•Vows to challenge result at election tribunal
From TUNDE RAHEEM, Akure
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in the last Saturday election in Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) yesterday rejected the result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), contending that the election was characterised by fraud. INEC had declared Governor Olusegun Mimiko winner in the election in which Akeredolu came third behind Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer, Olusola Oke, who came second.
Akeredolu who was officially reacting to the election result in a statement he issued and signed said it was one election too many, vowing to challenge the result at the election petition tribunal. He noted that security agents and INEC officials played the role of partisans of injustice in some areas of the state during the election, alleging that there were incontrovertible evidences of attempts at violence and actual perpetration of same against voters before, during and after the election.
“There was news of violence in many towns and villages of the state before, during and immediately after the election. Idanre is being mentioned for sundry reasons. Voters were prevented from voting in some areas where results were returned. Two of our supporters were reportedly killed.
“Many eligible voters could not find their names on the register provided at the polling units where they had previously voted. In some polling units the number of accredited voters was less than the results released. Somebody has to explain the difference. “In view of these glaring evidences of irregularities which characterised the exercise, the leadership of the party will be meeting to decide on the next line of action. I am conscious of the expectation of our supporters and the general public on our reaction to the outcome of the election.
“Let me hasten to state that our party is studying the results and will take a decision on reports of widespread irregularities from our agents and other witnesses. I have been inundated with tales of the brazen acts of violence perpetrated by thugs during the conduct of the election. “I still find it difficult to believe that our security agents played the role of partisans of injustice in some areas of the state. There are, however, incontrovertible evidences of attempts at violence and actual perpetration of same against voters before, during and after the election.
“I was informed of the arrest of the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Niran Sule and the Caretaker Chairman of Owo Local Government Area, Prince Ojomo, by soldiers for being in possession of firearms and large sums of money on the morning of election. The news was widely circulated and was later confirmed by several people who witnessed the show of shame. I reliably gathered that the suspects were later released. “I also heard of the heavy monetisation of the voting process, particularly by the Labour Party (LP).
I was told of the inducement of voters and violent attacks on those who refused to cooperate with them in virtually all the polling units in the state despite the intimidating presence of security agents deployed to protect lives and property. “Owo, my hometown, was practically under siege. My unit was, nevertheless bombarded by agents of retrogression who insisted they must make a point with my contrived defeat in my ward.
The resilience of the true sons and daughters of Owo ensured that I won. Adequate security was not provided in my polling units as in most polling units all over the state as voters were openly suborned. My people still stood firm in anticipation of change. “News of the purported defeat in my ward had been sent to the internet even before counting commenced. There were reports of the arrest of LP chieftains and their sympathisers who were caught with voting materials, especially ballot papers, few hours to the election. He alleged that agents of the ruling party had continued to attack his supporters across the state.
“A party which has truly won an election need not resort to violence soon after victory. Let me sound this note of warning to the hoodlums who terrorise innocent people that they will not be allowed to escape justice.
The power of incumbency will not be strong enough to protect banditry. “I call on the government of Ondo State to rein in the excesses of its agents to avert crisis. Our supporters must be allowed to go about their legitimate businesses. There is a limit to what human frailty can withstand.”