President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has reiterated that the recently conducted supplementary election in Osun State was a charade and an embarrassment to Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki, who is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Campaign Council on the governorship election, stated that the rerun was not needed in the first instance while the supplementary poll was unfair.
The statement read, “Yesterday, we witnessed another display of the subversion of the will of the Osun people during the rerun gubernatorial elections in the state. The election was characterised by widespread voter intimidation, violence and harassment. Accredited observers were denied access to polling units and duly registered voters were prevented from participating in the electoral process by thugs and compromised security agents.
“Like I said a few days ago, this needless rerun election was only designed as an avenue for the ruling party to perpetrate electoral fraud. The nature of these elections is an embarrassment to our democracy and casts an alarming pall on the institutions responsible for protecting the will of the Nigerian people as stated through their votes. That was why for more than 10 hours, the INEC could not collate and announce results in just seven polling units with just over 2000 votes.”
Saraki said it was surprising that while the two leading candidates were running neck to neck in the main election on Saturday, with the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, having an edge, the All Progressives Congress candidate was “now being credited with all the votes and some paltry number of votes were being recorded for the PDP candidate” four days later as a result of manipulations and impossible conditions.
The Senate President added, “It is important for Nigerians and the international community to insist that the hands of the clock should not be turned back in terms of the achievements we recorded in the last general elections. We should not make a mockery of democracy by conducting elections in the manner that the Osun polls were conducted.
“The Osun election is a clear indication of how the 2019 election will be conducted. It demonstrates that if we cannot conduct free, peaceful and fair elections in seven polling units spread across four local government areas of a state, then the conduct of the general elections in 774 local government areas across 36 states of the country is already endangered.
“I, therefore, call on the government, INEC, security agencies and development partners to ensure a radical change in the way and manner the next set of elections will be conducted. Osun 2018 polls is a very low point in our electoral system.”
Saraki recalled that in the 2015 elections, Nigeria witnessed several gains in its electoral process. According to him, the process was transparent and people’s votes counted. He noted that the gains made it possible for the APC, then an opposition party, to win at the centre and in many states of the nation. “That election highlighted a fine moment in Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.