Leadership (Abuja)

10 August 2014

Nigeria: Osun Governorship Election - Aregbesola Wins

Photo: Premium Times
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today declared incumbent Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola as the winner of Saturday's governorship poll in the state.

According to the INEC, Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won in 22 out of 30 local government areas of the state to defeat his main challenger, Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) who won in eight local government areas.

Omisore's running mate, Obada, PDP chairman lose in their polling units

Leading lights of the APC had on Thursday obtained an interlocutory injunction from an Ile-Ife high court presided over by Justice A. Abdulkarim to restrain the inspector-general of police and the director-general of the State Security Service (SSS) from tampering with their fundamental human rights pending the determination of the main suit.

Initial failure of INEC to make identification tags available for APC agents nearly disrupted the poll in over 100 polling units across the state.

Also, the early results indicate that many of the leaders of the PDP in the state lost in their polling units. They include the PDP's candidate's running mate Hon. Adejare Bello, former minister of state for defence Erelu Olusola Obada, and the party's chairman Gani Ola-Oluwa.

Bello lost the election in his Ede North polling unit where his party scored 30 votes as against APC's 130 votes.

The state chairman of PDP, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa, also lost the election in his Olorunda local government polling unit where PDP scored 95 votes as against APC's 142 votes.

Aregbesola's APC won the election in his Ifofin Ward 08, Ilesa East local government where he got 214 to PDP's 11 votes, while the acting chairman of the APC in the state, Elder Lowo Adebiyi, did not lose: APC trounced the PDP with 108 to 59 votes.

Former minister of state for defence Erelu Olusola Obada lost her Ibodi, Atakumosa West local government, polling unit where PDP scored 3 votes while the APC scored 300 votes.

In Ede North where Senator Isiaka Adeleke hails from, the APC scored 640 votes as against the PDP's 9 votes.

However, The PDP flagbearer, Senator Omisore, made a strong showing in some polling units in Ife zone: he scored 149 votes in Ife Central Ward 05, Unit 01, while the APC scored 73 votes.

Also defecting former Osun State governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola could not deliver to the APC, which scored 61 votes as against PDP that scored 125.

Nonetheless, the election was preceded by claims and reports of arrest of some members of the APC by armed security operatives who allegedly stormed their residences after nightfall.

Notwithstanding, the election was conducted under a peaceful atmosphere in many towns.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made good its promise to ensure that election materials arrived at polling units on time while voting started as scheduled in many local government areas.

Large turnout, tight security in Osogbo

There was a large turnout of voters in most of the polling booths visited by LEADERSHIP Sunday early yesterday in Osogbo, Osun State.

INEC officials were at their duty post as early as 8am with security agents complementing their services.

As early as 8:25am, over 30 people had been accredited to vote at Bishop Street Unit 002 in Olorunda LGA, Osogbo.

Aregbesola expresses delight at election process

Governor Aregbesola has expressed delight at the conduct of the governorship election in the state.

Aregbesola, who was accredited in Unit 1, Ward 8, Ifofin, Ilesa, at 10:45am, said he was sure of victory in the poll.

The governor, who was accompanied by his wife Sherifat and his two children, urged the people of the state to maintain the existing peace in the state.

Aregbesola walked from his Ilesa home with his party supporters, expressing happiness with the way the electorate conducted themselves.

Voters came out in large numbers while electoral officers arrived promptly for the exercise.

Omisore votes, decries high rate of thuggery, intimidation

Governorship candidate of the PDP Senator Omisore cast his vote at Unit 3 in Ward 1 in Moore area of Ife East LGA about noon.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after he cast his ballot, he confirmed the arrest of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for various electoral offences.

He said, "We cannot say we have 100 per cent confidence on INEC. You cannot have 100 per cent confidence on any process that is managed by human. Even as an engineer, you cannot have 100 per cent confidence on the efficiency of a machine.

We have arrested some All Progressives Congress chieftains with electoral materials. There is intimidation and high level of thuggery.

"With what I have seen, I can only pass 70 per cent confidence on INEC."

Obanikoro defends militarization in Osun

The minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has defended the federal government's decision to involve the military in the Osun State governorship election, saying that it would have resulted in bloodletting.

The minister, while addressing journalists in Ibadan, debunked the claim that he was in Osun State for the election.

According to him, soldiers were drafted to Osun to maintain peace and orderliness during the election.

"Our interest is having a free and fair election which President Jonathan and we his disciples believe in. If the military had not been drafted to Osun's election, blood would have been flowing there.

"You, gentlemen of the press, can see me in Ibadan live and direct today (Saturday). As you too see, I am not in Osun talk less of being part of the election there," he said.

He alleged that the APC had invaded Osun with thugs, saying that what APC was doing was in contradiction of electoral guidelines.

How gunmen stormed my house eve of election- Sen. Salami

A chieftain of the APC, Senator Bayo Salami, yesterday narrated how he and his family narrowly escaped death at the hands of "gunmen" who stormed his residence at the GRA in Osogbo, capital of Osun State, at about 10:05pm on Friday.

