Osun: Omisore caves in to FG’s pressure, supports APC in rerun
The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Senator Iyiola Omisore, on Wednesday said he had agreed to work for the ruling All Progressives Congress in today’s rerun of the Osun State governorship election.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is leading with 353 votes (254,698) from the Saturday election with APC candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, trailing him with 254,345 votes.
Omisore became the bride after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared that rerun would take place in seven polling units with majority of them falling under his stronghold in Ile-Ife.
His country home in the town soon became a mecca for political bigwigs, with the PDP presidential aspirants, Senator Bukola Saraki and Atiku Abubakar, visiting to canvass his support for Adeleke.
However, the visit of a high-powered Federal Government delegation which included the APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, his Oyo State counterpart, Abiola Ajimobi, Ekiti State governor–elect, Kayode Fayemi, and Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, swung the pendulum in favour of the APC.
Earlier on Wednesday, a statement issued by Omisore’s media aide, Jide Fakorede, had denied his total support for the APC. In the statement, Fakorede said Omisore’s interest was good governance in Osun State.
He said, “After over 72 hours of putting pressure on him by both the leadership of the PDP and the APC, the Social Democratic Party governorship candidate in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has said that what is paramount to him is the practice of true democracy, good governance and accountability in Osun State and that he will never renege on his promise of good governance, accountability and human dignity in Osun State.”
But while addressing journalists at his residence in Ile Ife later on Wednesday, Omisore said he had accepted to work with the APC with the possibility of forming a coalition government with the party in the state.
He said, “We have accepted to support the APC for victory in the rerun election and thereafter form a coalition government. Our decision to form a coalition government is based on the party that is ready to work with the SDP to adopt and implement the core values of our party which is social justice, equity and good governance. The PDP and the APC approached us for coalition based on our performance and grass-roots network especially in the seven polling units earmarked for the rerun.
“The APC has since come back to accept all the conditions given to them by us to form a coalition government while the PDP has yet to respond. We have therefore as a party accepted to support the APC for victory in the rerun election and therefore form a coalition government.”
Among the SDP and Omisore’s demands were motivation and training for workers, payment of accumulated salaries and pensions within the first three months of the coalition government and commencement of payment of full salaries to workers.
Meanwhile, INEC on Wednesday moved sensitive materials from the Central Bank of Nigeria to seven polling units where supplementary election will be held on Thursday (today).
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, told journalists at CBN office in the state that the vehicles moving the materials to the destinations were being tracked while urging stakeholders in the election to cooperate with the commission in order to record a peaceful conclusion of the election.
The materials included ballot papers, Form EC 8A, Form EC 8B, Form EC 8C and Form EC 8D.
According to INEC, rerun of the election will be held at one polling unit in Ife-North where 241 people with Permanent Voter Cards will vote.
The commissioner further stated that in Olode, Ife-South, where election would also be held, there were 581 voters with PVCs while in Osi area of Ife-South, 311 voters collected their PVCs and were eligible to vote.
It added that election would be held in three polling units in Orolu, where a total of 806 voters who had collected their PVCs would cast their votes.
It said in Osogbo, voting would take place in one polling unit, where 694 PVCs had been collected.
It added that in all, 2,637 voters would decide the winner between the candidate of the PDP, Adeleke, and that of the APC, Oyetola.
Recall that PDP had a slim edge from the Saturday poll, having led with 353 votes.
The Osun State Government has declared today (Thursday) as a public holiday in the state.
A statement by the Media Adviser to the state governor, Sola Fasure, said the holiday was meant to enable workers to participate in the rerun.
The Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Boss Mustapha, has met with Senator Iyiola Omisore in Ile Ife.
Mustapha arrived at the residence of the candidate of the Social Democratic Party around 6.35pm with Fayemi and they went into a closed-door meeting.
Before the meeting started, Mustapha said he was at Omisore’s residence on a visit, adding that the visit was a homecoming because he married from Osun State.
He described Omisore as a progressive politician whose contributions to the nation’s development were unquantifiable.
Some governors elected on the platform of the APC and other party leaders also held a meeting with Omisore to solicit his support for the party’s governorship candidate.
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi; Kano State Governor, Abdulahi Ganduje; Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Ekiti State Governor-elect, Fayemi, were some of those who held the meeting with the Ife-born politician at the Oyo State Government House.
Others at the meeting are the National Chairman of the APC, Oshiomhole; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and other chieftains of the ruling party.
Omisore, who contested the governorship poll on Saturday on the platform of the SDP came third behind Adeleke and Oyetola.
A chieftain of the APC said the party was optimistic of winning the rerun election.
The Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in Osun State, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, confirmed the meeting to our correspondent on Wednesday.
Oyatomi said, “I can confirm to you that our leaders went to Senator Omisore yesterday and had a good talk with him. We are optimistic that we will win the election and both sides will benefit from that discussion.”
