15 July 2018

Nigeria: Ekiti Election - Defeated PDP Candidate Rejects Results

Photo: This Day
PDP supporters waving flags.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Saturday's governorship election in Ekiti State, Olusola Eleka, has rejected the verdict by the Independent National Electoral Commission which declared the All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi, as winner.

In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, Mr Eleka said there was intimidation, inducement and oppression by security agents, who he said aided APC's manipulation of the electoral process to ensure victory for Mr Fayemi.

Mr Fayemi polled a total of 197,459 to defeat Mr Eleka, who recorded 178,121. He also won in 12 of the total 16 local governments in the state.

"You are all aware of the unfortunate and dangerous events of the past 24 hours, in which our governorship election was hijacked by political desperadoes leveraging on 'federal might' to pervert the electoral process, subvert the will of Ekiti people, and viciously steal the mandate willingly and freely given to me on a massive scale by our people," said Mr Eleka.

"PDP and I won the election overwhelmingly, receiving more than 70% of lawful votes cast and winning in almost all of the state's 16 local government areas.

"I therefore reject the falsified results being bandied by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which purportedly gave the election to the All Progressives Congress and its Candidate; Dr. John Kayode Fayemi."

He also described the outcome of the election as the "most audacious electoral robbery of our recent history," saying the election would not stand.

"This brutal and barbaric process, which started well before the election, did not spare Governor Ayo Fayose and me; as the whole world had seen and had condemned. It is quite unfortunate that the harassment has continued even after the election," he further said.

"On Saturday, July 14, the security agencies and INEC upped the ante, threw all caution to the wind, went back on their promises to be impartial and to conduct credible elections; they sided with APC and Fayemi to the chagrin of our party, myself, and the good people of Ekiti State.

"Despite the alarm we had earlier raised, the security agencies not only supported but also supervised the indiscriminate arrest of our party leaders and agents, the harassment and brutaliz3ation of voters on a massive scale, especially in Ado-Ekiti, Ikere and the suburbs, giving cover, tacit as well as active support to thugs imported into Ekiti by APC to snatch ballot boxes, create confusion, cause mayhem, and drive away voters in PDP strongholds, giving cover to APC agents as they financially and openly induced voters and bought votes at polling stations; and driving away our polling agents from collation centres and illegal seizure of documents and materials in their possession, among many other infractions.

"INEC on its own part reneged on its promise to have results counted, declared, and pasted on the wall of each polling station. There was nowhere INEC transmitted results from the polling centres as earlier promised. Ballot boxes were illegally moved to INEC offices while our agents were disallowed from following the process.

"INEC also allowed late voting by APC in hideouts when it was obvious the figures still would not add up after all the infractions mentioned above. Still, when all of these shenanigans still failed to give them the figures they needed, they stopped the announcement of results ward-by-ward, caused a deliberate power outage at the collation centre, with no alternative source of power provided for a long time, and then wrote results in favour of APC and its candidate.

"Without doubt, what has played out in Ekiti is the APC template for the 2019 General Election, where they have mapped out Rivers and Akwa Ibom as States they must capture at all costs, like they are now trying to do in Ekiti.

"It is now left for the opposition and opposition figures, most especially presidential hopefuls in 2019, to stand up to be counted in the struggle to roll back President Muhammadu Buhari's creeping fascism, or throw in the towel without a fight.

"This is not just a sad day for Ekiti but also for democracy in Nigeria. Nothing demonstrates this better than the gloom that has enveloped our dear state since they announced their convoluted result. Ekiti mourns! But I ask our people not to be despondent but to keep hope alive, quoting the inimitable Chief MKO Abiola. This is another battle we will fight and win.

"In doing this, however, I appeal to all Ekiti sons and daughters to eschew violence. They will try and provoke you but the good Lord will help you to keep calm. Taking a cue from our great leader and democrat par excellence, ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, I wish to reiterate that my ambition is not worth the blood of a single Ekiti son or daughter. We are not cultists and bloody hounds like them and shall therefore not allow them turn Ekiti into a killing field like they have done in the Middle Belt.

"It remains for me to thank Ekiti for standing by me and our great party. Our royal fathers and the Oloris, teachers, civil servants, Okada riders, Labour leaders, market women, artisans, and students - I appreciate your unflinching support. We thank every Nigerian desirous to see the growth and defence of our renascent democracy.

"We thank the international community for their efforts and trust they will not let our people down in this their most trying moment. Those bent on setting this country on fire for selfish reasons must be restrained and turned back by the international community, mindful of the recent experience of Rwanda, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Cote D'Ivoire, to mention but a few."

The governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, had on Saturday, shortly before the release of the results alleged that the election was rigged and that the people should expect results not reflecting the true picture of what transpire at the polls.

The governor however said the people of Ekiti should remain calm and not engage in violence as the ambition of Mr Olusola was not worth the blood of any citizen of the state.

He said his party agents were driven out of the collation centres to pave the way for the manipulation of results.

"In all this, the ambition of Prof. Kolapo Olusola is not worth the blood of any Ekiti son," he said.

"We will seek redress as appropriate, but I want to appeal to you, don't take laws into your hands. It is a matter of time; today we know, tomorrow, we don't.

"They will announce results different from what you did and the votes you gave to Prof, Kolapo Olusola. Our candidate won the election, but the agents were driven out, after series of intimidation, harassment, shooting and thugs took over the whole political environment. It is sad and unfortunate."

Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti State, Abdulganiyu Raji, in his reaction to the election results, said INEC had kept his promise to be fair and transparent in the election.

He said the process was peaceful, lauding the people of Ekiti State for showing such decorum and restraint during the exercise.

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