30th January, 2012
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Monday shunned the stakeholders’ meeting initiated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review last Saturday’s rerun election into the Orelope/Irepo/Olorunsogo Federal Constituency in Oyo State, southwest Nigeria.
The meeting which was expected to commence at 10.00am did not start until after 12:00pm as INEC endlessly waited for PDP until it decided to go ahead with the meeting without the party.
In a chat with P.M.NEWS on phone to know why PDP boycotted the meeting, the PDP State Secretary, Alhaji Bashiru Akanbi stated that the boycott was deliberate, stressing that it was as a result of the injustice meted out to the parry by INEC.
According to him, there was no reason why INEC could not have announced PDP candidate as the winner of the election, having scored the highest number of votes cast, stressing that it is obvious that PDP won the election.
Akanbi said that the result of seven polling units, which is the stronghold of PDP, should have prevented INEC from masterminding the rigging in favour of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
He declared that PDP might boycott any rerun election in the seven polling units adding, “the only reason why we can participate in the rerun election is if officials from the national headquarters of INEC come from Abuja to organise it completely excluding members of the state INEC”.
Speaking at the meeting, INEC Supervising Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Hussain Pai reaffirmed that the commission could not declare any contestant as a winner because the election was inconclusive as a result of results of seven polling units cancelled.
Pointing out that PDP won with about 2000 votes, excluding the over 3000 votes cancelled in the seven polling units, Pai said, “Where the margin of winning of votes of the leading candidate is not in excess of the total number of registered voters of the polling stations where the election was cancelled or not held, there shall be no return for the election until another poll had taken place in the affected polling stations.”
He explained that though the PDP was in the lead, it was not enough to declare a clear cut winner until fresh elections were conducted in the seven units.
After all the political parties’ representatives accepted to go for rerun election in the units affected, Pai announced that a fresh rerun election would be held on Saturday, 11 February 11, saying that the support and cooperation of the stakeholders was necessary to ensure a free and fair election.
He called on security agents to ensure adequate security during the exercise, while urging the stakeholders to educate their supporters on the need to have violence-free election.
Meanwhile, the state police command has assured that adequate security would be provided during the rerun election.
The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Moses Onireti represented by his deputy, Mr. Muhamed Ladan, said it was unbelievable that hoodlums had a field day during the election.
He said that over 100 rounds of ammunition and assorted charms were recovered from hoodlums during the election, stressing that over 100 suspects arrested would be investigated and anyone who has question to answer would be charged to court.
He also threatened to arrest sponsors or godfathers of the hoodlums and deal with them.