By Inalade Rinawdabe
The other day, I found myself at a joint in town, Osogbo. As usual, gist at topmost voice level was part of eating pepper soup of whatever make and washing it down with green or brown bottles, or still liquors. The topic I met them discussing was the legal matter concerning the governorship contest in Osun. Each time I feel like checking out the pulse of the town, I go to joints like this where I will be like others and be free to make contributions like them. The contributions often comes in rancorous manner for obvious reasons. You will only be able to make impact if you strike the right cord in the start of your contribution and be able to present your point with additional ingredients that keep everybody listening limitlessly. The discussion was at the point where the floor holder was trying to paint the horrible picture of the effect of having a governor whose qualifications is enmeshed in controversy.
He vowed that not one of his children will be allowed to find him/herself in such ridiculous circumstance. He said his lack of education was due to poverty in his family and none availability of any educated person within his family and environment. He wondered how a son of a Senator will not be educated. To worsen matters, how can it take somebody from that type of family 30 years before he would remember to write WAEC which he ran away from ab initio?
The man’s conclusion is instructive and far beyond what you may easily ascribe to him. According to him, it will be a disaster for the 21st century Osun with its abundant educated elites, classy and high number of higher institutions to be ruled by a person without no known academic qualification, who even the least he claimed is carrying the taint of an alleged forgery. He submitted that it will portend a high moral burden for anybody to condemn growing kids who refused to attend school. “Ojo ola ilu yi koni dara ki Demola Onijo je Gomina”…..the future of Osun will be in jeopardy if Demola the dancer becomes governor. He concluded with a prayer that God will not allow the Supreme Court judges be misled to put Osun in perpetual jeopardy.
The next contributor has different topic to articulate. Apparently a diehard APC man, he said he was not happy, and he was really annoyed with the total election figure been bandied around by PDP. He said he was yet to get clue as to where they got the figure of over 24,000 votes more in the governorship election in just two local governments of Ede-North and South. Someone else interjected that the two local governments of Ede North and south were his home town. The ongoing contributor got angrier as he snapped and blurted out the fact that the figure was a product of manipulation, chicanery and intimidation. He alleged that the figure is not real, genuine or true as there were only about 5,000 difference in the just concluded general elections. He said a critical analysis of available information showed that members of other parties, especially the APC were not allowed to come near the polling booths except those they cannot stop, that majority of the members of Ede traditional institution and some INEC official in collaboration with the a well-known political family heavily compromised the electoral process.
He furiously disclosed, and that is without much fact, that a member of that family known to be very rich pumped several billions into vote buying retorting that PDP is not on the ground in Osun. The evidence he gave was the result of the 2019 national and state assembly elections. According to him, (well known facts to all who followed the electoral process) the APC WON two Senate seats and lost the third one so marginally, won six out of nine House of Representatives seat and won twenty three (23) out of twenty six (26) seats. PDP won only three. In his opinion, something sinister must have happened in the governor election held three months earlier wherein PDP ran neck to neck with APC in terms of figures. He derisively wondered how Adeleke the dancer would run government with negligible minority in the House of Assembly.
He hardly concluded when another contributor said they should hear him out on the fact that people should not forget that APC contributed to how PDP was able to get that far. Speaking in an heavily laden Ijesha tongue, he made listeners to view and reason on the fact that APC did not manage its affairs well in the run up to that election as it was divided with some of its members joining another political party, the ADP. He also noted that disgruntled elements remaining within its fold also worked against the APC interest as they took money from Adeleke and voted severally for the PDP.
This contributor was stopped in his track by another and there was almost going to be hullaballoo before some others intervened and brought back normalcy. The mild drama established one thing, majority of those at that joint were supporters of APC, but not necessarily members. They seem to follow political events within the parties as they are almost accurate on facts of APC matters.
It was on this point that the next contributor, in a seemingly fit of anger, said “if it is not rigging, where will PDP get such number of votes?” In 2014, APC defeated PDP and Senator Iyiola Omisore, its most consummate candidate with over 100,000 votes in the governorship election. APC won all the available three Senate seats, eight out of the nine House of Representatives seats and all 26 assembly seats in the 2015 general election. PDP’s loss, as it is clear in 2015 was monumental and abysmal, he said.
So, how did the PDP get its figure that it was in competition for winning the 2018 governorship election? He noted that the PDP did not even go into the election a united party with the fraudulent and controversial primary election which they conducted with its debilitating legal consequences. The aftermath of the PDP’S manipulated primary was court action by not less than five of their own. The eligibility case is one of such and it is still being fought as we speak, the contributor contended.
