Osun Guber And The Days Ahead, By Abiodun Komolafe

Again, Osun governorship election has come and gone with its attendant bliss and despair. A winner has emerged while losers have either cheered themselves with courage or looked in the direction of enriching Nigeria’s jurisprudence. While one may wish to laugh at the contenders, even yell at the pretenders over the confusion to which they subjected Nigerians while the process lasted, that a tribe of the Pharisees have been feasting on this important chapter in our history to misinform an unsuspecting public is, to say the least, demeaning.

In fairness to reality, Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s major ‘mistake’ was his desire to bring Lagos to Osun without realizing that Osun didn’t have what it takes to be (like) Lagos. Added to this was the salary dilemma which struck the state like an epidemic somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, more than 18 states are still caught in the web, even as we speak. In the face of these challenges however, Osun has thrown up some significant posers that may be a subject of debate for some time to come.

For instance, beyond the points of law and allied arguments being raised in some quarters, it is within the jurisdiction of conventional wisdom to interrogate the circumstances that led Nigerians into becoming unlucky victims of a process that almost handed Osun’s destiny back to political misfits whose adventure in power would have limited the people’s capacity to think for the next four years.

I have told those who delight in accusing the electorate of “not appreciating performance” that, unlike acceptable democratic norms, elections here are contests – somehow stern, sometimes tedious. So, to have expected the loser on September 27, 2018 to “be honourable in losing” would have amounted to expecting the sun to rise from the West.

But then, how did we find ourselves at this messy pass, where educational accomplishments are no longer appreciated for an office as important as that of a governor? Was it the fault of the Aregbesola-led government for ‘not putting food on the table of the electorate’ or that of a tiny section of the electorate for being selfishly interested in mortgaging its future for a pot of porridge?

Political leaders who lack the capacity to understand the essence of education are bound to be absentminded when issues of growing the economy in the right direction, combating unemployment, getting infrastructure development right, and checking ‘condition-driven’ urban migration come to the fore. Good that the electorate opted for a candidate whose credentials were impeccable and, his word, his bond. Otherwise, a “dance to Osun Government House” by a particular candidate would have made a mess of our education while working harder in life would henceforth have meant nothing.

A lot of our youth would have by this unbargained-for victory become disenchanted and the state would have been preparing for a government by proxy as the flag-bearer in question lacks the capacity to govern a state as socio-economically sophisticated as Osun. Above all, our scarce resources would have been preparing for an unenviable journey into the hungry, private pockets of a mendacious cabal – mere men with narrow loyalty to the ‘Land of Virtue.’

Unarguably, Osun provides a rich opportunity for the party at the centre to rediscover itself, preparatory to next year’s General Elections. Without being immodest, events in the last few weeks have forced rational thinkers to conclude that, unless the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is prepared to rise to the occasion, Osun may repeat itself, even in a more ferocious form in 2019.

For obvious reasons, the gang-up against the ruling party is real and, from the look of things, the contest is most likely to be tense. Essentially therefore, it’s time the story of party politics changed for the better if APC must be taken seriously by Nigerians. From the experience in Osun, fact is that Alli Baba and the Forty Thieves who are bent on returning Nigeria back to Egypt are sinisterly scheming to truncate and disrupt a process already on its way to the Promised Land. Needless to repeat that APC has to change its strategy and fine-tune tactics in order to smile convincingly next year!

As we all know, the  most  comfortable  and  realistic  duty  of  anyone  desirous  of developing patriotism  is  to read between  the  lines  of  history. A friend once wrote that if the Aregbesola-led administration had achieved 5% of what the major opposition party in Osun launched against it in terms of propaganda, the story would at least have changed. I also share this sentiment!

While my comments on this objective observation are issues for another day, I make bold to say that a strategy that underestimated the influence of Isiaka Adeleke, among other considerations, in the recently-concluded election was a costly mistake that must not be repeated in the build-up to February 2019. Already, there are embarrassing allegations of compromise by some of the ad hoc staff recruited for the Osun election. This is in addition to other unpleasant infractions like vote-buying, over-voting, ballot box snatching and betrayal of trust on the part of some of the security agents deployed for the exercise. These disturbing trends are not likely to give way, except some steps are taken, lawfully, to address the situation.

