May 6, 2009

Ekiti re-run: INEC declares Oni winner

Segun Oni, an engineer and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got the nod to return to the saddle in Ekiti State on Tuesday with his declaration as winner of the controversial governorship election re-run.

The Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner and Chief Returning Officer, Mrs Ayoka Adebayo declared Oni as the eventual winner of the re-run poll, which had kept the state on edge in the past few weeks.

Oni defeated his main rival, the Action Congress (AC) candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, but spontaneous protests from the party’s supporters greeted the PDP victory.

Oni vacated the governorship seat on the order of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, which ordered re-run of the April 2007 poll in 63 wards across 10 local government areas of the state.
Reading the final results amidst deafening noise by AC and PDP supporters at the Christ’s Girls School Ado-Ekiti, collation center on Tuesday night, Adebayo announced that Oni polled the highest votes, scoring 111, 140 as against Fayemi’s 107,017.

The controversial ballots in Ido-Osi Local Government, which had the PDP candidate scoring 15,939 votes as against AG’s 3,793 votes were the decider.
AC had complained against the results, claiming to have won the legally collated results from three wards, while rejecting those said to have been collated in a police station.
It was alleged that the controversy led to the REC, Mrs Adebayo resigning her appointment and ‘disappearing’ for 48 hours, only appearing later to announce that she was still a “member of the INEC family.”

AC supporters booed as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official were led out of the collation centre by security agents to prevent them from being attacked.
Earlier, as the results of the four outstanding local governments that were announced AC chieftains, including Niyi Adebayo, former governor of Ekiti and Chief Jide Awe AC state chairman stood up to raise objection on the manner he results were announced.

They pointed out that the results ought to have been announced by Mrs Adebayo herself instead of electoral officers who also acted as the collation officers.
The collation center became rowdy as PDP and AC supporters were shouting on top of their voices.
Despite the plea by Acting Police Commissioner in the state, Yakubu Alkali, the crowd kept shouting “No more rigging.”

The REC, however, appealed to the people that any party dissatisfied with the outcome of the poll should go to court after the announcement of the result.
Earlier, the re-run election in Oye-Ekiti held amidst tight security, but characterized by low voter turnout, as the expected 18,000 votes projected by the political parties for grabs could not be realized.
The number of security men, including police, State Security Service (SSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) could be rated as one security operative to one civilian in the town.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), John Ahmadu, State Director of SSS, Mrs Florence Ikanone and NSCDC boss as well as military personnel were in the town to ensure peace and orderliness.
Voting did not start until after 10 a.m as many natives had fled the town, while those who were around were scared by the heavy security presence.

The apathy displayed by the people of the town, in spite of the heavy presence of various party leaders, was so much that in some wards total votes cast were below 20, especially in Ward 2 Unit 15 where 768 people registered and the total vote cast were 9 with AC having 5, and PDP 4.
The excuse given for that was that most of the voters, who registered in the unit, were students and teachers of Government College, Oye where the polling booth was located.
The election was unique in the sense that the two prominent political parties in the election, AC and PDP, watched each other with eagle eye despite of the presence of security operatives in all the polling booths.

There were controversies in ward 2 as one Segun Ajayi, who was AC’s agent, complained that some people were coming with voter’s cards with blurred photographs, but the presiding officer, Arikwandu Augustine said those who came with blurred pictures were not allowed to vote at the unit.
No fewer than 15 policemen were stationed in each polling station, and no cases of ballot snatching nor stuffing had been reported in the two wards with 36 polling stations.

The leadership of both parties were in the town with the tags of election monitoring agent. The state chairmen of both AC and PDP, Chief Jide Awe and Bola Olu-Ojo respectively were in the town very early.

Former Governor Niyi Adebayo was also accompanied by Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Opeyemi Bamidele, who came in a black Honda CR-V with registration number Lagos LW 766 AAA, to Oye where he (Adebayo) was coordinating the AC agents.
Adebayo and Opeyemi did not leave Ward 1 Unit 9, which Rabiu Garba was the INEC presiding officer until the election was over in the area.