By Ali Alkai
As voting ended for the rerun elections held in seven polling units, in four local governments of Osogbo, Orolu, Ife South and Ife North local governments of Osun State yesterday evening, early media reports indicated that the All Progressives Congress, APC, was leading in six polling units.
However, at the time of compiling this report the final official result was not declared by the INEC secretariat in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
The results from these polling units will determine whether PDP’s Ademola Adeleke or APC’s Oyetola Gboyega will emerge as the governor of the state.
The early reports indicate that Gboyega Oyetola, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday swept the two polling units in Ile-Ife, in Osun state, where rerun elections were ordered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to determine the winner.
Ife South, Oyetola got 283 votes, while the PDP candidate got 15 votes. In Ife North(Unit 2), APC got 126 votes, while the PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke got just two votes.
In both polling units, polling agents of the PDP candidate were conspicuously absent.
The result of the voting at Ward 5 Unit 7 at Alekuwodo in Osogbo also favoured the APC candidate. He got 299 votes, while the PDP candidate got 165 votes.
The PDP candidate came into the rerun election with an advantage of 353 votes.
But from the unconfirmed tally of votes from the seven polling units, he seemed to have lost his pole position to the APC candidate, by a very wide margin.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Osun State,
Senator Ademola Adeleke, has rejected the results of the rerun election even before it was officially announced by the Independent INEC yesterday.
This is just as the leadership of the PD P, has called for the cancellation of the governorship rerun election, describing it as “a charade, mockery of democracy and bad omen for the 2019 general elections”.
The Osun PDP guber candidate, in a statement issued on his behalf by the spokesperson for the Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Mr Olawale Rasheed, said the exercise was rigged and therefore vowed to seek legal redress.
According to him, PDP supporters were harassed, intimidated and prevented from voting in some of the units while describing the exercise as a sham.
The statement read, “We report to the whole world the brazen theft and daylight swindling of Osun people who were criminally denied their rights to vote and be voted for by an anti-people conspiracy among INEC, security agencies and the ruling All Progressive Congress. An
unprecedented travesty of justice and the shattering of democratic values are ongoing in Osun State.
Also, the election observation team of the U.S., EU and UK have given their initial observation on the conduct of the rerun governorship election.
The observers gave their stance while addressing journalists in Osogbo in an interview televised by the TVC television station.
A member of the observer team, who spoke on behalf of the team, said the U.S. EU and UK observers had heard reports of irregularities, harassment and interference by inappropriate persons in the elections.
“We are very concerned by these reports and will be checking with stakeholders to check the facts. We call on all stakeholders to remain calm,” he said.
Earlier, the Centre for Democracy and Development, one of the foremost observer groups in Nigeria, faulted the rerun election process.
“In the light of these anti-democratic acts, which have undermined the sanctity of the ballot therefore, we hold strongly the view that the re-run poll of Thursday, September 27, 2018 does not meet up with the minimum standards for free, fair and credible elections,” the CDD said in a statement, Thursday afternoon.
However, United States Consul General in Lagos F. John Bray, who was in Osogbo to monitor the rerun election, has described the process as credible.
He said he did not observe any malpractices or violations of the Electoral Act in Unit 17, Ward 5 where the rerun election took place.
Bray was at the unit from morning when voting started till result was announced at about 3.50pm.
Asked about his observations, he said: “The process has been credible.”
On allegations that some voters were denied access to some units by thugs, Bray said: “There are things going on in six other units. I cannot comment on those things.
“I’m here as an observer today. All I can talk about is what’s in front of me. And today in Osogbo its working fine.
“At this polling unit things have been going on pretty well today. No problem with card readers; people have been orderly.
“We have party agents here from all the political parties. I’m not hearing a lot of complaints. I haven’t seen any vote buying here.”
On why he was there personally to monitor the election, Bray said it was due to the importance the United States attaches to democratic processes.
“The United States is interested in democracy, because we’re a democratic country. So, we always support elections and democracy in Nigeria.
“I observe all the elections personally and I was here last week,” he said.
On how he rates the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Bray said: “From what I’ve seen so far in Osogbo, INEC’s performance is fine.”
Bray, who was at the unit when gunshots were fired around noon, praised the security agencies for preventing any disruptions.
“There was someone who tried to disrupt the poll. They quickly got the unit back to order. The Police and security services came together.
“There was somebody trying to upset the balance, but he didn’t,” Bray said.
The rerun election is to determine the winner of the governorship election which held in Osun on Saturday. Although the PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke had a lead in that election, his margin of victory over the APC candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, was less than the total cancelled votes, the electoral commission, INEC, said.
The votes were cancelled in seven polling units in four local governments where the rerun election was held on Thursday.
The final results of the rerun election were being collated as at the time of this report although results from the polling units showed the APC in the lead.