Again, while the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s efforts at stabilizing the economy have not gone unnoticed, it still needs to do more on the herders’ insurgency which has now overtaken Boko Haram terrorism as Nigeria’s greatest security threat. Olusegun Obasanjo’s distractions notwithstanding, it is also not too late for this administration to compliment ‘greening’ of the street with some ‘greening’ of the stomach, especially now that it’s only corruption that is “fighting back.” In my view, allowing poverty to partake of the ‘fight-back’ may be too heavy a burden for Nigerians to bear.

Yes, the days ahead promise to be very interesting! Therefore, time to act is now! Strangely enough, those who had hoped to bank on the advantage of age to deceive Nigerians have with the emergence of Atiku Abubakar fallen victim to the awkward narrative usually associated with political adventurism in this part of the world.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

 

 

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My Pact With The People Of Osun Central, By Dr Surajudeen Basiru

My Dear good people of Osun Central,

1. I am Dr. Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, I am from Odofin Compound in Osogbo.

2. I had my primary and secondary education in Salvation Army Primary School and Laro Grammar School, Osogbo respectively.

3. I obtained LL.B (Hons), LL.M and Ph.D. in law from the University of Lagos.

4. I practiced law extensively after my legal education in the Nigerian Law School and I was part of the legal team that represented Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in the titanic legal battle that eventually saw the retrieval of the mandate of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

5. I am a legal practitioner, legal scholar and public administrator. I served as Hon. Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties in the first -term of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and was re-appointed as Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in the second-term.

6. I am humbly seeking your mandate as I believe that my academic qualifications and experience in both private and public sector as well as active political participation has put me in a good stead to seek your mandate to represent you as a member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

7. As a senator, the primary responsibilities are:

7.1 Lawmaking.

7.2 Oversight functions of the executive arm

7.3 Approval of key appointees of the Government of Nigeria as may be stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution and other enabling laws.

8. I sincerely pray that you understand the scope of my constitutional mandate as a Senator. Nevertheless, I am irrevocably committed to the achievement of the following if you graciously elect me as your Senator to represent Osun Central Senatorial District:

8.1 Facilitation of execution of laudable and impactful projects in all spheres of life in Osun Central Senatorial District.

8.2 An all – inclusive qualitative representation at the Nigerian Senate.

8.3 Easily accessible Senatorial office/secretariat.

8.4 Sponsoring of beneficial bills.

8.5 Sponsoring of Bill to establish a Federal medical Centre in Osun Central Senatorial District.

8.6 Establishment of Skills/Vocational training centers across Osun Central Senatorial District.

8.7 Annual Employability/Career Training/Job Fair for Graduates in the Senatorial district to ensure that our Graduates are not just qualified but also employable.

8.8 Facilitation of a Tech/ICT Hub for youths in the district.

8.9 Annual Medical check/Health Awareness programmes

8.10 Facilitation of projects and infrastructure to the district.

8.11 Senator Ajibola Basiru Food Bank for Osun Senatorial district

8.12 Quarterly Town Hall Meetings with constituents.

8.13 Senator Ajibola Basiru’s water project for rural areas.

8.14 Support the political developments in Osun Central Senatorial District and the State of Osun at large.

9. I believe that your support will greatly assist in uplifting our lives collectively in Osun Central Senatorial District.

10. I Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru Ph.D., BL (Notary Public)
Osogbo.
October, 2018

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Osun Attorney General, Oyetola DG Make APC Senatorial List

The incumbent Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General for Osun state, Dr. Ajibola Basiru and the director general for the newly elected Governor; Gboyega Oyetola Campaign Organization, Hon. Ajibola Famurewa made the list of names of candidates submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission INEC on Sunday.

An inside source in INEC headquarters quoted to have received the names of a former APC governorship aspirant in the build up to the September 22nd Osun election, Engr. Adelere Oriolowo, also a doctorate degree holder in Law and lecturer, Ajibola Basiru and Mr Famurewa a serving two term lawmaker representing Ijesa South Federal constituency in the House of Representatives.

Chief Yinusa Amobi of Iwo, Ola – Oluwa & Ayedire Federal constituency, one Mr. Lawrence Ayeni to represent Ilesa West, Atakumosa East and Atakumosa West constituency, a serving lawmaker in the 8th National Assembly, Hon. Femi Fakeye is to return for Ila federal constituency, Mrs Taiwo Oluga for irewole federal constituency made the list.

