Osun election tribunal outcome smacks of APC’s desperation says Adewale
Deacon Segun Adewale the Peoples Democratic Party’s Lagos West Senatorial candidate has stated that the recent Osun election tribunal pronouncement against the incumbent Governor of Osun state Mr. Ademola Adeleke is a clear cut travesty of justice, that mirrors the height of APC’s desperation to take on the reins of power, he also ventilated his views on other sundry issues in an interview with our correspondence in Lagos
The Osun gubernatorial election tribunal upturned INEC’s June 16,2022 declaration of Ademola Adeleke winner of the governorship poll on technical grounds and directed the electoral commission to certify Adegboyega Oyetola in his stead as Governor, how would you react to this development?
The travesty of justice from the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal has again exposed the APC as a party desperate to hold on to power by all means, despite its abysmal failure at all levels.
Suffice it to state that the APC has surpassed all records of electoral malfeasance in Nigeria. The APC rigging machinery has become infamous for its brazen and pervasive use of state institutions to perpetrate its evil agenda in the last 8 years.
Having contested for the Federal House of Representatives and Senate in 2011 and 2015 respectively, I can boldly recount the way it all played out being a victim of ACN/APC rigging machinery. I can boldly assert that that the rigging actually was perpetrated right from the polling units to the collation centres where my victory was eventually upturned.
What really transpired at the tribunal where you filed a petition back then?
Even when I filed a petition at the tribunal, the CTC copy of the INEC result declaring me the winner was stolen by the court clerk(in connivance with the APC)in the Judge’s office.
The Osun election tribunal has ruled in favour of Oyetola, going forward what are your counsel for your party PDP?
Going to the next election, we must take lessons from the Osun judgment to counter the rigging machinery of APC. It is unfathomable that the judges rather than call for a wholesome audit of the BVAS report for all the polling units used for the election, decided to focus on the areas faulted by APC and areas where votes were deducted from the PDP. Even with the evidence before the court, the worst scenario could have been a re-run in the affected areas but that was not to be.The basis of the Osun judgment has shown that the BVAS technology may not be fool proof after all. While accreditation of voters and transmission of results are done electronically, collation and counting of votes are still done manually and are susceptible to manipulation. To forestall a repeat of what happened in Osun, opposition party polling agents should ensure that the collated and counted votes do not exceed BVAS-accredited votes.
But is it not rather awkward to state that APC which had greater control of power as at the time in question across the divide, seemingly going by your take lacks required popularity to win any election?
For the Lagos APC, despite having over 700 elected councillors, 57 elected Chairmen of Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas, over 30 House of Representatives members three senators, and their National leader Bola Tinubu’s several billions nationwide, his seemingly popularity and acceptance, one would have thought the party would rely on the strength of these elected officers to win elections. It is sickening to note, however, that rather than them contest in a free and fair election, the party would opt for rigging and the rigging actually starts from the point of voter registration. At this juncture, it is important to expose different mediums and means, through which such infractions are perpetrated.
You mean the infractions cut across many phases?
Yes and I will try and enumerate them one after the other here for you.
1. PVC Registration and Collection
During the PVC registration, the APC made spirited attempts to deny PVC registration of Non-Yoruba speaking ethnic nationalities in a popular market in Lagos. We also have it on good authority that the APC connived with some unscrupulous INEC officials to take registration machines to their private residences for the registration of their members and loyalists even in the ongoing PVC collection exercise, there are reports of PVC of suspected Non-Yoruba speaking Lagos residents being destroyed to decimate the voting strength of the opposition PDP and it is a no brainer that Non-Yoruba speaking groups have always contributed largely to PDP’s votes.
2. Polling Units and Collation Centres
At the polling units, the APC would usually deploy a lot of funds to bribe the polling agents of opposition parties, security officials, and any compromisable electoral officer. Despite the introduction of BVAS and electronic transmission of results, the manual counting and collation of results, as witnessed in the Osun case, has only represented rigging, hitherto witnessed at the collation centres in another form.One wonders why the BVAS cannot print out results on election day. The BVAS only becomes useful as evidence in court where the APC has perfected the act of manipulating justice.
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Unarguably, the Lagos APC harbours and deploys the highest number of louts and thugs for election purposes. These thugs are deployed to attack the opposition party’s campaigns and destroy campaign billboards and posters. The thugs unleashed mayhem with reckless abandon, while the security operatives look the other way, putting opposition party candidates and their supporters at risk of losing their lives.
While not casting aspersions on the ability of INEC to conduct a credible election, it is worth revealing that some bad eggs would easily compromise at the dangling of APC carrots. It is therefore expected that polling agents would insist that the elections are conducted by the INEC officials in accordance with the electoral laws any time an infraction is noticed.
The APC would sometimes use its Federal might to influence an election through the appointment of Commissioners of Police(CP) and deployment of officers for the purpose of election assignment. Some police officers are sympathetic to the cause or have a link with an influential member of the ruling party. Some of these police officers go about arresting opposition politicians before, during, and after the election.
The APC plays its last card on election rigging through the judiciary. With a humongous unending vault, I want to also state unequivocally that the party (APC) would break the bank to get favourable judgment at the Tribunal up to the supreme court. Only men of integrity and good conscience, ready to dispense justice without fear or favour would stand up to be counted when the billions are flying. Given the foregoing, I make bold to say that since 1999, the APC has never won an election in Lagos without RIGGING. Unfortunately, the APC has always done it with the support of some PDP saboteurs who have been compromised as polling agents.
In all money clearly plays a key role in Nigeria’s electoral process till date, so going forward what model will you advance for your party given the short time limit to the general election, in order to ensure clear cut victory as you rightly intend?
These saboteurs decided to sell their birth rights for the peanuts offered to them by the APC at the polling units. However, the unfortunate thing is that we all have to suffer for it every four years. My clarion call on the Peoples’ Democratic Party is to re-jig and rework our winning formula by changing the old polling agents, we have used in the past 8 years to avoid compromise by the APC. We must remain vigilant and focused to put an end to the inglorious era of the APC. For us in Lagos PDP, we owe Lagosians who have suffered the lack of qualitative leadership and representation in tight grips of APC. The people’s yearnings for a Governor, Senator, House of Reps, and member house of Assembly of their own from the Peoples’ Democratic Party will only come to pass if we keep our eyes on the ball.