Guber election: Still dicey as many candidates control in areas of influence

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Vote 2011
The picture of the winner of the gubernatorial poll in Oyo state was still unclear late Tuesday as the candidates of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Accord Party (AP) were leading in their respective areas of influence.

However, in Lagos, former governor of the state and National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu insisted President Goodluck Jonathan actually won penultimate Saturday’s presidential election, which plunged some states in the North to a theatre of riot and violence, thereby leading to the killing of corps members and some non-indigenes in Bauchi and Gombe.
Returns from the early votes from Ogbomoso and some parts of Oke-Ogun of Oyo State weighed in heavily in favour of Adebayo Alao-Alala of the PDP and the sitting governor while his former principal, Rasidi Ladoja of the Accord Party sustained his stronghold from the early votes counted in Oluyole and Egbeda local councils of the state capital.
ACN’s Abiola Ajimobi was leading from the votes counted in polling centres in Oyo town.

Though the poll was peacefully conducted, there were still some pockets of trouble as about 22 people were arrested in Iseyin for being in possession of fake ballot papers while some others, which included Senator Kamoru Adedibu were arrested for contravening the Electoral Act on restriction of movement.

Adedibu, representing Oyo South senatorial constituency was arrested by a convoy of soldiers, led by the General Officer Commanding 2 Division, Ibadan, Major General Mohammed Abubakar at Mapo area of Ibadan, for violating the no-movement order. The politician was warned to return to his house and maintain the peace.
In Olomi area of Ibadan metropolis, 31 people were arrested by the police for allegedly being in possession of thumb printed ballot papers.

Also three Accord Party (AP) supervisors were arrested at the polling unit in the family house of the deputy governor of the state, Taofik Arapaja.

However, voting commenced on schedule in almost all the polling units monitored by THISDAY across the state. The electorate conducted themselves in an orderly manner. As at 4.30 pm many polling units still had long queues of voters waiting to exercise their franchise.

All the three leading gubernatorial candidates expressed satisfaction on the conduct of the poll and differently exuded confidence of victory.
Akala’s deputy, Taofeek Arapaja lauded the INEC for the marked improvement in the polls and maintained that his principal shall be returned to office on May 29.

Accord Party chief, Ladoja also saluted the conduct of the polls but lamented the assault and harassment of his party agents in some parts of the state capital. He, however, promised to abide by the outcome of the polls if he is defeated free and square.
ACN the governorship candidate Ajimobi saluted the patriotism of the electorate, who in spite of the scorching sun, waited patiently to vote for the candidate of their choice.

He said: “I am sure of victory at the end of the day. I must also commend the INEC and the people of Oyo State for their patience and patriotism in ensuring that a government that would accede to their yearnings is put in place.”

And in Lagos, shortly after casting vote along with his wife, Abimbola at Surulere, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) expressed optimism that the popular will would prevail in governorship contest while his running, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire commended Lagos electorate for coming out en masse to vote.

But the party leader, who spoke after he underwent accreditation process yesterday at Alausa Polling Unit 003, also said the Action Congress of Nigeria would formally react to the victory of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded presidential election after collating and verifying all the necessary data.

He therefore admitted that President Jonathan worked hard for the victory he got in the presidential election, which he said “is well deserved. Jonathan won in the Southwest according to INEC result. Be that as it may, as a democrat, one must be ready to accept election result at a given time. The election is free and fair. People voted Jonathan.

“The INEC said Jonathan won. He actually won. But like I said, a democrat must be ready to accept the result of any election. Our party is yet to do the verification and the collation of data before we could make any attack. For now I have accepted that basically until my party says otherwise. I will not jump to conclusion,” he stated.

Tinubu said he would accept the election result released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in good faith as a democrat, but would await the outcome of independent investigation being carried out by his party for likely attack on the premises that gave the presidential election to Jonathan.

But the former governor said the ACN “is compiling facts and figures that would give him the basis for his attack” while condemning the killing of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in some states of the North.

Tinubu said the do-or-die politics being practiced by some political leader was what he said culminated in the post –election violence in some northern states after the presidential election, adding that the twin problem of do-or-die politics and financial inducement of the electorate had been the bane of the country. .

He said Jonathan “won the election as announced by INEC and that any aggrieved contestant should have gone to court to challenge the outcome of the poll instead of instigating violence. Do-or-die politics and financial inducement of the electorate are inimical to our polity. These are not good for our country and people should desist from such acts”.

According to him, every human being has right to life, dignity, freedom and liberty to pursue happiness in life. Whatever happened that led to the death of the youth corps members have to do with education and poverty. Emotional reactions are not enough answer to the situations. We just have to look for cause of the problem. We have to evaluate it and make adequate compensations where necessary and required.

Speaking in Surulere, Fashola said there “is more time now to really do analysis, the voting patterns and the voting behaviour. To the extent that it has largely been peaceful during voting, there has been the uncomfortable aftermaths of voting but by the by, it is when the whole exercise is complete that we can really benchmark it against past performances”.

Governor Fashola also explained that he “is not worried. As you go ahead, you will assess what has happened in the past and what progress has been made. You will see that on every effort, INEC has tried to improve on previous experiences and outings, but for me life is an on-going process for increasing renewal”.

Also speaking, Adefulire commended INEC leadership for the successful conduct of the past elections, saying the officials of the commission always “come to the respective polling units in Alimosho,” an area with about 2 million eligible voters.

Fashola’s running mate also projected that the ACN “will come out victorious, and our votes are going to be overwhelming because the choice of candidates we have in Lagos and what they have been able to benefit from Lagos State.

“With what we have seen here, the process is credible with the announcement of the number of the accredited voters, voting the right way and after the elections they announce and paste the results at every polling unit. The process is made transparent. So anyone that is aggrieved can go to the polling unit to verify the result”.

By Tunde Sanni and By Gboyega Akinsanmi, Thisday.