Osun Poll: Democracy In Danger, Says Aregbesola
Jubilation in Osogbo
Jonathan, governors hail election
Victory parties continued yesterday in major towns of Osun State.
Osogbo, the state capital, was throbbing with crowds of revellers as Governor Rauf Aregbesola led a victory parade.
He was declared re-elected by the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday morning with 394,684 votes to his opponent Iyiola Omisore’s 292,747 votes.
Aregbesola said in spite of his victory, the process was faulty and “gravely endangered democracy.”
The governor took a hard look at what he and his party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – faced in the run-down to the election and declared that had it not been because of the People’s commitment, something untoward could have happened.
President Goodluck Jonathan, governors and other eminent Nigerians congratulated Aregbesola.
National leader of the APC Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said Aregbesola “bruised the head of tyranny with his victory.
Tinubu, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and other APC leader kept vigil at the Aswiwaju residence in Lagos monitoring the situation. There was anxiety as the results were not announced by INEC Returning Officer Prof. Bamitale Oluwole, Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife until 7:30am yesterday.
Addressing a huge crowd of supporters at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo, the governor noted the traumatic challenges he faced before he winning the poll.
“It was so sad and unfortunate that the contest that should be a normal, routine process was allowed to snowball into a needless virtual war by the Federal Government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
“Ordinarily, this should be a moment of joy and celebration consequent upon the hard-earned triumph of the people’s will. However, this election shows that democracy is still gravely endangered in Nigeria. We witnessed gross abuse of power and of due process before, during, and even after the actual voting process.”
Aregbesola lamented the unduly militarisation of the election saying the people’s courage had triumphed over an unprecedented criminal intimidation and psychological assault on the state.
He said that the election witnessed an abuse of security agencies which he described as corruption of their professional ethics and integrity.
Aregbesola added that the security agencies were unprofessionally utilised to harass, intimidate and oppress the people whose taxes were used to pay their salaries.
He said: “Hundreds of leaders, supporters, sympathisers and agents of our party were arrested and detained. Also, hundreds of other innocent citizens, including women and the aged were harassed, brutalised and traumatised. In spite of this condemnable repression and abuse of human rights, the unflagging spirit of our people triumphed.
“Our victory is due to the steadfastness and resolute determination of our people to assert and defend their rights. The PDP obviously did all it could in a most desperate manner to steal the people’s mandate.
“Despite our victory, it is pertinent to condemn and also point out the fact that the number of accredited voters in most local governments was less than half of registered voters. Against this trend, it is curious that the bulk of the PDP candidate’s votes came from only four Local governments – Ife Central, Ife East, Ife North and Ife South.”
Aregbesola said the outcome of the election reflected the unwavering determination of Osun people to ensure that democracy triumphs in Nigeria.
“With this election, the people of Osun have sent a strong signal to all and sundry that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people. This should always strengthen our resolve to ensure that as from now on, every vote must not only count in Osun but must count in this country as a whole.
“Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belong.”
He added: Let me assure the good people of Osun state that I appreciate that this victory is a reward for our hard work and commitment to the welfare of our people.
“I promise that we shall not rest on our oars but shall be spurred to work even harder with all well meaning people of the State of Osun and the generality of Nigerians to continue to enjoy your trust and support. You can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in our continued effort to transform Osun into a land of progress, prosperity and peace for all with renewed fervour.
“I realize that this victory and the challenges we went through is a call to greater service and sustained commitment to our people.
“I pledge a rededication of myself to the service of our people and the strengthening of democratic values in Osun and Nigeria generally. Our country remains in political bondage and we must set her free.”