By Richard Akintade, Osogbo
Human Right Groups, Odua Youth Development Initiatives and Virtues Unlimited Restorative Justice Initiative (VURJI) yesterday called for the urgent probe of the September 22 gubernatorial election and 27 re-run governorship poll in Osun over alleged irregularities.
The human right groups also alleged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to manipulate the election result in favor of its candidate.
The activists identified lack of transparency, harassment of observers and Media Men, failure of card readers as some of the incidents marred the exercise declared to have been won by the All Progressive Congress candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.
Speaking at a Colloquium organized by the Oodua Youth Development Initiative and the Virtues Unlimited Restorative Justice Initiative in Osogbo, the Popular musician and founder of Our Mumu don do, Charles Oputa, berated the conduct of some INEC officials, whom he said deliberately worked against the interest of the people of the state.
Oputa further said, there was the need for the probe of the said governorship election in order to forestall incidents of inducements, voters harassment and manipulation of figures which were said to have been recorded during the supplementary election held on the 27th of September.
Reviewing the last gubernatorial election in Osun, Oputa said Nigerians owe it a duty to the next generation to make sure that elections reflect the true wishes of the people and that citizens rise up to resist manipulations by the electoral umpire.
He charged youths in Nigeria to rise up in Defence of true democracy, selfless leadership and natural justice without which no country can truly progress.
Other Speakers at the event include representatives of the Coalition in Defence of Nigeria’s democracy and constitution, Dare Ariyo; Democracy and Good Governance Department of the Justice and Peace Makers Centre, Festus Ojewunmi and Wole Oladapo of the Virtues Restorative Justice Initiative.
Citing various reports of observer groups including the Nigeria Bar Association, Centre for Democracy and Development, UK, US and EU missions, speakers at the colloquium described the Osun governorship election as falling short of standards of credibility and neutrality in an electoral contest.
They called on the judiciary to be above board in handling the various petitions arising from the governorship election in order to retain public confidence in the judicial system as the last hope of the common man.
The colloquium was also attended by leaders of 9 political parties who spoke on the need for the International community to pay closer attention to the 2019 general elections in view of the experiences of the Osun poll.
A representative of the People’s Democratic Party, Dr. Lere Oyewunmi accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC of conniving with the APC to tamper with card readers deployed to many local governments during the election.
He said the card readers were preloaded with accreditation while features that identify the genuineness of voters cards were disabled ahead of the election.
Oyewumi called for public vigilance ahead of the 2019 general elections while also advising political parties to engage well educated and politically motivated persons as Party agents.