The newly re-elected Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has described the massive federal security deployment for the poll Saturday a “declaration of war”, and his victory a “strong message” to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mr. Aregbesola said being voted for a second four-year term has affirmed that “no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people”.
“Our victory is due to the steadfastness and resolute determination of our people to assert and defend their rights. The PDP obviously did all it could in a most desperate manner to steal the people’s mandate,” the governor said in a speech after being declared winner early Sunday.
“We have sent a strong signal to all and sundry that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people,” he said, and warned that “Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belongs.”
The governorship poll was keenly fought, mainly between Mr. Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Iyiola Omisore.
To emerge winner of the election contested by 20 political parties, Mr. Aregbesola polled a total of 394,684 votes, winning the highest number of votes in 22 of the 30 Local Government Areas of the state.
His closest challenger, Iyiola Omisore of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], polled 292,747 votes to come second. He won in eight local government areas.
The candidate of the Labour Party [LP], Fatai Akinbade, received a paltry 8,898 votes to come a distant third.
President Jonathan has been accused of unnecessarily deploying state forces to intimidate voters and arrest party supporters in an attempt to ensure victory for the PDP. The presidency has denied the claims.
In a statement Sunday, Mr. Jonathan congratulated the governor, and said the outcome of the election showed such claims were false.
“The outcome of the election has also given the lie to the false, unfair and uncharitable allegations that measures put in place by the federal government for the Ekiti and Osun State elections were partisan and designed to achieve a favourable outcome for his party,” a Reuben Abati, a spokesperson for the president, said in a statement.
In his speech, Mr. Aregbesola described the poll as “unnecessarily tense, tortuous and even traumatic process”.
“We witnessed gross abuse of power and, of due process before, during, and even after the actual voting process. It is so sad and unfortunate that what should be a normal, routine process was maliciously allowed to snowball in to a needless virtual war by the Federal Government and the PDP,” he said.
“Osun state was unduly militarized in an unprecedented manner through criminal intimidation and psychological assault on our people. This election witnessed an abuse of our security agencies and amounted to a corruption of their professional ethics and integrity.”
He added: “The security agencies were unprofessionally utilized in Osun state to harass, intimidate and oppress the people whose taxes are used to pay their salaries and provide their arms. Hundreds of leaders, supporters, sympathizers and agents of our party were arrested and detained. Also, hundreds of other innocent citizens including women and the aged were harassed, brutalized and traumatized. In spite of this condemnable repression and abuse of human rights, the unflagging spirit of our people triumphed.