Otunba Rotimi Paseda reacted to the alleged anomalies of the just concluded local government elections championed by the Ogun State Electoral Umpire OGSIEC last Saturday.
A world press conference was conducted in the presence of notable media houses within and above frontier of the nation where other political parties representatives gathered to discus the alleged misconduct in the election.
The convener of the gathering Otunba Rotimi Paseda expressed his grievances as well as other political opposition party representatives, moreso a need for paradigm shift in the electioneering process in the state was agitated for.
Below is the press statement as being read by Otunba Rotimi Paseda on behalf of the coalition of all opposition parties at the Unity Party Secretariat (UPN)Abeokuta,Ogun State.
MALADIES / LIES OF APC ON OGUN STATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
1. With deep regret, the Ogun State Chapter of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), on behalf of all other opposition parties in Ogun state, hereby expresses our deep displeasure to the anomalies played out during the just concluded Local Government Elections held in the state on the 8th of October, 2016.
2. It is a rape of democracy and disappointing for an agency like Ogun state Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), perceived to be an unbiased umpire in conducting a free and credible election, to have turned itself to a day light ‘robbery agency’.
3. The just concluded Local Government and Council Development Areas elections in the gateway state depicted democratic maladies, whereby the people’s voice and choice are completely shunned to satisfy the interest of some sections of the society.
4. The irregularities demonstrated during the elections, which were widely discredited by the majority of the electorates and concerned stakeholders, led to the demand for an outright cancellation so as to pave way for true manifestation of democracy.
5. This call became imperative following several records of ballot box snatching, stuffing of ballot papers, sporadic gunshots, harassment of the electorates and party agents by security operatives, among many factors of intimidation and discouragement of voters. It is appalling that our candidates and agents could be arrested and detained in police cells across the state during the election period under the instructions of some APC chieftains in the state.
6. For instance in Ososa ward 1, under Legburu LCDA in Odogbolu Local Government, a political thug was apprehended by the Police with fully thumb-printed ballot papers for APC. Till date, nothing meaningful has been said of the high profile infraction.
7. Also in Akute Z.I polling units, under Ifo Local Government area, several cases of electoral violence such as: ballot box snatching, intimidation of our candidates and agents by security operatives were recorded – as a matter of fact, a cameraman was arrested with his camera while his tape was destroyed.
8. In Abeokuta South, the usual collation centre at Centenary Hall, Ake was suddenly changed, unknown to other political parties.
9. To our utmost dismay, all election results in that local government and election results were transferred to the council secretariat of Abeokuta South Local Government for sorting and counting where our party agents were restricted from gaining entry for observation.
10. More so, no opposition agents were allowed to gain entry to the council secretariat where the electoral fraud was perpetrated. Rather, fake agents were appointed for the opposition parties to sign the result sheets secretly.
11. Also in some notable areas in Abeokuta, the state capital, areas like: Itoko, Ijemo, Sodeke, Adatan, Isale-ake, Ilugun, Obantoko, Ita-oshin, Oke-ata, Ijaye, Igbore, Idi-aba, Ojere / Oba zone etc, where statutorily, about four polling units should be provided, only one or two were made available, thus depriving many voters their constitutional rights and creating rooms for maneuverings.
12. With all these electoral frauds and daylight robbery, it is surprising that, OGSIEC could announce results without the signatures of party agents. This raises many questions.
13. Going by the nation’s political precedent and electoral law, any unsigned election result by all parties involved are considered inconclusive or should be declared null and void.
14. In addition, it is on record that about 17 political parties participated in the ‘fraudulent elections but only APC and PDP results were released. What happened to other political parties’ scores?
15. Even the UPN that was alloted two councillorship seats, there was no results to back the allotment.
17. For avoidance of doubt, it is on record that the commission registered 109 councillorship candidates and 20 chairmanship candidates, duly screened and registered by same OGSIEC.
18. What is the faith of democracy in Ogun State and indeed Nigeria, if an ordinary LG elections could not be well conducted by OGSIEC, but were rather marred with a lot of irregularities?
19. Now that OGSIEC has indeed displayed gross incompetence in the conduct of a credible council elections, it is safe to say that the process of appointing members of the commission should be reviewed, where all parties should also be represented to ensure checks and balances, with a view to checkmating the electoral fraud by any government in power. This will however instill some level of confidence in the minds of the electorate and eradicate political apathy.
20. Conclusively, it is obvious that the state electoral body could not conduct a credible poll, we therefore call on the National Assembly to review the section of the constitution that empowers the state governments to conduct LG elections with a view to avoiding a rape of our democracy.
Thank you all for your rapt attention.
Otunba Rotimi Paseda (ORP)
Coalition of All Opposition Parties in Ogun State.