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party in Osun State, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, has denied returning to the APC.
The spokesperson for the candidate, Mr Kayode Agbaje, said this in an interview with our correspondents.
He said some politicians held meeting with Adeoti, but he did not tell anybody that he would leave the ADP.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Osun State Governorship Election, Mr Joshak Habila, also on Wednesday warned trouble makers to stay away from the voting areas.
The DIG said this at a press conference he addressed together with the heads of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps in Osogbo on Wednesday.
He said eligible voters with permanent voter cards were the people that would be allowed to the units where election would be conducted.
He said, “As law enforcement agencies, the police and other security agencies will not permit the breakdown of law and order. Those preparing for fire for fire must be ready for the consequences of their actions.”
Meanwhile, an Osogbo High Court has ordered the police to release a PDP chieftain, Alhaji Fatai Oyedele Diekola and two others from detention.
The order was given by Justice A.O. Ayoola on Wednesday following an application filed on behalf of Diekola; Sikiru Lawal and Segun Adekilekun.
A certified true copy of the order was made available to one of our correspondents in Osogbo on Wednesday by a former Commissioner of Information, Mr Sunday Akere, who is Diekola’s friend.
While supporters of the PDP claimed that Diekola was attacked by APC hoodlums, those in the APC said the politicians who recently defected to the PDP were arrested by the police for allegedly buying permanent voter cards.
Caritas Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Committee on Wednesday warned that there could be crisis if the rerun election was manipulated, which could lead to humanitarian crisis.
The two organs of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria for relief and development also commended the people of Osun State for the peaceful governorship election on Saturday.
The National Director of Caritas, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, in a statement, said while security forces and INEC did well, the commission’s exemplary conduct was marred by the inconclusiveness verdict.
He said, “Caritas Nigeria and JDPC are concerned about the peace of Nigeria, a peace that must be hinged on justice. A possible misstep may result in humanitarian crisis which would swell the ranks of the impoverished and the deprived.
“We advise the APC to watch out for the peace of Nigeria and establish foundations of justice. Politicians must learn to respect the will of the people. Whatever the outcome of the election Caritas Nigeria and JDPC advise Osun people to be peaceful and to follow recognised channels to assert their rights,” he stated.
However, The PDP said on Wednesday that it had the confidence of winning Osun State governorship supplementary election.
The National Vice-Chairman (South-West) of the PDP, Mr Eddy Olafeso, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday.
Olafeso said, “For us, we are very confident that victory will be ours tomorrow (Thursday). We already won anyway.
“PDP is not bothered because our people are resolute. And they are desirous in ensuring that the victory denied us on Saturday will eventually be ours.
“We have spoken to our people and we are certain that their experience from the current administration is enough for the need for a change that will bring development to the nation.”
On the outcome of the party’s meeting with Omisore, Olafeso said the party had put its hope in God, not individuals.
He said, “Although we have met with leaders in the state, but victory is in the hands of God. What is on ground is clear to all: eight years of total profligacy in Osun State. We will continue to speak with leaders; some of them will listen to us while some will do their own thing.”
Also, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, said on Wednesday that INEC was practising a democracy not known in the world.
It said that the commission must be cautioned before it “ plunges the nation into avoidable crisis.”
Secondus stated this while hosting members of the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, who piad him a visit at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja.
Secondus, who was represented by the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Mr. Yemi Akinwomi, said, “Politicians are seriously worried about what is going to happen to the country after 2019.
“It is on record that when we lost election in 2015, we were the first party to concede defeat. Since this new INEC leadership took over, there have been serious complaints over elections conducted by INEC.
“In Nigeria, we practise differential democracy. INEC has been compromised, the security agencies have compromised.”
Meanwhile, Adeleke has written to the international community alleging threat to his life.
This was contained in a statement on Wednesday by the spokesperson for Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Mr Rasheed Olawale.
Olawale said the letter was sent to the United Nations; European Union; the United States and other diplomatic missions in Nigeria.
The PDP candidate listed many alleged infractions in the last Saturday polls, the refusal of INEC to declare him the winner in line with the constitution, the alleged killing and maiming of his supporters, the arrest of key leaders on trumped up charges and the manipulations of the electoral process as some of the threats.
The letter read in part, “My life is under threat and the leaders of my party are under siege before and after the Saturday poll.
“During the campaigns, we were subjected to countless attacks. I escaped about four assassination attempts. Our campaign vehicles were attacked several times and our rallies disrupted. We went through the pre-election process under constant onslaught from political thugs and merchants of violence.
“The agenda of the ruling party is to ensure that votes do not count. The target is to thwart the will of the people. The APC is out to subvert the will of the people, an action that will have a deeply negative impact on the sanctity of the electoral process ahead of 2019 polls.”
Adeleke called on the international community to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to allow votes to count by restoring his mandate.