The Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Abdul Jelili Adesiyan, yesterday said the alleged suspension of two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over electoral malpractices in the August 9 governorship election in Osun State was the beginning of electoral victory for the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Osun State.
Also yesterday, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Osun State called on the INEC to immediately clear the air on information given to the public by the PDP alleging that two of its staff had been suspended and are under investigation for manipulating the election result from two local governments to favour the APC.
The two officers, Fabunmi F.T and Esinloye A.O, according to INEC, were alleged to have sold thumb-printed ballot papers to the APC and manipulated form EC8 series to favour the party.
It mandated the INEC headquarters in Abuja to wade into the matter to investigate and know whether or not the accused worked for the APC to rig the August 9 election in the state.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Wale Akinola, made available to journalists in Osogbo yesterday, the minister said the suspension of the two INEC officials was an indication that the gubernatorial election held August 9 in the state, was massively rigged in favour of the incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola, against the people’s will.
He added that the revelation had indeed vindicated the PDP’s claim that the election was fraught with electoral malpractices and irregularities.
He noted: “It is on record that the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the August 9 election in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore and the state chapter of the party rejected the outcome of the election on the basis of the irregularities and electoral fraud that greeted the process and conduct of the election. And that is why we have filed a petition at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, to challenge the victory of Aregbesola at the poll.
“But less that a week after we have filed the petition at the tribunal, two INEC officials were suspended for colluding with APC in Osogbo and Obokun Local Government Areas to rig the election. The arrest and suspension of those two INEC officials has proven our claims beyond a reasonable doubt that the election was massively rigged because it is our collective belief that a castle built on lies cannot stand a test of time.
“I want to urge the INEC to do a thorough investigation on this issue, so as to get to the root of the matter with a view to getting those involved exposed and punishing them according to the electoral law. I believe that if this is done, more perpetrators of electoral fraud during the last election will also be exposed and dealt with accordingly.”
Adesiyan, however, urged the PDP members in the state to remain calm and steadfast, promising that the party’s standard bearer, Senator Iyiola Omisore, would soon be vindicated at the Tribunal and declared the validly elected governor of the state.
Meanwhile, the APC however said it was unfortunate that the PDP handlers had gone to town manipulating facts and placing their offences on their intended victim, the APC.
The state’s APC spokesman, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi, said it was on record that on August 8, 2014 that vigilant youths arrested a truck-full of ballot papers to be used for the gubernatorial election on August 9, and this was widely reported.
The two persons in charge of the vehicle who were arrested were the Electoral Officer of Obokun Local Government in Osun State, Segun Eshilokun and one Ismaila Taofik, who were in possession of the electoral items, before INEC started the distribution of materials.
He urged INEC not to allow a party to take over its responsibility of truthfully informing the public as to what is really going on over the last gubernatorial election which was won convincingly by Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the APC.