Other names on the list submitted by Osun APC for national Assembly elections are Olamiju Olamijulo, Adejare Bello, Folorunso Bamisayemi, Olalekan Rasheed Afolabi and Bukola Oyewo respectively for the nine seats in the house of Representatives.

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Osun Poll: Democracy Is Dead In Nigeria – Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the Osun gubernatorial election as a “show of shame.”

In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, Fayose said democracy is dead in Nigeria with the outcome of the supplementary governorship poll held in Osun on Thursday. He accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC), and security forces to pervert the will of the Nigerian electorate.

The outgoing governor commended the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer in the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, for “having fought a good fight.” Hailing Adeleke, Fayose said: “You did not lose but your mandate has only been stolen.

“With the show of shame that happened in last Saturday’s Osun state governorship election in general and the Thursday rerun in particular, there is no other conclusion to draw than that democracy is now dead in our beloved country. “With what happened in Osun State, democracy is actually dead in Nigeria and we are in critical times. “The Osun supplementary elections was just a repeat of what happened in Ekiti state on July 14th. And it is unfortunate that, again, the will of the people has been perverted.

“It was obvious even to the blind that the Osun election, as was the case with Ekiti, was a contest between the PDP and the security agencies supervised by a compromised INEC.” Fayose alleged that the university professors used as returning officers by INEC had, ab initio, been compromised and only served the interest of those he described as their pay masters.

He added: “Therefore, we want to believe that conscionable Nigerians and the survival of this country as a whole are at the mercy of God and of the judiciary. And if the judiciary fails to rise up to the occasion, Nigerians will be among men the most miserable.” He condemned the violence that attended the election, sympathised with the families of those killed and enjoined PDP members to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.

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Osun Poll: We Did Not Offer Omisore Money, Says APC

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has said no financial inducement was offered to Senator Iyiola Omisore to gain his support during the rerun election conducted on Thursday.

National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, at a press conference in Abuja, adding that the former deputy governor of the state never made any such demand.

According to him, the party gave Senator Omisore the opportunity to sponsor candidates to contest elections on the APC platform, stressing, however, that saying the APC offered him money was out of place.

He said: “I said we had a negotiation and had a deal that has to do with the governance of Osun State. I didn’t go with money and I don’t have money to give to anybody. He didn’t ask, and there was no basis for him to ask.

“The word automatic ticket has meaning. Having regards to the provisions of electoral act which makes primary mandatory, can you at the same time talk of automatic ticket?

“Even when I spoke to our National Assembly members, it is not that I don’t know that the word exists, but I simply didn’t find it useful and never used it.

“We agreed that he will have an opportunity for him to contest for a seat on APC platform. Not just for senate or House of Representatives, but also for house of assembly.

“That is why I said we spoke about the immediate, which is the Osun election, and going forward.”

The APC Chairman said further that “both the APC and the PDP recognise that we needed to do business with the other minority parties that participated in the election, and it wasn’t difficult to understand who to do business with if you want to influence the outcome of the election.

“It was clear that the SDP was largely in control of those areas. If you want to do a coalition, you identify the leaders who have influence and enter into negotiation.

“While PDP were shouting in the morning that they were going to challenge the rerun, their leader went to Senator Omisore to persuade him to negotiate a possible working arrangement.

“Recognising the fact that SDP was critical to this conversation, we decided to also open negotiation with their leadership, and I was impressed by his emphasis.

“He told us that, yes he has lost, but he believes that he can still win if we have a deal that seeks to address the primary purpose of his participation in the process, which is the governance of the state and specific policy issues that were of concern to him.

“We had a robust conversation and reached an agreement which I think is healthy.

“We didn’t have to negotiate about compensation or about paying money to anyone. The issue was about governance, education and how we can have a working relationship ahead of the general election and in future elections.

“We were able to strike a deal that has to do with the specific issues that affect the welfare and the wellbeing of the people of Osun State.

“Whereas Saraki failed to strike a deal with the SDP, we secured a deal with them and now APC, working with the SDP, had huge influence in those areas, and combining our efforts, it was not strange that at the end, we won.

“For democracy to flourish, only people who can accept the pain of defeat should participate in an election, because there must be a winner and a loser. But for PDP to take the position as if election is only free and fair if they win is not ideal.

