The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, yesterday, savoured the sweet taste of victory after he was declared winner of the Osun State governorship election, polling 403,371 votes to defeat the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gboyega Oyetola, who scored 375,027.
It was a tension-soaked race as the two leading candidates had also squared off in the 2018 governorship election, which was narrowly won by Oyetola, 255,505 to 255,023 votes, although in controversial circumstances.
In 2018, Adeleke was leading Oyetola in the election with 353 votes before it was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which also ordered a re-run in seven polling units. After the supplementary votes, characterised by heavily militarised security personnel and armed thugs that disenfranchised many voters, Oyetola overtook Adeleke’s lead to finish the contest with a margin of 482 votes.
The table, however, turned the other way on Saturday to deny Governor Oyetola a second term in office and serve as a relief for Adeleke, who see his victory as a vindication that he was the original winner of the 2018 election.
Declaring the PDP candidate winner of the keenly contested election, INEC’s Chief Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said “Adeleke satisfied all the required conditions and is hereby returned elected,” defeating the governor in 17 local councils while APC won in 13.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and candidate of Labour Party (LP), Lasun Yussuf, scored 2,729 votes trailing behind Dr Akin Ogunbiyi of Accord Party, who scored 4,515 votes.
Residents in Osogbo, the state capital, and Ede, hometown of Adeleke, trooped to the major roads to celebrate the victory of the PDP candidate, which left the Adeleke family, especially popular musician, Davido, in tears of joy.
Apparently overwhelmed with joy, Adeleke shed tears while lying at the feet of his business magnate brother, Deji. Present were former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Bayelsa State governor, Duoye Diri; governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and PDP Vice Presidential Candidate and Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
The victory came despite criticisms for flying all-faith ticket after the governor-elect picked a Christian as deputy governorship candidate, Kola Adewusi.
In his reaction, PDP’s agent and member of the House of Representatives, Bamidele Salam, described the outcome as the wish of the people adding that “it is not about individual or any political party, it’s about the destiny of the state. Come November 27, 2022, we want to have a very smooth transition from APC to the PDP.”
Also speaking, a member of the Senate, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, described the victory as liberation of the poor masses in Osun.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday, declared that the people of Osun have expressed their will following PDP’s victory in the gubernatorial election, stating that their decision must be respected.
President Buhari, while congratulating the governor-elect, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, expressed conviction that the people expressed their will through the ballot, and that it must always matter in a democracy.
He noted that the successful conduct of the election is a further testimony to the maturity and commitment of all stakeholders – the electoral body, security agencies, political parties, media, civil society and the electorate – to further strengthen the integrity of the electoral process in the country.
NOBEL laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described, in a statement, the defeat of the APC as “the voice of Bola Ige resounding from beyond the grave.”
Last April, Soyinka had frowned on the emergence of Iyiola Omisore as the national secretary of the ruling party, adding that his position in APC puts paid to any re-investigation into the murder of Ige, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Omisore, a prime suspect in Ige’s murder in 2001, ran for governor of Osun State in 2018 before defecting to the APC. In the statement yesterday, Soyinka said: “Those who conspired to catapult Ige’s destroyers to unmerited national prominence, to insult the memories of the living and jettison basic ethical constraints, have been justly served.
“It is a lesson that speaks to other zones of rightful public expectations, equity and just entitlements. One despairs but continues to hope that there are still receptive minds in which such lessons will germinate.
“If we may adapt a wise saying from the ancients: the beast of burden, nicknamed Equity, ambles its mined course to destination but, sooner or later, that donkey arrives.”
PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has described the election victory of the party as a light that has come to the state. Atiku congratulated the people of Osun for proving that power actually belongs to the people.
He said: “I have always had affection for the people of Osun for obvious reasons. Yes, my wife hails from there, but if you have to walk a difficult path and you need men and women of courage and astute valour, the people of Osun will never be a disappointment.
“At this point when our country needs to take a break from the shameful effects of bad governance, it shall be on record that Osun provided the compass into that brighter future that awaits us at the horizon.
“The referendum on the administration of the APC has commenced with the verdict of the people of Osun in electing Senator Adeleke, while we know that the 2023 general election will be a full referendum.
