THE Police in Osun State yesterday warned troublemakers to stay away from the seven polling units where rerun governorship election will be held, today warning violators that they would have themselves to blame.
The police assurance came on a day that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, wrote diplomatic missions in the country, claiming that his life and those of some leaders of the PDP were under threat.
The developments were against the background of intense lobbying by political stakeholders in the state which culminated in the alignment of the Social Democratic Party, SDP candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore with the All Progressives Congress, APC which trailed the PDP with 353 votes at the end of the inconclusive election last Saturday. The decision was preceded by a visit to Omisore by the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and four governors of the APC.
Osun Govt declares public holiday
Meanwhile, the Osun Government has declared today as public holiday to enable electorate to vote in the re-run gubernatorial election.
A statement by the media aide to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Mr Sola Fasure said the public holiday was to enable workers participate in the rerun governorship election.
Omisore, Vanguard gathered yesterday got a good deal that would among others see him produce three commissioners in a coalition government and a federal appointment for an associate.
Osun : Election as Theatre
The PDP candidate led with 254,698 votes; followed by the APC's Oyetola with 254,345 votes, and Omisore with 128,049 votes.
The election was declared inconclusive on the claim that the 3,498 votes cancelled or in places where voting did not take place or was disrupted was more than the 353 difference between the two leading parties. Today's rerun is to decide the winner.
Omisore's move elicited condemnation from Yoruba Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and SDP National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, who disowned the former deputy governor of Osun State and said he had committed political suicide.
Also, the pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Organisation, Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, urged the people of Osun State to make their choice in a peaceful and orderly manner. "As the people of Osun go to the polls to conclude last Saturday's gubernatorial polls in seven units, Afenifere calls on the good people of the state to make their choice in a peaceful and orderly manner. The supplementary election is crucial to the future of Osun, Yorubaland and indeed the whole of Nigeria and this explains the interest the international community has taken in it," he said.
Addressing newsmen at Osun Police Command headquarters in Osogbo, yesterday, DIG Joshak Habila, the supervising DIG for the Osun governorship election said from intelligence report, some people are planning to disrupt the election.
Habila, who is Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations (DOPS), the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, said: "We have an intelligence report that there is a grand plan to turn the election gruesomely violent and deadly by arming thugs to unleash mayhem at polling centres. As law enforcement agencies, the Police and other security agencies would not permit the breakdown of law and order.
"Those of them preparing for 'fire-for-fire' must be ready to bear the consequences of their actions, which are designed to undermine this particular democratic process. It should be noted that the Nigeria Police Force will remain proactive and would not rest on its oars in its task to decode the identities of those democratic enemies."
Oshiomhole, four APC govs visit Omisore
High ranking APC members including National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and four governors of the party - Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Muhammad Baduru (Jigawa), Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun met with Iyiola Omisore, yesterday morning to seek his support for APC at today's poll.
Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State governor-elect, had two days ago led some APC chieftains to Omisore.
Like the APC, leaders of the PDP had also visited Omisore. Senate President Bukola Saraki was one of the first leaders to visit Omisore to woo him for the PDP. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had also asked Omisore to support the PDP.
After intense pressure, Omisore initially declined to back any of the two parties and asked his supporters to vote for any candidate of their choice. "I am telling my people that they should go with any political party that believes in what we in the SDP stand for; good governance, social justice and accountability. I have already detailed how we planned to restore Osun to the path of good governance through the five thematic pillars in the manifesto I shared during the electioneering. I will not negotiate for personal gains and abandon my people."
However, sources at yesterday's parley with APC leaders and governors said a deal was sealed for the SDP candidate to work with the APC at the rerun.
Why I'm supporting APC in the re-run - Omisore
Indeed, Omisore, yesterday evening, declared coalition with the ruling APC in today' s re- run. Senator Omisore, who made his party's decision known at a press conference in Ile-Ife hinged the decision on the acceptance of his party's manifestos, including payment of backlog of arrears to civil servants and senior citizens within the first three months of assumption of office by the APC.
Noting that the leadership of the APC and PDP had in the last 72 hours pressured him for his party's support in the rerun, Omisore said that what is paramount to him is the practice of true democracy, good governance and accountability in Osun State and that he will never renege on his promise of good governance, accountability and human dignity in the state.