“When they won election in Cross River last month, we did not hear any voice. They won in Taraba, we did not hear any voice; INEC was perfect. But whenever they lose, INEC is colluding. We do not have the rigging know-how.”

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Osun Election Was Rigged – PDP Alleges

The Osun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of allegedly conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the Thursday’s governorship rerun election in the state.

The State’s PDP Chairman, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, at a press conference in Ede, also stated that the gubernatorial election was accompanied with violence.

Similarly, the PDP’s candidate in the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, vowed to use both physical and legal means to upturn the result of the poll in his favour.

The senator said he sympathised with those that were wounded during the election, promising that those arrested would be released soon.

He also expressed gratitude to domestic and international observers for their impartial coverage of the election allegedly marred by violence, malpractices and irregularities.

Adeleke added that the people of Osun must remain vigilant but calm.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, announced Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the APC as duly elected and winner of the rerun election after it had declared the Sept. 22 governorship election inconclusive.

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Osun: Time To Hit The Ground Running Is Now – Alabi Tells Oyetola

The Chairman of the Republic of Ireland chapter of Oranmiyan Foundation, Dr. Oluwole Alabi, has on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC), expressed appreciation to the people of Osun State for ensuring the party’s victory at the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state.

Alabi, an aspirant for the House of Representatives for Osogbo/Irepodun/Orolu/Olorunda Federal Constituency under the banner of the APC, congratulates the party’s candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, and his running mate, Hon. Benedict Alabi, on what he described as the hard-earned victory.

In a statement issued through Itesiwaju Movement- a socio-political group in the state, which campaigned vigorously for the success of the APC at the poll, Alabi noted that the process of the keenly contested election and the peaceful conduct of the electorate have revealed the sophistication of the people of the state, and their determination to enthrone a government they can be proud of.

He, therefore, urged the governor-elect to guard the mandate jealously, saying the time to consolidate on the successes recorded by the outgoing Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is now.

The statement reads in part; “We have prayed and worked very hard, and God has crowned our efforts with this success. The journey was rough and tough but the people stood solidly behind us. We cannot afford to let them down because it is a trust that must be guarded jealously.

“Our leader and symbol of Omoluabi has achieved so much for the state within the last eight years, but there is still much ground to be covered. We have no doubt that the governor-elect is a technocrat, and one not new to the intricacies of governance. He knows Osun and knows the people well. Time to consolidate on the past is now and there is no single minute to spare. We must not allow the people to regret giving us this mandate.”

Alabi also called on the people of the state to constructively engage the government, saying criticisms are the lubricants that oil the wheel of progress in a democracy.

He urged the workers in the state, market men and women, artisans and more importantly the elite, not to rely on hearsay about the government but to always seek to know the truth before forming opinion about their leaders.

He also urged the ruling party in the state to respect the choices of the people as they file out to choose those to represent them in various elective positions.

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Coalition Of Over 20 Political Parties Declare Support For APC In Osun Rerun Election

The Alliance of Collaborating Political Parties (ACPP), on Wednesday afternoon declared support for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the rerun election scheduled to hold on Thursday September 27.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the coalition and sent to press men in Osogbo, the State Capital.

The coalition, which comprised of more than 20 political parties, majorly from the opposition fold, noted that it participated in the September 22, governorship election which was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The statement partly reads:

“We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the governorship election which local and international observers adjudged free, fair, peaceful and credible.

“We are keenly interested in the rerun of the governorship election which is coming up tomorrow in seven polling units of Orolu, Osogbo, Ife-South and Ife-North Local Government Areas.

“We commend the people of Osun for coming out in large numbers to vote and for conducting themselves peacefully and in orderly manner during the election. In the face of provocations in some quarters, the people of the state exhibited Omoluabi ethos by remaining calm and law abiding during and after the election. This is commendable.

“Similarly, we laud the security agencies for their professional conduct and for upholding democracy. Of course, Osun has never had a tension soaked and well contested election like the September 22 governorship election. Despite the tension, there was no violence anywhere in the state. There was no harassment, intimidation or oppression of the electorate by security agents.

“Gentlemen of the media, we are left with two candidates in the rerun election – the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s, Gboyega Oyetola and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s, Ademola Adeleke. As stakeholders and lovers of development, we consider competence, good track record, education, private and public sectors experience, intelligence and good conduct as factors in choosing who to support. Considering all these, we are left with no choice than to declare our support for Gboyega Oyetola, the APC candidate. We fully endorse his candidature.