The home of the former federal lawmaker is less than five minutes' walk from a police command and directly opposite a court premises.

Salami, who represented Osun Central under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) between ‎1999-2003, told newsmen at his Olu-Ode polling unit that the gunmen numbering about 15, including a lady, came in a bus and a sport utility vehicle.

He said: "They beat up my security at the gate and carried him away. They did all that, so me and my family moved into one room.

"They shouted 'open the door or will we will shoot it down'. They shot at the door thinking it was a wooden door. They shot at the door several times but they could not gain entry. When you go to my house now, you will see the pellets littered around."

He said upon their failure to gain access to him and his family, they turned on themselves, blaming one another for the failure of their mission. "They fought themselves before leaving my compound. They were saying to themselves, 'I told you we should have come here earlier."

On whether he reported the matter to the police, he said, "I don't have cause to go to the police. I sent text to people who could help me out."

He noted that he had a tip-off of an intended attack on him, adding that he instructed his wife, who is related to the minister of police affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, challenging him on what had transpired. He said masterminds of such attack deserve not to live in the same society with decent people.

He said the minister replied saying he does not deserve the kind of text message and allegation against him.

Salami said the APC would win the election as it had been a contest between the people of Osun and Omisore. "This is desperation, not democracy. They did it to me. I saw it live. With what they did yesterday (Friday) night I now know they don't have decorum. I now know I am open for attack. If you get to my house you will see all the evidence."

My ordeal in the hands of security agents - Lai Mohammed

Meanwhile, following the Gestapo arrest, manhandling and release of APC spokesperson Alhaji Lai Mohammed and other APC members Friday night in Oshogbo, the party has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of desecrating national institutions by using it to clamp down on the opposition.

Mohammed, who alongside Mr Sunday Dare, the media aide to APC national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Mr Afolabi Salisu, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, was nabbed by national security officials while in Osun State Friday night, said they were lucky to be alive to recount their experience , given their encounter with the security officials.

In a statement he personally signed, the APC spokesman said their offence was not beyond the fact that he belongs to the opposition; other key officials of the PDP were allowed to walk freely in Osun State, he said.

The APC spokesman said, "He desecrates national institutions by wilfully using them against the opposition. This is not the democracy that many of our compatriots fought and died for. This is not the Nigeria that was envisaged by our past heroes. It is time for all concerned to step in and stop President Jonathan before he brings the country crashing down on our heads.

"Again, we call on President Jonathan to stop deceiving the world. In one breath, this president says he is committed to credible elections and that his political ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian.

"In another, he sanctions state-sponsored harassment, intimidation and even killing of ordinary Nigerians by security forces that are now the enforcement arm of the ruling party, all in the name of politics."

He explained that they were being driven to the Government House in Oshogbo when they were stopped at a military checkpoint by men in military and DSS uniforms, all hooded and armed to the teeth with AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and other weapons.

He continued:" Since there was no curfew in Osun State and people were moving around freely, we felt it was a routine check.

"Suddenly, the men, some of them apparently drunk, ordered us out of the car, took our phones, pointed their assault rifles at our heads and said 'you are under arrest'. They herded us into their bus like animals and drove away. There is no doubt that they knew who we are because I introduced myself!

"From our encounter with our tormentors, there is also no doubt that these were not just soldiers and DSS officials; there were also ex-militants and thugs, all clad in military and DSS uniforms but apparently lacking in any training! We also witnessed how men in military and DSS uniform fired their guns at the gate leading to the residence of Senator Isiaka Adeleke to force it open!

"We asked them why we were being arrested, but they ignored our question as they drove for close to one hour before veering into a compound that turned out to be the offices of the DSS. There, we met people who had been previously arrested and stripped of their clothing, many of them bloodied from the beatings to which they must have been subjected.

"We were herded to one side as our tormentors marched around triumphantly, in what could well have been a scene from the Ukraine!

"We were waiting for our turn to be stripped of our apparels and taken along with those who were arrested earlier to the DSS cells when a man who is apparently a senior DSS official intervened and ordered our release. The men who arrested us, apparently unhappy at the order to set us free, rejected the order, until the man asserted his authority and even accompanied us to where we were arrested from."

He said it was at this point they discovered that their driver had been badly beaten and even robbed of his personal belongings by the same security agents being paid by the taxpayers to protect the citizens.

"This arrest is not about Lai Mohammed, Sunday Dare or Afolabi Salisu, whoever we may be, but about the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of Nigerians, ordinary Nigerians, to move around freely, associate with any party of their choice and express their opinions without being molested or arrested.

"The way and manner we were harassed, arrested and dehumanized on Friday night show that Nigerian citizens can no longer be sure that the security agents they encounter on the roads or anywhere else are well-trained and highly-disciplined men and women in the military, police, DSS and others that we used to know.

