BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The People’s Democratic Party has called on the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to sanction the state Governor, Gboyega Oyetola for allegedly embarking on a media trial over the matter pending before the panel.
The state Caretaker Chairman of the party, Adekunle Akindele, accused Oyetola of embarking on prejudicial publications and urged the court to sanction the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to a series of prejudicial media publications from Mr. Gboyega Oyetola and the All Progressive Congress (APC) over the petition challenging the election of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect of Osun state. We notice with disappointment that the intensity of the sponsored, subjudice media trial increased soon after the rejection by the President, Court of Appeal of Oyetola’s request to relocate the Tribunal sitting from Osogbo to Abuja.
“We first of all commend the judiciary for rejecting the relocation petition as there were no justifiable reasons for such request. Osun is not only peaceful but the few cases of insecurity were mostly engineered by the state government in its desperate agenda to scuttle peoples’ will. We are therefore elated that the judicial leadership saw through the plot and adopted the position of security agencies that Osun is secured enough to host the sitting of the Tribunal.
“We must hasten to add that our objection to the relocation request was premised on the critical need to protect the integrity and safety of BVAS machines and other materials used during the elections. As the machines are likely to be central to the determination of the petition, keeping them safe here in Osun rather than exposing them to tampering and hacking on transit, is our official position.
“Our party as a law abiding organisation is however disappointed with the recklessness and utter disregard of Oyetola and his team for the integrity and credibility of the judicial process. In the last few weeks, the petitioner has launched series of media publications, first alleging false admission to over-voting by defendants, misrepresenting to the public the fillings of defendants, alleging complicity of the electoral commission through doctoring of court filings and lately creating falsified election results to purportedly claim victory.
“As much as we have attempted to correct the counterfeited claims being an interested party, Mr. Oyetola and his team are so far incorrigible as they persist in their nefarious conduct of willful pervasion of facts. We have therefore come to the conclusion that ongoing election data manipulation in public domain if left unchecked by the Tribunal is capable of plunging the state into conflict ahead of the November 27 transfer of power. The polity is already over-heated and it is time Mr. Oyetola is called to order before he plunges the state into avoidable crisis.
“We repeat for the sake of all lovers of democracy that all false election graphics being circulated by APC are figments of their imagination. The official results of the July 16 elections remain the authentic results. That victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke is what all defendants are defending as evidenced in their fillings at the Tribunal.
We are bold to say that none of the defendants admitted to any electoral error but rather holistically articulated data and facts which authenticated the electoral victory of Senator Adeleke,” the party caretaker chairman said.
But, Oyetola’s aide, Ismail Omipidan, said the decision by the governor to challenge the outcome of the July 16 Osun Governorship poll should never be seen as an attempt to impugn on the integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He noted that Oyetola’s decision should rather be commended as it was aimed at deepening the country’s democratic values and its electoral system.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday, Omipidan, while expressing confidence in the ability of the members of the Tribunal to do justice in the case before it, further noted that the outcome would go a long way in making INEC fill some gaps that might have been noticed ahead of the 2023 General Elections.
“Make no mistake, our case is not in any way an attempt to impugn on the integrity of INEC. That’s not the motivation. It is to further help deepen our electoral system and to help INEC correct whatever anomalies or gaps that may have been exposed from the conduct of the Osun Governorship Election ahead of 2023 elections. Most of the reforms we have today as part of our electoral laws were borne out of the decisions of the court. Our observations may as well be part of the future reforms,” the governor’s Chief Press Secretary added.