By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to clarify the information given to the public alleging that two of its staff have been suspended and are under investigation for manipulating the August 9 governorship election result to favour the APC and its candidate, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, eventual winner of the election.
To this end, the APC accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of manipulating facts and placing their offences on the APC.
In a statement made available to journalists in Osogbo on Wednesday, 3rd September, 2014 by the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of APC in Osun state, Barr. Kunle Oyatomi, the party debunked the allegation asking INEC to throw light on the development.
The statement reads: “It is on record that on 8 August, 2014, APC youths arrested a truck-full of ballot papers to be used for the gubernatorial election to be held on 9 August, 2014 and this was widely reported.
“The two persons in charge of the vehicle who were arrested were the electoral officer of Obokun Local Government in Osun State, Segun Eshilokun; and one Ismaila Taofik who were in possession of the electoral materials before INEC started the distribution of materials.
“The two culprits were handed over to the police and were taken to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Osogbo. Later, the two of them were released to one Oladipo Oladapo, a PDP chieftain from Ile-Ife without any charge brought against them. The order to release them was simply said to have come from above.
“It was pursuant to this that we wrote a petition to INEC for the matter to be duly investigated and the culprits brought to book.
“Furthermore, the second INEC official who has just been suspended was the Electoral Officer for Osogbo Local Government, a card-carrying member of the PDP.
“The suspension was pursuant to our petition complaining of several malpractices against this individual who connived to manipulate the
election in favour of PDP on the 9th August, 2014 when he released only 64 identification tags to APC polling agents out of a total of 227 that was due to be given to our agents.
“The implication was that APC agents were denied access to their polling units until the accreditation process was over and, if not for prompt intervention by Ambassador Wali, the INEC National Commissioner in charge, APC agents would have been completely excluded from most polling units in Osogbo Local Government.
“Later in the day after the conclusion of the election, the same Electoral Officer for Osogbo Local Government refused to produce the Form EC8C customized for Osogbo Local Government and in which the collated results of the various wards in Osogbo were to be recorded.
“Upon our complaint, INEC issued this corrupt official another query and was given a one-hour ultimatum to produce the form.
“It was pursuant to this that he grudgingly produced the form and the results were recorded and announced.
“It is rather disconcerting to read in the dailies that a source close to Senator Iyiola Omisore rather turned the facts round that the said official was said to have colluded with APC in manipulating the election which PDP woefully lost.
“This is just a shoddy job to corrupt public opinion and augment their unfortunate election petition which is doomed to fail.
“It is certain that Segun Eshinlokun was working for PDP when he was nabbed by the ever-vigilant APC members who knew the fraudulent intention of the PDP ahead of the election.
“It was also certain that the Electoral Officer for Osogbo Local Government knew that the people of Osogbo and its environs were going to give the largest votes to APC and hence his devilish determination to assist Iyiola Omisore to subvert popular democracy.
“We wish to place on record that it is most irresponsible journalism for certain elements in the Fourth Realm of the Estate to gleefully give fillip to falsehood without proper investigation.
“The stories above were well known ahead of the unfortunate publications of 3rd September, 2014 where the Tribune and some online media joyously committed perfidy by making the victim the accused rather than joining hands to condemn an electoral evil which is destroying the society.
“We call on the relevant authorities in INEC to note that the acts perpetrated by the Electoral Officers of Obokun and Osogbo Local Governments are criminal in nature. The steps to be taken should not be limited to administrative discipline but the two culprits must be prosecuted.”
According to APC, PDP was out to give INEC a bad name in order to satisfy the latter’s passion for filthy lucre.
APC said: “The stakes here are very high and INEC should not allow a party to take over its responsibility of truthfully informing the public as to what is really going on in the INEC over the last gubernatorial election which was won convincingly by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the APC.”