“It is our firm opinion that he has the capacity to govern Osun and continue the development of the state. Oyetola is a God-fearing, capable, well educated, humane, honest and a man of integrity. We urge the people of Osun who are voting in the seven polling units in Ife-North, Ife-South, Orolu and Osogbo Local Government Areas to massively vote for him tomorrow.

“We also urge the people to be orderly, peaceful and law abiding during and after the runoff election.

“We condemn strongly the monetisation of election in Osun by the PDP as manifested in buying voters card, paying for votes and making voters to swear to satanic oaths in exchange for cash. This amounts to political corruption that is capable of subverting and undermining the foundation of democracy in Nigeria and Osun in particular.

“We call on law enforcement agents to investigate this matter, apprehend the perpetrators and make them to face the law. This evil and cancerous development must be excised from our body politic.

“We call on all the security agencies to be at alert and ensure that nobody, irrespective of political affiliation, is allowed to jeopardise the peaceful atmosphere of the state during and after the election.”

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Osun Rerun: Omisore Declares Support For APC

The candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Iyiola Omisore, has asked his supporters to vote for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Thursday’s rerun election in Osun State.

Mr Omisore stated this when he addressed journalists on Wednesday in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

Mr Omisore, who came third in the main election held on Saturday, has been courted by both the APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

In the inconclusive election held Saturday, Ademola Adeleke of the PDP scored 254,698 votes to beat his APC rival, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254, 345 votes. Mr Omisore, who hails from Ife Central local government, polled 128,049 votes to occupy the third place.

The rerun election was declared on Sunday after the electoral commission, INEC, declared the governorship election inconclusive. INEC said the margin between the two leading parties, PDP and APC, is less than the number of cancelled votes (3,498) in the seven polling units.

The rerun election holds in the seven polling units were elections were cancelled.

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Osun Rerun: Police Arrests Three PDP Chieftains For Purchasing PVCs

The Osun State Police Command has 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.”
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Ignore Jittery PDP, Gear Up For Rerun, APC Charges Osun Voters

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Council for the Osun Governorship Election has urged
the party’s members in the areas where the state’s election rerun will be held on Thursday to ignore the rantings of the PDP and turn out enmasse to vote for the ruling party.

In a statement in Abuja by the Chairman of the Council’s Media Committee, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Council said the threat by the opposition Peopls Democratic Party (PDP) that it would challenge, in court, INEC’s declaration of last Saturday’s election as inconclusive is nothing but sheer bravado, especially as the opposition party is afraid of losing the rerun.

It said the PDP may also have contrived the court threat as a way of distracting the APC and its members ahead of the rerun, calling that distraction 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, 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,” the Council said.

It said that since the PDP had boasted that its candidate will win if the Osun Governorship Election is 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.

The Council said, however, that if the PDP chooses to boycott Thursday’s rerun out of fear, the party’s right to do so will 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 Council said.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Chairman
APC Campaign Council Media Committee

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Osun: Election As Theatre, By Reuben Abati

What is going on in Osun state right now is nothing short of political theatre. It is keeping us all entertained, but it has also turned so many observers into emergency lawyers. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the Osun Gubernatorial election of September 22 inconclusive and has ordered a supplementary election at seven polling centres in four local councils on September 27.

Many Nigerians are taking a keen interest in the Osun election. This should not be surprising. Every election season in Nigeria, what the law says or does not say is the concern of all kinds of experts who suddenly discover the country’s Constitution and call it out into action as they deem fit. In the last 48 hours, the Nigerian public space has been suffused with relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution on elections, with the more popular references being Sections 1(2), 69 and 179 (2) of the Constitution and Sections 68 (c), 69 and 153 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). Many interested parties have also been dredging up decided cases from the past.

It is really entertaining to see both lawyers and non-lawyers alike referring to precedents from previous elections in Kogi, Bauchi, Edo, Katsina states, and court rulings in Osunbor vs Oshiomhole, Nwobasi vs  Ogbaga and 2 ors.,  and Faleke vs INEC.

