THE OYETOLA YOU DON’T KNOW

How APC bagged Osun

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Hamza Idris (Abuja) & Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu (La­gos)

The rul­ing APC, which nar­rowly lost the Osun State gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion, bounced back af­ter a rerun that it won with a land­slide. Be­fore Thurs­day’s vic­tory, many things went into play, af­ter last week’s dec­la­ra­tion of the elec­tion as in­con­clu­sive by the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC). In the main elec­tion, the PDP had polled 254,698 while APC scored 254,345 votes, show­ing a mar­gin of 353 votes.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chief Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cer and Vice-Chan­cel­lor of Fed­eral Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Akure, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, the mar­gin of lead by the PDP was less than the 3,498 votes al­legedly can­celled in some polling units which war­ranted the rerun.

The tone of the elec­tion soon changed, with PDP han­dlers say­ing their can­di­date, Ade­mola Adeleke, must be de­clared win­ner. On the other hand, INEC, the APC and its can­di­date Gboyega Oyetola, said the law was clear on when and how a can­di­date could be de­clared win­ner. Along the line, they both be­gan se­ri­ous prepa­ra­tions for the rerun which was pre­ceded by high­wire pol­i­tics as the two par­ties tried to woo the SDP can­di­date, Se­na­tor Iyi­ola Omisore, who came a dis­tant third with over 120,000 votes.

De­spite the re­sults he gar­nered, Omisore be­came the beau­ti­ful bride as some of the units where elec­tion was to hold were his strongholds. The PDP ear­lier made the move to woo Omisore to sup­port his can­di­date, Ade­mola Adeleke. The Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Dr. Bukola Saraki, led other bigwigs of the party to a meet­ing with Omisore on Mon­day and the out­come ap­pears re­as­sur­ing.

In­ter­est­ingly, two days af­ter the APC made sim­i­lar move send­ing a high­pow­ered del­e­ga­tion led by the Na­tional Chair­man, Adam Osh­iom­hole him­self and gov­er­nors of Kano, Ogun, Oyo, Kebbi, gov­er­nor-elect of Ek­iti, Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Cul­ture, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed and the Deputy Speaker of House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Yusuf La­sun.

It was learnt that Omisore even­tu­ally gave in to the pres­sure of APC lead­ers af­ter be­ing stam­peded with “ir­re­sistible of­fers”. He told news­men that the SDP has agreed to form a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with APC, say­ing on the ba­sis of that his sup­port­ers would vote for the APC in the rerun.

The rerun even­tu­ally held on Thurs­day amidst ten­sion in the seven af­fected wards. At the end of the rerun, the APC polled land­slide re­sults up­turned PDP’s mar­gin while Al­haji Gboyega Oyetola was even­tu­ally de­clared the win­ner of the elec­tion.

The INEC re­turn­ing of­fi­cer while declar­ing the fi­nal re­sult said the APC polled 255,505 while PDP se­cured 255,023 votes with the former over­tak­ing the lat­ter with 482 votes. This was not with­out protest from the PDP which lead­ers and the gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date de­scribed the out­come of the elec­tion as a rape of democ­racy.

South-West chair­man of the party, Dr. Eddy Olafeso in a chat with Daily Trust Satur­day ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the court would re­turn the party’s stolen man­date in Osun, say­ing, the APC-led Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has “put the en­tire na­tion to shame by the bru­tal at­tack on Nige­ri­ans dur­ing the elec­tion”.

Un­doubt­edly, Adeleke had given a big fight long be­fore the elec­tion which lost at last.

On Satur­day last week, there was rap­tur­ous ju­bi­la­tions to­wards evening in Osun, when the vote count was neckto-neck be­tween him and Oyetola. In cer­tain mo­ments, he moved ahead in the polls be­fore “con­demned” bal­lots sur­faced in some quar­ters, a de­vel­op­ment that led to the dec­la­ra­tion of the elec­tion as in­con­clu­sive. Be­fore then, he had passed through tur­moil to prove that he had been to sec­ondary school, con­sid­er­ing his cases with the po­lice over al­leged cer­tifi­cate forgery.

There were al­le­ga­tions that INEC was also con­fig­ured to rob Adeleke of his win, but the elec­toral um­pire had dis­tanced it­self from the al­le­ga­tions. Though the elec­tions had been won and lost, an­a­lysts be­lieve that there is still a long way for APC to cel­e­brate and le­gal cases might pop up. There are echoes across the PDP fam­ily on the need for ac­tion, with ex- VP Atiku Abubakar in the lead.

“I wish to say to Se­na­tor Ade­mola Adeleke and the good peo­ple of Osun State that I stand with you to­day and to­mor­row in your time of need. I will not be pre­sump­tu­ous to tell you what to do. But what I can tell you is that what­ever you choose to do, I will be with you both in word and in ac­tion,” Atiku said.

It is now left to be seen what will tran­spire in the com­ing days ahead of the for­mal in­au­gu­ra­tion of Oyetola. How­ever, while PDP be­lieves it is day­light rob­bery, the APC sees the out­come in Osun as con­sol­i­da­tion. For now, the South West is 100 per­cent APC and many be­lieve this is a pointer to many things that will un­fold come 2019.

Vot­ers queue to vote dur­ing Osun re-run elec­tion

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