Less than 24 hours to Osun State Governorship election rerun, the candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Iyiola Omisore, has told his supporters to vote for any party that believes in the agenda of his party.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, led some PDP chieftains to Mr. Omisore’s residence in Ife on Monday to canvass for his support.
On Tuesday, the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, also led some of his party chieftains to Mr. Omisore to seek the latter’s support.
However, Mr. Omisore on Wednesday in a statement signed by his media aide, Jide Fakorede, asked his supporters to support any candidate of their choice.
“Osun state has always been a stellar example of democracy where the people have consistently and freely expressed their franchise to determine who governs them. This should remain so. Osun people have shown that it is not business as usual. It is a positive deviation from what was hitherto the norm.
“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.
“My alliance is with the people of Osun state irrespective of the political party they belong. I want my people to be treated with the dignity they deserve. I desire that they have a government that will be accountable to them. I want them to experience the good governance the founding fathers of this state envisaged.”
The former Osun deputy governor said he “told the parties that have solicited for my support to approach the electorates and ask for their mandate as I have assured them that I will not coerce them for political or social power. It is because I have kept my promise that has made me enjoy their unalloyed support all these years.
“It is the right and democratic freedom of people to choose by their own free will. Their votes should not be coerced by money, vote buying, intimidation in form of militarisation, political and social power.
“Their voices of demand for good governance, accountability and human dignity should continue to be heard as well as salaries paid. All these are what I stand for and which the SDP had promised the people all through our electioneering campaigns. They are still paramount to me as we collectively chart the way forward for the governorship elections rerun in Osun state,” he said.
Mr Omisore’s stance appears to clarify claims by leaders of both PDP and APC that they have secured the ex-senator’s support.
Mr Omisore whose party, SDP, came third in the governorship election, stands no chance of being elected governor after Thursday’s supplementary poll.
In the inconclusive election, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) scored 254,698 votes to beat his All Progressives Congress (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 supplementary 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.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how Mr Omisore’s support was crucial for any of the APC or PDP to win the supplementary election.
APC, PDP LOBBY
To convince the Ife-born politician to support the PDP, the opposition party sent a delegation led by Senate President Bukola Saraki to meet with Mr Omisore. After the Monday meeting, Mr Saraki said he believed Mr Omisore would support his party.
“After meeting with him, I am more optimistic now that with his support, PDP will win. We are confident of a good outing. I am more confident now,” the senate president said.
“We have agreed to work together because our goals are the same. We all want good governance in Osun State. Over the next 24 hours, we will work out the details.
However, on Tuesday, an APC delegation led by the party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and governor-elect of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi, met with Mr Omisore.
By Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the Information ministry, Joseph Mutah, sent a message to journalists that Mr Omisore at the meeting agreed to work with the governing party.
“The SDP Candidate in last Saturday’s Governorship Election in Osun State, Chief Iyiola Omisore, has agreed to work with the APC in Thursday’s rerun.
“The deal was sealed after a meeting between Chief Omisore and an APC Team led by Chairman Adams Oshiomhole in Osogbo early Wednesday,” Mr Mutah said in the short message accompanied by photos from the meeting.