Social Democratic Party, SDP, and some other critical s t a k e h o l d e r s aggrieved by the vote buying and other allegations against the All Progressives Congress (APC) will meet to decide their next step over the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Among the options to be considered is whether to take the matter to the electoral petition tribunal or not. The governorship candidate of SDP, Segun Oni has said that the outcome of Saturday’s election is unacceptable.
The spokesman of the Segun Oni Campaign Organisation, Moses Jolayemi , told The Trumpet that the SDP candidate has rejected the outcome of the poll. APC’s candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, was declared the winner. He polled 187,057 to defeat former governor Oni who scored 82,211, while the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bisi Kolawole got 67,457.
Jolayemi stated that the election was marred by vote-buying and other malpractices. He accused APC of vote-buying and using political thugs to intimidate voters and harass the opposition. He alleged that security agencies were compromised and INEC officials were also culpable because arrangement of polling booths and ballot boxes was awkward.
He said: “The outcome is unacceptable by us as a party because it is a travesty of democracy, it is a rape on democracy and clear daylight robbery, the APC has taken advantage of the peoples’ pathetic state of poverty and that is why you see that the APC refused to campaign.
“They were not going round doing rallies; we were the ones campaigning because they knew what they wanted to do. “Their strategy was simple: buy these peoples’ votes and that is why they kept the people in perpetual poverty so that they can be of use every four years.
“They know that it is difficult for someone who is very hungry to resist cash. Some of them have children that are of voting age; some have four children plus their wife and themselves. If you multiply N5000 by six, it gives you N30,000, which is a huge amount for these people.
“To make this kind of money huge and important, that is why they (APC) have kept them in that financial bondage. “In the United States of America, for example, it will be foolhardy for anyone o envelope $10 or $20 for people to vote. They will be asking you if you are okay or if you have not gone crazy because what are they going to do with it? “The basic things of life have been taken care of by the government but here, their dignity is already taken off them with the way the APC has kept them.
“The security agencies compromised. The see and buy thing was going on while the security agencies looked the other way. “INEC is also culpable because the arrangement of the polling booth and the ballot boxes was awkward. You wonder why this should be so.
The election may appear free but it was not fair. “It was not free of violence anyway because the third thing they did, was to make use of their thugs. We have videos of some of their thugs snatching ballot boxes. What did the security agents do, they looked the other way.” Jolayemi, however, said the SDP candidate will not concede victory and congratulate anyone until the party leaders meet to take the necessary steps.
He added: “The decision will be taken in the next few hours. We are going to meet but the central message here is that this election is rejected. “Segun Oni is not accepting the results, he is not conceding and he is not congratulating anybody because this was not an election.”
Meantime, Prince Adewole Adebayo, SDP’s presidential candidate, has lamented the negative impact of vote-buying on the polity, especially during elections. He made the remark yesterday in apparent reference to the Ekiti governorship election. Adebayo added that it was a sad day for Nigeria and democracy as the voters sold their conscience for pecuniary gains. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has rejoiced with APC chairman, Abdulahi Adamu, and the party’s National Working Committee for the victory of Oyebanji.
According to the President who spoke through his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, the victory was the first under the tenure of the newly elected executives of the party.
“This is a good beginning for you and your team. The APC is getting stronger and more united. The victory of our party in Ekiti is an indication of the confidence of Nigerians in the ability of our great party to deliver quality governance to all,” said the President. He charged all APC members across and outside the country to see this as a good omen for the 2023 general elections and work assiduously to ensure the party’s victory, continuing the trend with Osun State next month July. Buhari also congratulated the g o v e r n o r – e l e c t , saying the victory is well deserved considering Oyebanji’s contributions to the development of the State and the party, before his nomination as the standard bearer.
He urged him, however, to be magnanimous in victory in the interest of the people of the State. He also felicitated with the people of Ekiti State for the smooth conduct of the election, affirming that they are the real victors as they have been able to freely choose their leader for the next four years.
He lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission and the law enforcement agencies for the preparations put in place, urging them to keep the momentum for upcoming elections. Following the declaration, the agent of SDP, Owoseeni Ajayi, refused to sign the result sheet.
The agent of the Action Democratic Party, ADP, described the electoral process as a votebuying contest. Oyebanji who served as the secretary to the government under the administration of the incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi won 15 out of the 16 local government areas including Ado Ekiti which has a larger number of voters.
He won in Ikere, Emure, Ekiti South West, Ekiti West, Oye, Irepodun/ Ifelodun, Ikole, Ido-Osi, Ado, Gbonyin, Ekiti East, Moba, Ilejemeje , Ise/Orun and IJERO LGAs. PDP candidate Bisi Kolawole won in Efon LGA only while Oni did not win any. Oyebanji is expected succeed Governor Kayode Fayemi in October 2022.
The Ekiti Election was according to observers characterised by voters apathy as well as votebuying. INEC had earlier announced that 988,923 registered voters were expected to participate in the exercise.
However, only 363,438 voters were accredited. Several videos also surfaced online with some voters in the state displaying the cash sum they received at polling units after casting their votes indicating active vote-buying activity during the process. Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has congratulated Oyebanji, describing it as a testament to the good work the APCled government has done in Ekiti state as well as the sterling qualities of her candidates.
He also congratulated the leadership of the party at the federal and state levels on the latest feat. Sanwo-Olu in a statement, issued on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said he did not doubt the APC’s victory because Ekiti people are progressives and would always vote for the party.
“I must note that our party, the All Progressives Congress and its government under the able leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi has delivered beyond the expectations of the Ekiti people. I, therefore, believe it was only natural for the citizens to reciprocate by voting for our party.
He added: “Our confidence was further buoyed by the quality of candidates presented for the governorship poll. The combination of Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji and his deputy, Mrs Monisade Christiana Afuye is what Ekiti needs to continue with the great work started by the outgoing governor.
“I once again congratulate the winners for running a good race and emerging victorious.
I also congratulate my brother-governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who has set a winning template for the party, with good governance over the years. “Finally and more importantly, my hearty felicitations go to the people of Ekiti State for voting wisely for APC, the party that will continue to deliver the good for all the citizens.”
Sanwo-Olu also applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security operatives for the hitchfree election.