The Social Democratic Party (SDP), Action Democratic Party (ADP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) said on Thursday they were in talks to consolidate their efforts to forestall what they described as the rigging antics of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking on behalf of the other parties at a press conference in Osogbo, the candidate of the SDP, Iyiola Omisore, said the three parties had decided to unite against APC’s plans to compromise the election.
“This is not a press conference of stories or long press release. Three of the major five political parties in Osun State met in the early hours of this morning after reviewing all the antics, pranks and rigging tendencies and boastings by the APC government of Osun State,” Mr Omisore said.
“We have heard innuendoes, we have heard permutations, harassment and direct claims that they were going to rig the election, arrest political leaders, stuff ballot boxes, use thugs from Lagos State.
“They also said at their rally that they are going to use federal power to force the Osun State people. One of this is when the Vice President came to Iwo and was giving out N5,000 and N10,000 each to people at this time of election and with oath taking.
“We are here to tell the Osun people that they should be ready to defend their votes. Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, Alhaji Akinbade and I met and decided that the parties will run their separate elections and with their agents, and we are going to ensure that we have free and credible election in this state.
“We want to assure the citizens that they should not be tormented, harassed or victimised and frightened to run away from the polling units on Saturday. We mean business in Osun State, we are ready for the election and the three parties have signed to a protocol of diligent, credible and fair election.
“We want to charge our agents to be vigilant at polling units. The ruling party has gone to the extent that they are using O-yes Cadets as presiding officers, instead of using corpers. They have been able to manipulate the NYSC to use O-Yes cadets at that level. We are making bold to say that our agents will resist any such action.
“So, the peaceful conduct of this election rests on the INEC and security agencies for them to play the game according to the rules. The people will not allow them to be rigged out. We are fed up with the government of the day and everybody knows that this government is the most corrupt in Nigeria, the most financially reckless and it lacks fiscal discipline.”
Mr Omisore clarified that the parties would not be forging into a single force for Saturday’s election because of their different goals for the people.
“These parties are in different stages of ideologies and policy thrust, you can’t just suddenly force them to jettison their ideologies. But there is a general acceptance that this government has performed so badly,” he said.
“SDP, ADP and ADC have agreed that their members should vote for their different parties.”
He also denied that the parties had signed any agreement with the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Ademola Adeleke, on supporting him.
“We are not aware that some parties signed agreement with the PDP,” he said. “We are not even sure that the PDP has a candidate as at today, so how can a virtual party be talking of signing with real parties,” he said.
“They are in crisis up till today and we don’t know what will happen to them tomorrow. All we know that SDP is going to the polls and we are going to deliver Osun State from the jaundiced and corrupt government of APC.”
However, the APC has described the coalition of the three parties as a “collision and confusion,” saying they are jittery and confused.
Kunle Ayatomi, the Publicity Secretary of the party, told PREMIUM TIMES that the allegations were baseless and could not be substantiated.
“They are not inferiors, the Osun people will reject them on Saturday,” he said.
“There is no coalition. They are in collision and they are in confusion. If they are not confused, they won’t be doing coalition three days to the election. To be very frank, that is an act of jittery.
“They are not a threat to us, APC will win fairly and squarely on Saturday, that is my reaction.”
On the use of money to induce voters and the use of O-yes cadets for the election, Mr Ayatomi said the O-yes cadet is a testimony that the Osun State government had been able to remove 60,000 young people from the streets of Osun and got them engaged in the various sectors.
He added that the parties making the allegations did not have any evidence to substantiate their claims.