FOLLOWING Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaration of last Saturday Osun gubernatorial election as inconclusive, “whose victory dance was postponed?” may be a compelling headline for any preview of the rerun slated today.
For take partisanship apart, a winner must emerge, and it may or may not turn what most people may be expecting. But things seem to have been moving at split-second speed in political dynamics of Osun State since Sunday, as different camps size up each other for the swim-or-sink battle that would ultimately swing the pendulum its way.
First, candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) Senator Iyiola Omisore thaw the ice in his dark horse appellation and suddenly becomes a beautiful bride whose face is being sought by everyone in the whole mix.
His residence quickly turned a political Mecca of sorts as gladiators on both divides like Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor-Elect of Ekiti State, Dr. Segun Fayemi came calling. But just when all thought that horse trading holds aces to the crucial contest,
some familiar spirits that riddle Nigeria politics reared up their heads. There were accusations and counter-accusations across board as parties – mainly All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) elements – trade words in sundry salacious recriminations.
A PDP chieftain was allegedly lynched by irate residents while he went around buying up Permanent Voter Card (PVCs) in some of the areas where rerun has been scheduled. Almost in nanosecond retaliation, another account emerged this time taking the earlier allegation to APC doorsteps saying that the man who was caught with cloned PVCs was indeed a stalwart of the party.
While dusts are still swirling to further heat up the polity, yet another dynamic found its way into the fray when PDP said it was going to court to challenge INEC’s verdict that the first election was inconclusive. According to its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, Senator Ademola Adeleke won the election and INEC should declare him winner – and nothing more.
He went ahead to press for an immediate arrest of the Chief Returning Officer of the election, Prof. Joseph Fuwape. But APC hierarchy would have none of that, laughing off Ologbondiyan war tune as a ranting. A statement credited to Media Committee Chairman of APC Campaign Council, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said PDP’s threat to go court was nothing but sheer bravado.
He went further to describe it as a shortcut contrived to distract APC and its members so that PDP’s candidate may win the rerun from back door, “advising’ PDP to boycott the rerun, if it so wishes.
But observers fear that these undertones to tomorrow’s Osun rerun may dovetail or throw up another complex labyrinth denoted in some poignant questions. Will the winner emerge credibly fair and square?
Will the loser or losers bow out with grace? Or will candidates and their parties take other Nigerians through another round of needless recriminations as followed after similar exercise in Ekiti State?
This shifts the cut-shot (if only it was a golf tourney) to what it will really take for anyone to emerge as winner or loser. At the end of the counting of the votes last Sunday, PDP garnered 254,698 votes while APC closely followed with 254,345 votes with SDP scoring 128,049 votes in third position.
This leaves just a mathematical difference of 353 votes between the first and second candidates. But it quickly threw up a legal conundrum which Fuwape credited with cancellation of 3,498 votes in seven polling centres around Orolu LGA (three units, 947 votes), Ife South (two units, 1,314 votes), Ife North (one unit, 353 votes), and Oshogbo (one unit, 884 votes).
It is not yet clear the algorithm or political formula with which a winner would emerge. But one thing may be taken as done and dusted. A winner must emerge tomorrow. Is it PDP’s Adeleke? Is it APC’s Gboyega Oyetola? Or even Iyiola Omisore himself?
FORMER Commissioners in Enugu State, under the auspices of Forum of Enugu State Former Commissioner (FEFCOM), has unanimously endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a second term in office. Members of the forum, who conveyed the message to Gov. Ugwuanyi when they paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House, Enugu, stated that the decision was in appreciation of his administration’s giant development strides, peace and security initiatives, and all-inclusive policy. They said they were highly impressed that Gov. Ugwuanyi had kept faith with his promise of seamless transition by continuing with most of the developmental policies of his predecessor, especially the Visit Every Community (VEC) Initiative, which he has expanded by creating a full directorate with one of them as the head. The group, which has the immediate past Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Okey Ani and his Rural Development counterpart, Dr. Eric Oluedo, as conveners, added that the governor has been ensuring prompt payment of workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions resulting in the payment of one extra full month salary to every Civil/Public Servant in Enugu State to celebrate the 2017 Christmas”. They disclosed that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has completed the Enugu State Diagnostic Centre and has also commenced the construction of 200-bed Igboano Specialist Hospital, Enugu, noting that the initiation of the International Medical City, Agu-Ekwegbe, is very impressive. The former cabinet members also applauded the governor for constructing five ultra-modern fire service stations across the three senatorial districts of the state after 56 years, as well as the unprecedented employment of over 4000 primary and secondary school teachers. On politics, the ex-Commissioners said: “Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has through his political sagacity brought stability in the polity of Enugu State and has gone ahead to reach out to other political parties other than his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in his firm belief that governance is about the people and not based only on political leanings”. According to them, “the grant of N10 million to each of the 450 autonomous communities in Enugu State for the execution of projects that are dear to the hearts of their people and the immediate release of the sum of N5million as part of the grant, is in consonance with Governor Ugwuanyi’s development thrust”. It will be recalled that other groups like the Ebeano family, the political platform of former Enugu State governor, Dr. Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, the Association of Executive Assistants in all the wards in the state, Tricycle operators, Association of Enugu State Pensioners, Ogbete Traders Association, Enugu Market Women Association and Enugu State Science Teachers Association had endorsed the governor for a second term in office.