How Adeleke’s sack will affect general elections in Osun



Uba Group

Since the July 16, 2022, Osun State governorship election victory of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party was overturned by the state election tribunal on Friday, tension has heightened across many parts of the state.

Even before the majority judgment that sacked Adeleke was delivered by Justice Tetsea Kume, the Chairman of the three member panel, residents of the state had been soaked in tension as many made guesses of where the pendulum would swing.

A day before the judgment, security agencies had embarked on a show of strength in Osogbo with a view to sending signals to those that may want to foment trouble before, during and after the tribunal verdict. Security operatives from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Vigilante groups, and Amotekun Corps, who were armed to the teeth, moved around strategic locations in the capital city, especially places regarded as trouble spots.

On Friday, as early as 7am, the road leading to the Osun State High Court, whose premises the tribunal was sitting, had been blocked as only vehicles conveying the panelists, litigants and other key party members and journalists were allowed to pass through the roads leading to the tribunal hall.

After about four hours of reading both the majority and minority judgements, news filtered into the public that Adeleke had been sacked. Justice Kume had ended Adeleke’s 62 days as governor with these words, “the second respondent (Adeleke) did not score a majority of lawful votes cast for the election.

The declaration and return is hereby declared as null and void, the second respondent cannot “go low and buga won” as duly elected governor of Osun State in the election conducted on July 16, 2022, see Kiss Daniel song, Buga.” Kume declared Oyetola as the winner of the July 16, poll after deducting the over-voting at 774 polling units across 10 local government areas of the state that the former governor and his party had claimed from Adeleke’s scores.

But a minority judgment by Justice A Ogbuli dismissed Oyetola’s petition, saying the two BVAS reports issued by INEC were the product of controversies.

Ogbuli held that physical data extracted from BVAS machines represent the actual figure generated from wards on the day the election was held and that Kume ought to have considered the physical data since the petitioners didn’t oppose its correctness and validity.

Immediately after the news of Adeleke’s removal broke, the people of the state received it with mixed feelings. While most expressed shock and surprise, others were indifferent.

However, the tribunal outcome was greeted with pockets of protests by residents who are members and loyalists of the PDP in the state as they rejected the sack of the state governor. Demonstrations were held simultaneously in Osogbo, Ilesa, Ede, Iwo, among other towns condemning the judgment of the tribunal. They carried placards with varying inscriptions such as “Tribunal Panel is not fair in their judgment’, ‘Imole has come to stay’, ‘Osun Citizens reject Oyetola’, ‘This is Injustice to Ademola Adeleke’, ‘In Imole’s mandate we stand’, among others.

As PDP members were expressing anger, those of the APC and supporters of Oyetola trooped out to the streets of Iwo and IlaOrangun, the hometowns of the immediate past governor in jubilation.

They celebrated the victory by marching around and singing songs. But tension heightened on Friday night as violence broke out in some areas in Osogbo.

Some persons were said to have been attacked in Igbona and Ayetoro areas even as gunshots were reportedly fired into the air by security operatives to scare away the hoodlums who were creating chaos in the city. Many residents hurriedly shut their doors while traders shut their businesses for fear of attack. The situation worsened the next day, Saturday, as many residents stayed indoors in fear after rampaging hoodlums stormed the streets against the verdict of the tribunal.

Hoodlums blocked roads and prevented vehicular and human movements in Otaefun, Igbona, and Ogo-Oluwa areas. They beat up many commercial motorcyclists picking up passengers. Business activities were paralyzed in many parts of the state and many markets shut as a result of unrest in town.

Reacting, the leadership of APC in the state condemned the act of brigandage allegedly exhibited by political hoodlums. In a statement, the acting Chairman of the party, Tajudeen Lawal, said, “It was learnt that some armed notorious thugs immediately after the delivery of the judgment that did not favour Adeleke went berserk in Osogbo, destroying the billboards and posters of the APC senatorial candidate for the Osun Central Senatorial District, Senator Ajibola Bashir.

“The PDP thugs were spotted going around the state capital, shooting indiscriminately, attacking some members of the APC and their supporters in a manner suggestive of the fact that they were above the law of the land.

“The sacked Governor Adeleke has the option to appeal the tribunal judgment instead of resorting to self-help from the hoodlums who lack the capacity to influence the tribunal judgement that has been delivered in favour of our candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola. “If the sacked Governor Adeleke truly has a genuine interest in allowing peace to reign in Osun State, he should put on his thinking cap and beat a retreat from his love for violence as such could only lead to an irredeemable perdition.”


