The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has clarified the conduct of its staff, Mutiu Salawu, caught on Sunday at St. Patrick Grammar School, Gbongan, tearing the polls result for Ayedaade Local Government Area.
A video of the incident has gone viral online. In the video, Mr. Salawu said he was sent by the electoral officer for the LGA, Aderinoye Olukemi, to tear the result on the notice board at the collation centre of the LGA.
However, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Osun State, Segun Agbaje, in a statement on Tuesday explained Mr. Salawu was acting on a directive to replace the Form EC 60 which had erroneous result with the correct one.
He said the directive was given to Mr Salawu by Mrs Olukemi after she received information from the local government security chief of an error on the form pasted at the collation centre.
“Mr. Mutiu Salawu, being a dutiful staff, went to carry out the lawful instruction of his boss when he was accosted by a mob that rough-handled him before they took him to Adelani Rafiu Oyediran Ajanaku’s house along the New Gbongan Osogbo Road.
“There, he was humiliated, harassed and subjected to take manipulated photographs that were sent to various social digital platforms. He was then brought to the INEC State Office where he was harassed by some section of the media”, Mr. Agbaje narrated.
He said when the matter was raised by Dele Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent at the state collation centre, the original copies of the results sheets, forms EC 8A, EC 8B and EC 8C, for the LGA were examined and found to be the correct reflection of the results as reported by the LGA Collation Officer, Ayotunde Adeagbo, a staff of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).
“The LGA Collation Officer, Prof. Adeagbo, accepted the fact that there was an error in the EC 60 (E) pasted at the LGA Collation Centre, especially the figure (10,836) recorded for PDP on the poster which is different from the actual votes scored (9,836) by the PDP.
“It should be noted that the INEC staff, Salawu Mutiu Kolawole, did not destroy the Result Sheet for the said election for they are intact in the custody of the Commission and copies of same are with agents of the 48 political parties that contested the Governorship Election.”
Mr. Agbaje expressed INEC’s displeasure that a section of the media reportedly broadcast the event without verification.
“The Commission is displeased with the conduct of a section of the press that repeatedly broadcast the event maliciously without proper investigation to know the true position of things. This attitude has misinformed the public and INEC has been misrepresented in the narrative,” he said.
Mr Agbaje also spoke about the rerun poll scheduled for Thursday.
“In Ife North, Ward 10, PU2, number of votes was more than accredited voters. Ife South, Olode Ward 07, PU12, Adereti Village, there was disruption of election by hoodlums who shot sporadically and in the process of scampering for safety, the Presiding Officer misplaced the form EC8A for the PU and all efforts to get it proved abortive.
“Ife South Osi Ward 8 PU10, Aluti Erin Primary School, Albert village, election was conducted with manual accreditation.
“In Orolu Ward 08 PU001, Kajola village, there was hijacking of materials by thugs. The case was not different in Ward 08 PU004 Idi Iya village and Ward 09 PU 003 Gbogbo Primary School in Orolu. Presiding Officer absconded in Osogbo Ataoja Ward 05 PU 017 Adewole Street.
“The total number of registered voters in these places is 3,498,” the resident electoral commissioner stated.
INEC, however, promised never to jeopardise the will of Osun people.
In the inconclusive election, Ademola Adeleke of the PDP scored 254, 698 votes to beat his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254, 345 votes.
Mr Adeleke could not be returned because his margin of victory, 353 votes, was lower than the number of votes cancelled reported as 3,498.
The Returning Officer, Joseph Fuwape, explained that he could therefore not return any candidate, given the provision of the law.