Following the declaration by the Returning Officer, Joseph Fuwape, that the Saturday governorship election in Osun is inconclusive, the People Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress in the state have traded accusations of physical attacks on their members ahead of the supplementary polls in seven units on Thursday.
In the inconclusive election, Ademola Adeleke of the PDP scored 254,698 votes to beat his APC rival, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254,345 votes.
However, Mr Ademola could not be returned because his victory margin of 353 votes is lower than the number of votes cancelled in seven polling units which have 3498 registered voters.
INEC has fixed Thursday for voters in those units to determine the outcome of the election.
The re-run election will hold in the units in Orolu, Ife South, Ife North and Osogbo local government areas.
But on Monday, PDP raised alarm over alleged crackdowns on its leaders at Osogbo, Ile Ife and Orolu.
A statement signed by Olawale Rasheed, Director, Media and Publicity for the Adeleke campaign organisation, said “several leaders of the PDP have been arrested while party supporters are at the mercy of APC thugs.
“This morning around Alekuwodo, Osogbo, PDP members were matcheted with gunshots booming all over the town. At Osogbo, a top leader of the party, Alhaji Fatal Diekola, was arrested. He was roughhandled and beaten up despite his ill health. His aides were matcheted. Other PDP leaders at Osogbo are being harassed with many of them unable to sleep in their respective houses,” he alleged.
The PDP also said the situation was the same at Orolu.
“All these are being done to manipulate the supplementary polls. We therefore call the attention of the public, local and international election observers to continuation of electoral impunity and denial of fundamental human rights to PDP leaders in Osun State.There is a subsisting and active threats to democracy in Osun State and Nigeria.
“After the electoral body’s unprecedented coup against democracy, agents of slave drivers and their party, the APC, have continued their unholy plot to detail the will of the people. Osun people are resisting and they will continue to do so until their governor-elect is confirmed.”
Reacting to the allegations, the APC said the arrest of the PDP chieftain, Mr. Deikola, confirmed the general opinion that the PDP was out to pervert the will of the people in the ongoing governorship contest.
Ajibola Famurewa, the Director of Publicity for Mr Oyetola’s campaign organisation, said Mr. Diekola was arrested for sponsoring thugs to invade Alekuwodo area in Osogbo “shooting sporadically to scare people and cause tension in the state capital.
“We are vindicated today that the security agents finally nabbed one of the PDP vote-buying and selling dealer, Fatai Diekola, who has been the arrowhead of procurement and commoditization of Permanent Voters Card (PVC). We had complained to security agents about the violent posture of the PDP and the way they were monetizing votes before and during last Saturday, September 22 election.
“To worsen the issue on Saturday night, Diekola, Adagunodo and others invaded a Collation Centre in Ward 5 Osogbo and forced APC and other party agents to sign a doctored result which was later rejected at the local government collation centre. This singular action substantially contributed to rendering the election inconclusive and now requiring INEC, security agents and political parties to deploy fresh resources for the new election.”
The APC however commended the police for the arrest of Mr. Deikola and urged other security agents to be on the alert to prevent individuals vote-buying and campaign before Thursday.
“This election is about the future of the state and as such the will of the majority must be protected. The popular choice of the people must be allowed to evolve. That is the very essence of democracy.”
Meanwhile, efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to reach police spokesperson in Osun State, Folasade Odoro, for details of the arrest were not fruitful as her phone was switched off.
Also, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Afolabi Babawale, said he was not in the state when contacted.