To some of the listeners, it was a surprise to them that the eligibility case was not instituted by APC. I felt inspired, at that point to say fraud and forgery case, concerning his distorted certificate record is another one and it was instituted yet by a PDP man. Yet another contributor corrected that it was the APC that instituted the fraud and forgery case. Another contributor suddenly interjected. He noted that in serious terms, PDP has not won any election in Osun since the beginning of the present dispensation.
The 2003 episode he said was described by observers as the greatest electoral heist ever recorded in history. He quickly added that PDP did the worst in 2007 whereby the election was manipulated in such ugly manner that big jest was made of Osun amongst civilized community. He revealed that it was one ridiculous situation whereby PDP lost in all major towns and yet manipulated the result to say it won the overall election. Nothing could be farther from the truth than that assumption.
Then another clear APC supporter raised his voice to curse PDP for its alleged fraudulent ways. His contention was that a government that performed so well and appreciated by the people who enjoyed dividends of democracy couldn’t have lost election the way the PDP has manipulated it. He quickly referred to the accolades in various sectors poured on the Aregbesola led APC government, integral part of which Oyetola was, saying APC touched lives as in great contrast to the failed Jonathan led PDP federal government.
Then, an urbane young man, sounding averagely educated came in to the talk about what he called the essence of the electoral case itself.
According to him, what the PDP tried to follow in the case amounts to chasing the shadow. The PDP, he said wants the judges to believe that the Returning Officer cancelled election in the seven polling units where re-run took place, hence that Adeleke won straight on September 22, 2019. That there was no need for the declaration of re-run. But the issue is that election did not hold at all in the seven units. Even by the PDP’s own admission, election did not hold. PDP had said in its petition that the elections were cancelled in the seven units due to disruptions in the two Orolu units; malfunctioning of card readers in two units in Ife-South; over voting in units in two unit of Ife-North; and no voting in the units in Osogbo LG. By law, INEC guideline, any logic or rationality, the question to ask is, when the aforementioned were the cases, as stated by the PDP, how could there have been result that were cancelled in the seven polling units? It is of interest to note that PDP did not present any result so cancelled to the tribunal, yet they claimed, fraudulently that the returning officer cancelled results.
Meanwhile, the guy contended that another issue that the PDP intended to play on but in which they failed woefully is the matter of violence and vote buying which it was highly guilty of in the electoral process of September 22, 2018. However, the futility of its efforts along this line is contained in the controversial and unpopular Justice Obiorah Tribunal’s majority judgment as contained on page 218 which stated that “In summary, there was no credible evidence before us to establish the allegation of corrupt practices and violence during the re-run election in Osun state on September 27, 2018. We so hold”
He spoke of yet another issue by PDP about non-compliant with electoral guideline in some 38 polling units across the state in the September 22, 2018 election. PDP had contended that INEC violated its rules by not entering required information in the collation form as necessary. PDP, the man said was asked to proof how the non-entering of those information affected the result which is the ultimate. PDP failed to establish this golden fact. There was no discrepancy in the electoral scores by all of the parties in the INEC document as the numbers of votes garnered tallied with what could be found in all other sources the results are obtainable.
The only difference was that the said information which are about the number of registered voters, the number of votes cast and sundry were on the INEC copy while they are not in the copies hurriedly given to all impatient stakeholders on election day. It is funny, our friend submitted that the absentee Justice Obiorah (He shaved people’s head in their absence….he gave judgment on a case he did not preside over to hear evidences of facts and law. In rationality and law, this is unacceptable) majority judgment found only 18 of the pleaded 38 polling units suitable for its judgment. This mostly ridiculed the judgment and make a mockery of the judiciary’s arbiter role and the judicial parlance of the “court is no father Christmas that it shall not give what was not asked”. Justice Obiorah gave PDP what it did not asked for, it helped PDP to formulate issues not contained in its petition.
The Obiorah judgment did mathematical abracadabra with the 18 polling units he chose, make deductions and additions and arrived at a score which gave leverage to the un-educated PDP candidate, and pronto declared him winner. This is even against the Electoral Law. The Appeal court did not mince words or waste time in dismissing this misnomer in its judgment as it described it as aberration.
Ruminating over his contentions on the governorship electoral case, it is like the guy has been a keen follower of the case as it develops and has a grasped of the facts and law surrounding it. No one in that environment listening to him was of any doubt why the Appeal court reversed the miscarriage of justice that was perpetrated by the Justice Obiorah’s tribunal majority judgment. By assessment of their disposition, it is clear that the judgment from the Supreme Court will not be different to that of the Appeal Court, since there would be no fresh evidence to be led or pleadings taking, no fresh examination or cross examination before their Lordships.
The facts and the Law will speak for itself. And with all intents and purposes, the APC and Oyetola are favoured.
Inalade Rinawdabe is a Social and Political Analyst and writes from Osogbo.
Opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer and does not in any reflect that of the CityMirrorNews.
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