Osun Election: EU asks Aregbesola to seek legal redress on security clampdown

Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola

The European Union Election Monitoring on Sunday tasked the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, to use all legal instruments available to challenge the alleged arbitrariness by the security agencies drafted to the state by the Federal Government.

The EU Election Monitoring Group Coordinator, Paul Edwards, gave this advice when his team paid a courtesy visit to the Governor at his residence after the announcement of the election results.

In his congratulatory remark to Mr. Aregbesola, Mr. Edwards said the most dependable way to deepen democracy in Nigerian is by strict adherence to the rule of law.

Mr. Aregbesola had complained about the recklessness and arbitrary use of force, arrest without charges and total clampdown on party chieftains by the security agencies to the EU.

The EU envoy observed that the most acceptable and preferred way to challenge arbitrariness of opposition is to seek legal remedy.

“We are here to congratulate Your Excellency on your victory in the Saturday governorship election. Besides, our mission here is to also find out from you about the conduct of the election.

“We have observed the election all over the state and have our reports.

“In any election like this, there are bounds to be issues. But it is our opinion that whatever the complaint you have, you should choose the legal option to seek remedy.

“Let us rely on the instrumentality of law to purse whatever anomaly or violation of rights we have suffered.

“Let us always use the legal method to stop the impunity used by one unit of government against the other.

“It is through this option that we can deepen democratic institutions wherever it is practised in the world.

“If you send your complaints to the EU, we shall take note of it and act accordingly within the framework of law,” the EU coordinator said.

In his remark, Mr. Aregbesola commended the EU Monitoring Group for the organisation’s interest and commitment to development of democracy in Nigeria.

He, however, lamented the show of brute force by the forces of occupation drafted to the state by the Federal Government.

The Governor observed that voting is a minute aspect of a democracy but as tiny as it is, it should not be backed by force so that people can freely choose the candidate of their choice.

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He also condemned the commando-like manners the hooded security men operated on the streets in the state and the gale of arrests of members, chieftains and supporters of All Progressive Congress (APC).

He said: “Our victory did not come because the federal authority designed it so but because we were favoured by the people as the best party that can serve them better.

“Or how do you rationalise the presence of strangers (security personnel), people I cannot control, who took over the administration of security of my state with impunity, which adversely affected life in the state?

“It is humiliating, worse sort of what a unit of government like ours should suffer. There was a deliberate attempt at muzzling the people’s voice through votes.

“By now we should know that voting is just a routine aspect of democracy and even at that, the people must not be denied their freedom to choose their leader freely.

“We must prevent the Federal Government from the recurring culture of arbitrarily invading the territory of a unit within the federal structure. This is an abuse of power,” Mr. Aregbesola said.

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