What are the issues? Issue 1: whether INEC has acted rightly within the purview of the law by declaring the Osun Gubernatorial election inconclusive? Issue 2: whether a candidate who won a simple majority and one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the local councils in the state as required under Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution, can be denied a prompt declaration on the grounds that the margin of his victory is lower than the number of cancelled votes? Issue 3: whether the guidelines provided for in the Electoral Act 2010, and the INEC Manual for Election officials, can override the Constitution? Issue 4: whether INEC has the powers to declare an election inconclusive? Issue 5: whether Senator Ademola Adeleke having been the first to go past the post in the Osun Gubernatorial election of September 22 should have been declared winner of the election?

Opinions on the matter are divided; even lawyers are offering contradictory opinions. Those who do not know what the Constitution looks like have also been busy quoting it. It is partly for this reason that I have argued elsewhere that the wise option before the People’s Democratic party (PDP) and its Osun Gubernatorial candidate, Ademola Adeleke, would be to go to court and seek an interlocutory injunction to stop INEC from going ahead with the proposed re-run until the more substantive issues in the case have been determined. They may also seek an order of mandamus from the court asking INEC to declare the results of the Osun State Gubernatorial election held on September 22. As at the time of this writing, neither the PDP nor Senator Ademola Adeleke has taken this course of action. They probably have taken the decision to participate in the rerun election.

Once they do so, they may no longer be in a position to raise any a posterioriprotest about the election of September 22, as the principle of estoppel by conduct could automatically kick in, and be held against them, and that election would be validly inchoate as INEC has declared. Is it not better to put something on record?  I am all for testing the law on the issues outlined above, more so as there has been a repeated tendency on the part of INEC, under President Muhammadu Buhari to use the tool of “inconclusive elections” mostly in elections where the ruling party seems to find it difficult to have its way. But why would the PDP and its candidate be reluctant to attempt a legal response at this point?  Over-confidence that they will win? Or hope that they could still resort to the Election Petitions Tribunal later, if the need arises?

Adeleke and the PDP are probably aware of the declaration by Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court at the commencement of the new Legal Year 2018/2019 last week. His Lordship disclosed that High Court Judges have been directed not to grant any stay or interlocutory injunctions in political cases. I don’t think anyone who needs the protection of the courts should be deterred by this. While it is advisable to protect the courts from the antics of political gladiators, I find His Lordship’s directive strange, for it would appear that what he has done is to ask the High Court to divest itself of its own jurisdiction. How can a court divest itself of its own jurisdiction through administrative fiat? Would it not be better to take every case on its own merit, expeditiously of course, and to ensure that the end of justice is served?

And perhaps, Adeleke and the PDP are also intimidated by the reference, in the last two days, to the Supreme Court decision in Faleke vs INEC and anor. (SC. 648/2016) NGSC 84 which is being relied upon by a few to justify INEC’s decision on the September 22 Osun election. It must be noted to start with that the material facts in that case are different, even if there are clear and unambiguous pronouncements in that ruling on the value of election guidelines, the powers of INEC to declare an election inchoate and the effect of Section 179 (2) (a) (b) of the Constitution. My suspicion is that the jurisprudence in Faleke’s case is now being exploited for political reasons. The Supreme Court in that case, may have unwittingly created an argument that it did not originally anticipate.  There are unanswered questions: Can we use the Electoral Act or any other subsidiary legislation to vary the provisions of the Constitution? Can we use a subsidiary legislation to write into the Constitution what is not in it?  I raise these questions for reflection.

This space not being a court of law, I shall proceed no further on this score. It is entirely up to Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party, to decide whether to go to court or not. But with Adeleke having led the Osun Gubernatorial polls with 254, 698 votes to Gboyega Oyetola (APC)’s 254, 345, leaving a margin of 353, and the former fulfilling the conditions in Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, it can be said that the sentiments of the people of Osun state are with Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP.

The incumbent Governor of Osun State, Raufu Aregbesola and other APC leaders who before Sept. 22 had thought that they would win the election easily must have been  shocked that the PDP candidate could put up such a strong performance. What they will also not easily admit is that Adeleke’s performance is from all indications, a vote against Aregbesola and the APC. It is a comment on the prevailing order in that state: a vote against non-payment of salaries, and pensions, and a comment on the arrogance of the APC elite. It has taken a dancing Senator to remind Governor Aregbesola of the extent of his party’s popularity in Osun state. That popularity contest will be determined this week.