“The ship of hope is already at the harbour under the umbrella of the PDP. We shall intensify the work to ensure that we uproot all vestiges of bad governance and false hopes towards the 2023 election. The Imole (light) that has started to shine from Osun shall soon have a national coverage,” he said.
For Saraki, Adeleke has by the victory reclaimed the stolen mandate of the PDP. In a statement yesterday, Saraki emphasised that after the inexplicable loss in 2018, Adeleke demonstrated leadership by working to build stronger coalition across the state and the nation to ensure that the PDP remained the most popular party in the state and emerged victorious four years later.
The former Senate President also described the governor-elect as the “leader that Osun needs at this crucial time,” while also commending the work of the PDP’s polling unit agents, who worked to ensure that every vote was counted and that results from all polling units were uploaded to the INEC election portal in line with the new Electoral Act guidelines.
PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, said the victory of Adeleke is God’s formula for halting the misrule in the state. Ayu said: “This election was a referendum on the disastrous APC stewardship and proves conclusively that Nigerians want PDP back.”
He recalled that the seasons of governance hitherto enjoyed in Osun was disrupted and stopped “12 years ago, specifically on November 26, 2010, when the PDP lost Osun – not through the ballot box – but via a judicial coup.
“That coup (ruling) terminated the action-packed tenure of Olagunsoye Oyinlola. And since then, Osun has been frozen in executive misrule and underdevelopment.” Ayu stated.
HOWEVER, Osun State governor, Oyetola, has said he and party’s leadership were still studying results of the poll. He said he had taken cognisance of the results of the election and that his party would react after appraising the outcome of the poll.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, about five hours after the results were announced, Oyetola noted that the party would be responding appropriately after studying the results and consulting with critical stakeholders.
Oyetola called on his supporters to remain calm, and the people of the state to go about their businesses without let or hindrance. The governor also called on security operatives to ensure maintenance of law and order. He also directed security operatives to take adequate charge so as to prevent breakdown of law and order.
THE Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has commended security operatives, particularly officers of the Nigeria Police Force, for the peaceful conduct of the election.
According to the police spokesman, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, the IGP applauds the massive deployment of police operatives, specialised units and other human and operational assets, which enabled swift responses to the pockets of electoral issues. He similarly assured that the force is improving on its election security mandate for a top notch 2023 general elections.”
FORMER Minister of Communication and a trustee of Ọmọ Eko Pataki, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (rtd), has called on indigenes of Lagos State to emulate similar determination demonstrated by people of Osun when they voted out Oyetola.
In a statement he signed yesterday, the ex-military general said: “The Ọṣun people have spoken. We congratulate them for their courage and for their bold insistence on asserting their inalienable democratic right. The will of the people have prevailed.
“But along the lines of our non partisan disposition, we are indifferent to which party won the election. We are only interested in the will of the people. We now emphasise for the umpteenth time the absolute importance of equitable representation of our people in the governance of Lagos regardless of whichever party comes to power in 2023. The voice of our people must not only be heard, it must be heard with vigour and demonstrable importance.”
Olarenwaju said the Ọmọ Eko Pataki bears no party affiliation. “We do not and we will not align with any party. What is of particular interest to us is the welfare of our people as indigenes of our state.
“But of this much we will not compromise: the indigenes of Lagos must have a significant representation in the governance of our state. It is when this happens that democracy can be truly strengthened and we can all truly affirm that justice, fairness have taken firm root in our state.”
MEANWHILE, a coalition of all youth forums supporting the actualisation of Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition in 2023, Nigerian Youth Coalition For Tinubu (NYCT), has said the defeat of Oyetola will not deter the victory of Tinubu in the 2023 contest.
The group, in a statement by its Convener/National Chairman, Habib Olalekan Hammed, said it would do everything possible to ensure that Tinubu emerges victorious in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
THE Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged INEC to replicate the professionalism displayed during the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls in the 2023 general elections. The organisation noted that the Osun election revealed that Nigeria is making significant progress in the administration of elections.
Chairman of CDD Election Analysis Centre, Prof. Adele Jinadu, gave the charge while presenting a post-election report on the Osun governorship election, on Sunday, in Abuja.
Noting that the deployment and use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was generally successful, he disclosed that the organisation observed discrete vote-buying in Osun election in contrast with the brazen vote buying in Ekiti poll due to presence of watchful anti-graft security personnel.