By Tunde Oyekola in Osogbo
Governor Rauf Aregbesola has described Friday’s verdict of the Election Petitions Tribunal, which awarded him victory, as the triumph of the will and wishes of the people.
Aregbesola said in a sane society, his opponent in the August 9, 2014 governorship election would not even approach the election tribunal because there was no redress to be sought in the first place.
“It is pertinent to state here that ab initio, those who went to the tribunal knew that the petition lacked any substance whatsoever. It is a share waste of the time of the judiciary. And they knew!
“One is appalled by the fact that a candidate who knew that the entire state rejected him and the political party he represents; performed abysmally in the build-up to the election, during the election and compounded his woes by failing to meet up with the required deadline set by the rule of the court, would be taunting us with any fake victory.
Aregbesola, in the statement made available by his media aide, Semiu Okanlawon, congratulated the people of Osun on the victory, saying it is a confirmation of their dogged desire for good governance as demonstrated by the four years of the first term of his administration.
“We must salute the courage of our people that in the face of overwhelming intimidation, harassment of unimaginable proportion, they stood by their government and ensured re-election. This is a further affirmation of the fact that any government that makes the people the centre of its policies will always find the people solidly behind it,” he said.
After about seven and a half hours, the tribunal declared Senator Iyiola Omisore’s petition as lacking merit.
The three.member panel re-confirmed the re-election of Governor Aregbesola.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had pronounced Aregbesola winner of the election by scoring lawful votes of 374, 684 against the People Democratic Party candidate, Senator Omisore’s 292, 747.
Omisore had challenged Aregbesola’s declaration as winner before the three-man tribunal led by Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime.
In the judgement read by Justice Ikpejime, the tribunal had dismissed Omisore’s petition.
It also held that the petitioners failed woefully to prove most of the allegations raised in their petition before the tribunal.
Specifically, the tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove that voters were not properly accredited by INEC officials before voting.
On the allegation that unaccredited voters were allowed to vote during the election while those duelly accredited were not allowed top vote, the tribunal also held that the petitioner failed to prove this allegation.
The tribunal also said that on the allegation of multiple voting, the allegation can only be proved by the inspection of ballot papers used adding that the tribunal does not discover any multiple vote in any of the units in dispute.
The petitioners had also alleged intimidation and inducement of voters at polling centers to which the tribunal stated that throughout the proceedings of the petition, nobody proved that they were not allowed to vote on account of intimidation and harassment.