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.