The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ladi Adebutu, on Tuesday, led protesters in Ogun State to the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), over allegations of foul play in the declaration of the State’s governorship winner.
Aggrieved by what they described as ‘a sham’, the protesters insisted that INEC completely disregarded the provisions of the Electoral Act which allows an election to be declared inconclusive when the margin between the top two contenders is less than the total number of cancelled votes.
One of the protesters, Stephen Sobowale, speaking to newsmen, described the declaration as “a hasty decision borne out of an attempt to truncate the will of the people.
“I see this whole thing by INEC and the ruling party in the state as a sham. How can INEC go ahead to declare a winner in an election which had the margin between Dapo Abiodun and Ladi Adebutu put at 13,912 while the total number of cancelled votes is a whopping 33,750? Can’t you see that no winner has emerged yet? This is nothing but a provocation and should not be allowed to stand,” he said.
PDP’s Adebutu however expressed dissatisfaction on the outcome of the election, stressing that it was meant to be declared inconclusive and a rerun ordered.
“We are here to protest, but unfortunately we have been confronted by the Nigerian Army and the police, shooting sporadically in the air to disperse us, but we are going to stay here until we are addressed by INEC officials.
“Our contention is that the measures by which other states have been treated and they are allowed to have reruns, Ogun State should be measured in the same vein.
“Adamawa has rerun; similarly, Kebbi has rerun. Why is Ogun State being denied a rerun?
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“Please beg them (INEC) to do the right thing because we don’t want another EndSARS or bloodshed in Ogun. INEC has disregarded the rules that governs this election. We want the whole world to see how some people are attempting to cause a damage to our democracy. This is not what is obtainable in democracies all over the world,” Adebutu said.
Information Nigeria reports that a non-governmental organisation, under the aegis of Vanguard for Democracy and Good Governance (VDGG), had alleged that INEC goofed in declaring a winner in the governorship election in Ogun State.
In a press statement made available to newsmen, the group maintained that the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, ought not to have been declared a winner since the winning margin is only 13,912 while the total number of cancelled votes stands at 33,750.
The group had pointed out that a similar scenario played out in Adamawa and Kebbi states, necessitating an eventual declaration of the elections in the two States as inconclusive.
Recall that in the March 18 Ogun governorship election, the candidate of the People’s Democratic party (PDP), Ladi Adebutu, polled 262,383, while APC’s, Dapo Abiodun, polled 276,395.
In a swift reaction, the APC spokesman in Ogun, Tunde Oladunjoye, denied allegations that the election was rigged in favour of the ruling party.
Oladunjoye said the APC “won fair and square” the governorship election held on Saturday.
In a press statement on Tuesday evening, Oladunjoye said the election itself was largely peaceful and the outcome was a true reflection of the wishes of the people of Ogun.
“Our party, APC, not only won the election with majority votes but also won in 12 of the 20 Local Government Areas in Ogun State. In addition, our party won 17 out of the 26 State House of Assembly constituency seats,” he said.