"What we have now are Jonathan's soldiers, policemen and DSS officials who have since stopped working for the nation but are now the enforcement arm of the PDP.

"Our party, the APC, has no doubt whatsoever that the depravity being exhibited under President Jonathan's watch, in the name of politics, has his imprimatur. We have no doubt that elections, which should be a celebration of democracy, have now been turned to war because of the desperation of President Jonathan to win re-election at all costs. We have no doubt that the anarchic minister of state for defence and minister of police affairs, who are leading the 'troops' in Osun as they did in Ekiti, are taking their cue from President Jonathan.

"If those ministers can move around freely in Osun and elsewhere, why can't other Nigerians, irrespective of the party they belong to? If a PDP hireling like Chris Uba can be put in the command of 50 soldiers of the Nigerian Army, why should anyone still be under any illusion that the Nigerian Army is still serving the nation? Where else in the world is a thug commanding disciplined forces?

"We Lai Mohammed, Sunday Dare and Afolabi Salisu are just fortunate to be alive. The guns pointed at our heads by drunken armed men could have gone off! Since our arrest took place in the dark, we could have been driven to an unknown destination and shot dead! This is a dangerous time for Nigeria and her democracy. Irrespective of the outcome of the Osun election, democracy has been dealt a near-mortal blow. 73,000 'security agents', including the military, police, DSS, Civil Defence, ex-militants, thugs and murderers, deployed to police election in just one state? There is no better indication that we are in a militarized democracy."

Akande condemns usage of army, SSS for poll

Meanwhile, former national chairman of the APC Chief Bisi Akande has condemned the usage of key national institutions for partisan politics, saying that it would spell doom for the nation.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP at his Ila Orogun country home yesterday, Akande wondered why all the security organizations in the country would be involved in conducting an election all in a bid to arrive at a pre-determined agenda.

"It is sad what I am witnessing today. I hope you know the number of security that was deployed for this poll. And they came with a pre-determined agenda. Many of our members are being intimidated, others have been arrested, some are in hiding all because they are desperate to win.

'I am not happy with the conduct of INEC so far. Many of the NYSC members trained for this exercise have been jettisoned and another set brought in from Abuja. We don't even know whether they are actually NYSC members.

"In this town last night, more than 40 members of the APC including an 80-year-old man were arrested. The man was taken to Osogbo and later dropped on the road while others were driven away.

"The man did not even know where he was dropped. This is political brigandage, irresponsible governance, unwarranted impunity. This is a threat to democracy.

'"My generation is on its way out; it is you the young ones that I pity. If this election is rigged, it will be the beginning of the end for our democracy. This desperation towards 2015 is sad," he said.

He called on INEC to allow the will of the people to prevail, adding that the APC would accept the result if it.

FG's war on Osun people mustn't go unchallenged - Falana

Lagos lawyer and human rights activists, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) said last night that despite Governor Rauf Aregbesola's victory in yesterday's governorship poll in Osun State, the war declared by the federal government on the people of the state must not go unchallenged.

In a statement he personally issued, Falana noted that an election that was fully militarised to the extent that people were arrested and detained and disenfranchised cannot be said to be credible, fair and free.

According to him, "the deployment of 73,000 armed security personnel drawn from the Nigerian Armed Forces, Nigeria Police Force, State Security Service, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigerian Prisons Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigerian Security and Defence Corps etc. for the election by President Goodluck Jonathan was a declaration of war on the law abiding citizens of Osun State".

He lamented similar violations of the law that were cordoned in the recently conducted election in Ekiti state turned out to be the impunity that characterised the governorship election in Osun State yesterday.

He said, "Therefore, Governor Aregbesola as the chief security officer of Osun state must ensure that those who are responsible for the breaches of all aspects of the law and the infringements of the fundamental rights of innocent people are brought to book.

"While congratulating Governor Rauf Aregbesola for his well deserved victory in the Osun state governorship election held on August 9, 2014 the unprecedented militarization of the electoral process should not be left unchallenged".

Giving instance of human right violations during the election, Falana said more disturbing was the deployment of snippets who were permitted to wear masks, adding that "the criminal elements engaged in shooting sporadically into the air to intimidate the people of Osun State.

"On the eve of the election they arrested many people who did not commit any offense whatsoever. One of such illegal arrests took place at Oke Ila in Ifedayo local government where an 80-year old lawyer, Chief Dapo Fakayode and 50 other people were taken to an unknown destination.

"They were eventually traced to the compound of a retired army captain at a neighboring town where they were held incommunicado throughout the duration of the election. Through my appeal to the Police Authorities Chief Fakayode was released unconditionally after he had spent over 10 hours in illegal custody. But the 50 others were held illegally and prevented from exercising their democratic right to vote for the candidates of their choice.

Chibuzo Ukaibe, Joshua Dada, Kazeem Akintunde, Olaolu Oladipo and Adebayo Waheed

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InFocus

Nigerian Governor Wins Osun Election

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared the incumbent governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the winner of the governorship elections. Read more »