Also speaking, a former Commissioner for Works and Transportation in the state during Oyetola’s administration, Remi Omowaye said the leadership of APC might call on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency over the spate of violence in the state. Lamenting the spate of violence since the tribunal delivered its judgment, Omowaye said if Adeleke failed to rein in members of his par- ty whom h e al- l e g e d were attacking.

APC members, the leadership of the party might call on President Buhari to do so. Omowaye said reports available to the party leadership indicated that many APC members had been forced out of their homes by the rampaging hoodlums allegedly working for the PDP. “Our office in Ilesa has been attacked again. They riddled it with gunshots.
They have been attacking a lot of our people; their thugs are going about threatening to kill any APC member. We are calling on the security operatives to come to our rescue.

We are peace-loving Nigerians. The court has given its judgment. “Senator Adeleke said he is going to appeal, he should go ahead and appeal. But if they continue like this, we will call on the President to declare a state of emergency. As of now, their thugs have been going around the state shooting indiscriminately. As of now, I don’t have the figures for the casualties.

“Even the residents trying to jubilate had to run inside because of the fear of attack. The court has given its judgment and there is room for the person in question to appeal, why attack people? Today, some of the thugs didn’t even allow motorists to work.

As I speak to you, the Tinubu/Shettima campaign office in Ilesha had been attacked and riddled with bullets again. How long are we going to continue with that?”

But the Osun PDP acting chairman, Akindele Adekunle, described Omowaye as an ‘alarmist and daydreamer.’ He further accused the former commissioner of being the man in charge of the coordination of hoodlums on behalf of the administration where he served, insisting that PDP members were not anarchists but only out in a peaceful protest against any attempt to hijack the mandate that the Osun people gave to Adeleke.

“During his days as a commissioner, we all know he was the one that organized and managed thugs for the former governor, and we have repeated it that his failure to pay those he mobilised for their political warfare was the reason for these security challenges now.

“Our members are not anarchists. They are only peacefully protesting and they are protesting against an attempt to hijack the mandate freely given by the people of Osun State to Governor Ademola Adeleke. So, his allegations are unfounded and his reference to a state of emergency is equally a misinterpretation of what can call for a state of emergency.

“As of today in Osun, there is peace and tranquility . The only thing is that people are exercising their fundamental right to protest against a paid judgment by a paid judge who actually left the law to dwell on personal issues as the basis for his legal action.

Nobody will take Remi Omowaye seriously in Osun because he is a false alarmist,” Akindele said. Before the tribunal judgment, the state had witnessed some political skirmishes, the destruction of campaign billboards, offices, and deaths.

Last Tuesday, two persons were reportedly killed in a clash that broke out between supporters of the APC and PDP in Ikire, Irewole Local Government Area of the state. Some other loyalists of the parties and branded campaign vehicles were damaged in the attacks that happened during campaign rallies ahead of the 2023 general elections.

While the Osun West Senatorial candidate of APC, Amidu Tadese claimed that he and his campaign team were attacked by some hoodlums said to be political thugs of PDP, the PDP senatorial candidate in the district, Lere Oyewumi, alleged that APC hoodlums killed two of his supporters and injured many others. Tadese had alleged that Oyewumi coordinated the attack on him and maintained that there was an assassination attempt on his person.

He said his political opponent, Oyewumi, led fully armed political hoodlums on a rampage aimed at assassinating him and attacked his supporters who had already assembled for the rally in Ikire. But, Oyewumi denied the allegation leveled against him by Tadese, claiming that the APC candidate, rather attacked him and his supporters and killed two of them.

About 23 days before the general elections, stakeholders have urged politicians to allow peace to rein in the state. In an interview with The Point, a political analyst, Patrick Fawibe, said the 2023 elections in the state might be fraught with violence if the attacks in Osun did not abate.


“I want to tell you that if all these attacks are not stopped, Osun may experience the worst of violence. There is more tension in the state since the tribunal delivered its judgment and you know the violence that greeted it. APC, Oyetola and his supporters are still rooting for their presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and Adeleke won’t also want to lose the state to APC, he will also ensure that he wins virtually all the seats in the State House of Assembly, National Assembly and also work assiduously for the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

“In essence, what I am saying is that these attacks may linger till the election period if not checked and its consequences won’t be pleasant. The state is already recording kidnapping almost on a daily basis and political parties are parading their thugs.

I urge security agencies to up their games and guard against further attacks,” he said. Already, Governor Adeleke has rejected the tribunal judgment and said he has filed an appeal and obtained a stay of execution. He called for peace in the state and warned against acts that could plunge the state into chaos.