring INEC to uphold the principle of fairness and justice before and during the gubernatorial poll, he underscored the need by the electoral body to ensure the conduct of an acceptable exercise that would conform with international best practice with a view to deepening Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
Babatope stated further that the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun state, Senator Ademola Adeleke had expressed his readiness to cooperate with INEC and other relevant stakeholders in ensuring the peaceful conduct of a free and fair election, adding that the good people of Osun State will resist an attempt by anyone to tamper with their democratic wishes.
He posited that ” the people of Osun State will not accept any electoral announcement that is based on fraud and other electoral malpractices “.