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Saraki Reacts, Blasts INEC For Declaring Osun Election Inconclusive

Peter Okunoren

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President of the Senate and Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Council on Osun State Gubernatorial Election, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has faulted the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the election results were inconclusive.

Saraki, in a statement personally signed, expressed dismay over the decision by INEC to declare as “inconclusive” an election in which a candidate won the highest number of votes and fulfilled the condition for the geographical spread.

“In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled. The decision of INEC to cancel the election in those areas after voting had taken place means INEC had already excluded the votes in these areas from the election process and therefore those units should have no place in the overall results. My opinion would have been different if the election in the affected units did not take place at all, maybe as a result of malfunctioning of the card reader machine or unavailability of the electoral materials. Since the voting took place and was cancelled, only the courts could reverse the initial decision by INEC to cancel the votes in these areas.

“That is why I call on our party and its candidate to seek a further legal interpretation on this decision by the electoral body. One cannot but wonder whether if the places were reversed and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one leading in the election; the INEC will take the same decision it has taken now.

“At this point, it is necessary to also call on INEC to display courage, boldness, independence, neutrality and patriotism so as to send signals to the world at large that Nigerian electoral system has come of age and that our democracy has matured. The electoral body needs to reassure all and sundry that the 2019 election and other elections will be free of manipulations and undue interference.

“The INEC should note that the Osun gubernatorial election is not only about that South-western state. It is about our country and the entire world is watching. Our national interest is at stake. The integrity of our electoral system is at stake. The reputation of the electoral body is at stake. The future of our democracy is on the line. The way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from our political process. It should, therefore, ensure that the wishes of the Osun State electorate eventually prevail.

“I praise the dedication and hard work of PDP supporters and the candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke. They have remained steadfast, resilient, focused and determined.

“Let me also commend all the other contestants in yesterday’s election for their gallant efforts because it is clear they are all working for the same objective from different perspectives and platforms to ensure that the era of misgovernance, pain, injustice and insensitivity to the plight of the common people comes to an end. It is our hope that they will all co-operate with Senator Adeleke to ensure that Osun State witnesses a development-oriented era.

“Let me remind our party supporters and the good people of Osun State that this INEC decision constitutes only a delay of the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP in Osun Gubernatorial election, as our triumph will come either through the judiciary or a further balloting.

“I thank PDP supporters and the general public in Osun State and note that we got to this point after many months of hard work, determination and focus. We should not despair and not lose our focus and determination to ensure that the final results reflect the will of the Osun people.

“Our party is ahead, despite the irregularities. Our people must remain resilient to see this through to the finish. Now is the time to re-strategize, reach out to all the other candidates and their supporters, build on our lead, and bring this election home.

“Our supporters and the entire people of Osun State should remain calm and maintain peace as we move forward to see the successful completion of the electoral process.

“Once again, I thank all supporters of the PDP and the people of Osun State who stayed up all night, both physically and on social media to monitor the numbers and protect our votes. We remain undeterred, and we all remain determined to ensure that Senator Ademola Adeleke becomes the next Governor of Osun State,” Saraki stated.

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BIG STORY

Osun Decides: INEC Announces Date For Rerun In 4 Local Governments

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Following the inconclusive nature of the September 22 gubernatorial election in Osun State, in which the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP led by 353, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced Thursday, September 27 as the new date for rerun.

According to the commission, the rerun will be conducted in some of the units in which votes were cancelled for alleged irregularities.

The affected local governments are : Orolu, Osogbo, Ife South and Ife North, making four local governments in all.

Recall that INEC had on Sunday announced the final results of the governorship election, with candidate of PDP leading with a total votes of 254, 698, while APC polled 254,345 to come second in the exercise.

The returning officer for the governorship election, Prof. Joseph Adeola, who announced the results reeled out the total number of valid votes to be 767,955 and rejected votes to be 47,843.

Adeola added that the margin between the PDP and APC which is 353, and the total cancelled ballots totalling 3348 will not make any party a winner of the contest, in line with electoral act.

He, therefore, declared the election inconclusive, as he said the exact date for rerun will be announced soonest.

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POLITICS

Lagos Governorship: 377 APC Ward Chairmen Endorse Sanwo-Olu

Peter Okunoren

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Three hundred and seventy-seven ward chairmen of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State under the auspices of Conference of Ward Chairmen unanimously endorsed Babajide Sanwo-Olu as their governorship candidate ahead of next Saturday’s primary election in the State.

The group is made of ward chairmen from all the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Authorities in Lagos State.

The endorsement took place at Martino’s Hall in Ikeja during a meeting the governorship aspirant had with some leaders of the party and grassroots mobilizers, where members of the Conference turned out in large numbers and had a one on one interaction with the aspirant.

The Director General of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organization Tayo Ayinde opened the meeting by extolling the good virtues of the aspirant, reminding the chairmen of some great strides that Sanwo-Olu has made while serving in different capacities as Special Adviser and Commissioner at various times.

Ayinde assured everyone present that Sanwo-Olu is a party man and will not abandon the party and its members when he eventually becomes the governor.

He enjoined the Conference members to mobilize all party men and women in their wards to come out in large numbers and vote for Sanwo-Olu as the candidate of the APC on Saturday.

The APC Leader in the state, Cardinal James Odumbaku, told members of the Conference not to despair, emphasizing that Sanwo-Olu’s government will be a listening and an inclusive one, especially for members of the party whose input will be paramount and will form part of decision-making process.

Odumbaku prayed for a successful run ahead of next Saturday’s primary election in the State.

He also prayed for all party members and the entire people of Lagos State.

Sanwo-Olu thanked the Conference of Ward Chairmen in the State for the confidence reposed in him and promised not to disappoint them when he gets to power.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke in Yoruba throughout the event, went down memory lane by informing the chairmen of his role in the cabinet of former Governors Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola as Special Adviser, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions before being reappointed as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.

He reminded the grassroots politicians of his role as the fundraiser for the party in most of the elections held in the past.

Speaking on loyalty, Sanwo-Olu told the chairmen emphatically that he has remained a loyal member of the party between 2002 till date.

Speaking on behalf of all ward chairmen in Lagos State, Shola Oshobajo assured Sanwo-Olu of his members’ support before, during and after the primary elections, which is scheduled to hold on September 29, 2018.

Amidst cheers and applause, punctuated by music, Sanwo-Olu was presented to the Conference of Ward Chairmen and they rose to endorse him in unison.

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