My sympathy is with Ademola Adeleke, and not necessarily because he has the best credentials for the job, but if he is the choice of the people of Osun State, the people should be allowed to make their choice and no deliberate obstacles should be placed in their way.  There is probably nothing his opponents have not done to stop him. He was accused of not having the requisite educational qualification for the office: secondary education – and was taken to court. The Court summoned the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and asked for clarification via a sworn  affidavit.  Adeleke was vindicated when the Examinations Council confirmed that he indeed sat for the School Certificate Examination in 1980/81. His critics didn’t give up.

They made big capital out of the fact that the Senator, as a secondary school student got an F9 in English language. They turned this into a butt of jokes, except that the law does not require Nigerian politicians to have anything more than fail grades for them to be eligible for office. With his F9 in English, Adeleke can in fact sometime in the future emerge as president or Vice President of Nigeria! His critics still wouldn’t give up. Three days to the election, the Police Headquarters in Abuja disclosed that Ademola Adeleke and one Sikiru Adeleke are the subject of an investigation involving an alleged fraudulent procurement of NECO certificates. They wanted him to report in Abuja. The president had to intervene and ask the Inspector-General of Police to back off. Adeleke was further cast in the image of a bumbler without brains who only knows how to dance all over the place.

I think the fellow himself has not helped matters in this regard, though, but that is certainly not the focus of this commentary. What is certain is that every ad-hominem attack on Senator Adeleke has totally failed. He remains popular with the people of Osun state.

This is the same man the people of Osun State gave majority votes on Saturday, September 22 in a Gubernatorial election that paraded 48 political parties and candidates, and they will probably do so again on Thursday. By hounding Ademola Adeleke with everything at their disposal, the Osun APC and their allies elsewhere, have turned him into the ordinary people’s hero. Public sentiment is in his favour, either in Osun or anywhere else in Nigeria, because of the perceived desperation of the APC. The declaration of the September 22 election merely fuels existing suspicions and the public’s sentiments. This is the more reason why INEC’s integrity and credibility is at stake. It must do everything to demonstrate that it is indeed an independent and unbiased umpire and not an agent of the ruling party. Both INEC and the ruling party must be seen to be consolidating our democracy and do nothing to undermine the country’s jurisprudence.

I don’t know whether the INEC Chairman and the Returning Officer for Osun watched the recent US Open Grand Slam final match between Serena Williams and the young Japanese tennis player, Naomi Osaka. There was a lot at stake in that match. If Serena Williams won, she would have matched the record 24 Grand Slam titles won by Australian player, Margaret Court. If Naomi Osaka won, she would be the first Japanese to win the US Open Grand Slam singles championship.  But at the end of the match, both players were not the issue, even if Osaka won, but the chair umpire of the match who was accused of harsh calls against Serena Williams. Serena received a code violation warning for smashing her racket, she was accused of cheating, she was penalized a game for “verbal abuse.” The drama took the sweetness out of Naomi Osaka’s victory. INEC as umpire in the Osun election should avoid the temptation to turn itself into an issue.

Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party may be ahead with 353 votes so far, but having chosen to participate in the rerun, they must be aware that the two-horse race they have signed up for on Thursday can go in either direction. They must not smash their rackets. They must eschew verbal abuse. They should keep their eyes on the ball. They must appeal to the people of Osun state to be vigilant and the voters in the local councils where the rerun will be held should come out en masse as they did last Saturday. One more piece of advice for Adeleke: to win that election, he must cultivate the friendship of other opposition leaders in the State.

Other PDP leaders, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, have been helping him to talk to Senator Iyiola Omisore, who has now emerged as the “beautiful bride” of the supplementary election, since most of the votes at stake on Thursday are concentrated in his political strongholds – Ife North and Ife South. Adeleke should reach out to him personally, and encourage him to mobilise his supporters to back the PDP- a party he defected from just before this same election.

The APC are also talking to Omisore and he has set up a technical team to weigh the options before the Osun State Social Democratic Party (SDP). Omisore faces a critical moment in his political career.  He must make a wise choice. Victory for Adeleke will shore up INEC’s credibility, allay all fears of manipulation, and create opportunity for the emergence of an inclusive government in Osun State, with implications for subsequent elections in 2019. But of course, the APC is not going to drop the ball either on account of public sentiments. Governor Raufu Aregbesola will seek to protect his legacy and future, and also seek to avoid the “Ekiti outcome. “ Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola will also want victory for himself. May the people’s will prevail.

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