By Hameed Oyegbade, Abdullateef Aliyu, Musa Abdullahi Krishi & Saawua Terzungwe
Osogbo, Lagos, Abuja — A rerun of the Osun State governorship election will hold on Thursday, September 27, 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said yesterday.
The Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof. Joseph Fuwape, disclosed this after declaring the election inconclusive.
Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 254,698 votes, while Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 254, 345 votes.
Senator Iyiola Omisore of Social Democratic Party (SDP) followed with 128,049.
But a total of 3,498 votes were cancelled across seven polling units, which is more than the 353 votes that gave Adeleke an edge over Oyetola.
The affected polling units where the rerun election will take place are: one in Ife North; two in Ife South; three in Orolu; and one in Osogbo.
Prof Fuwape said “Based on the results collated by the Returning Officer, the margin between the two leading candidates is 353 which is lower than the number of registered voters in the affected areas. Extant law and INEC Guidelines and Regulations provide that where such a situation occurs, a declaration may not be made.”
Meanwhile, the PDP and the APC have disagreed over the inconclusive election.
Declare Adeleke winner – PDP
The PDP, while rejecting INEC’s declaration in its entirety, insisted that the process was conclusive and that its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, who got a total of 254, 698 votes, is in clear lead and should be immediately declared winner by INEC.
The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, quoted Section 179 (2) (a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended), adding that “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.”
“The PDP therefore charges 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.
“Finally, the PDP cautions INEC and the APC to note that the game is up. The people of Osun state have decided in favour of the PDP and that has become a fact that can never be altered.”
We remain upbeat – APC
But the APC commended the Osun electorate, the electoral commission, security agents and other stakeholders over the election in the state “which was largely peaceful despite some reported irregularities.”
In a statement by its acting National Publicity Secretary Mr. Yekini Nabena, the APC said “While we continue to improve on our electoral processes, particularly correcting some irregularities witnessed in Saturday’s election, the APC commends the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which has continually exhibited its commitment to ensuring that elections are more peaceful, transparent, credible and acceptable.
“This is a departure from the situation under past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations where the people’s will was subverted and elections where manipulated. We hereby reject the PDP’s baseless calls that the inconclusive Osun governorship election is announced in its favour.”
“In the leadup to the rerun election, we call on the Osun electorate, party supporters and members to remain upbeat and focused on the task of consolidating on the APC Change administration in the state by voting for the victory of our candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.”
INEC’s decision proper – Adegboruwa
Human rights lawyer, Ebunoluwa Adegboruwa has said the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare the Saturday’s governorship election in Osun as inconclusive was proper.
However, he said the commission must conduct the rerun with integrity and the winner must be declared.
Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday, Adegboruwa said going by the provision of sector 69 of the electoral Act, INEC’s decision was in order.
He said, “I believe that given the relevant provision of section 69 of the electoral Act, it would be good for INEC to ensure that the total number of votes that have been voided do not exceed the difference between the two leading contenders.
“In that regard, it would be proper to consider a rerun. In whatever INEC would do, this election would be a signpost to the 2019 election. So INEC has to conduct it with integrity, the rerun must be peaceful and INEC should not give the impression that it is an organization of the ruling party. It is important the organization shows it is truly independent”.
Saraki faults INEC verdict
Senate President Bukola Saraki faulted the declaration by INEC that the election results were inconclusive.
Saraki, who is the chairman, PDP Presidential Council on Osun State Gubernatorial Election, said this in a statement he personally signed.
“In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled.
“That is why I call on our party and its candidate to seek further legal interpretation on this decision by the electoral body. One cannot but wonder whether if the places were reversed and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one leading in the election, the INEC will take the same decision it has taken now.”