In a related development, Alliance for Cooperating Political Parties, ACPP has also declared it's support for the APC candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola for the rerun.
Falae disowns Omisore, Fasoranti asks party members to vote according to their conscience
The National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae yesterday disowned the party's governorship candidate in Osun Iyiola Omisore over his decision to support APC in today's governorship re-run election
Falae, who spoke with Vanguard in Akure said " the party is not aware and not a party to that decision.
" He didn't say that the party will work with APC. So we as as party is not aware or a party to that decision.
Also, the National leader of the Pan Yoruba Socio- Political Group, Afenifere, Pa Rueben Fasoranti advised members of the Social Democratic Party in Osun state to vote in today's re-run election according to their conscience and should not be teleguided.
Fasoranti said they should do what was right according to their conscience not minding the pressure and financial inducements or where anyone is asking them to vote for.
" The people in the areas where the re- run would take place should not mind all the intimidations, inducements. They should vote according to their conscience not minding the party their leader wants them to vote for in the election.
He has committed political suicide - Adebanjo
Reacting to Omisore's decision to pitch his tent with the APC, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said the SDP candidate has committed political suicide.
Adebanjo said: "He is on his own. Without no consultation with either the chairman of the SDP and Afenifere, he made the statement. He is completely on his on. Up till Tuesday night, he told me that there was nothing like that; it just shows the type of character he is. I can assure you that he will fail. It is a political miscalculation, he has committed a suicide."
Adeleke seeks international support to avert rigging
In a letter to diplomatic missions in Nigeria, raising alarm over threats to his life and alleged clamp down on his supporters ahead of today's supplementary poll, Adeleke decried the refusal of INEC to declare him the winner of last Saturday's election in line with the constitution, alleged killing and maiming of his supporters, arrest of key PDP leaders on trumped-up charges and manipulation of the electoral process.
The letter was sent to the European Union,United States and several diplomatic missions in Nigeria and the United Nations.
The letter reads: "I am constrained to write this letter to intimate you, our diplomatic partners and friends of despotic happenings in Osun governorship polls which I won but for which I was not declared the winner. My life is under threat and leaders of my party are under siege before and after Saturday's main polls.
"During the campaigns, we were subjected to countless attacks. I escaped about four assassination attempts. Our campaign vehicles were severally attacked and our rallies disrupted. We went through the pre-election process under constant onslaught from political thugs and merchants of violence.
"The agenda of the ruling party is to ensure that votes do not count. The target is to thwart the will of the people. The APC is out to subvert the will of the people, an action that will have deep negative impact on the sanctity of the electoral process ahead of 2019 polls."
Calling on the international community "to prevail on President Muhammad Buhari to allow votes to count by restoring my mandate" the PDP candidate said: "We count on you to mount pressure on the ruling party to restore people's mandate in Osun State."
Court orders release of PDP chieftain, Diekola, two others
Meanwhile, Justice A. O. Ayoola of an Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo, has ordered the release of a chieftain of the PDP, and his two aides.
The PDP Chieftain, Alhaji Fatai Oyedele Diekola, Alhaji Adekilekun Segun and Alhaji Sikiru Lawal, were on Monday arrested for allegedly buying voters' cards at Alekuwodo, Osogbo, one of the polling units where the rerun will take place today.
The trio had approached the court with a motion exparte, asking the court to order their release from police detention.
Ruling on the motion exparte yesterday, Justice Ayoola granted the prayer of the applicants and ordered the police to release them immediately.
TMG tasks INEC, security personnel on professionalism
The TMG stressed the need for peace and called on all stakeholders to maintain peace and avoid any form of violence that could mar the process.
Making this appeal in a statement issued yesterday, by its Board Chairperson, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the group, which disclosed that it would deploy monitors to observe the re-run, said: "INEC must see to it that officials with questionable characters are not part of the supplementary election; that materials are delivered on time and no willing voter is wilfully disenfranchised in the affected polling units."
"Security personnel must ensure that no detractors are allowed to destabilise or disrupt the process. The Police and her sister-agencies must remain vigilant and alive to their responsibilities. They must also understand that their responsibility and ultimate loyalty is to the people and not to any self-serving politician. They must, therefore, carry out their responsibilities in the most civil, orderly and responsible manner."
Dayo Johnson, Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Olarinoye & Josephine Agbonkhese