With the declaration of the Osun State Governorship election as inconclusive by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has called on the electorate and all political camps to maintain calm.
“At this critical moment in the electoral process, CDD commends the voting public in Osun state for its very peaceful conduct before and during the election” says Idayat Hassan, CDD Director. “We call on the Osun electorate to continue with its calm and orderly disposition, as INEC works to ensure the electoral process is concluded in line with extant laws and guidelines governing the process”.
CDD also called on all partisan camps to refrain from any form of rhetoric, claims or counter-claims capable of disturbing the peace or undermining public order.
From the results so far released by the electoral umpire, CDD noted that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ademola Adeleke is leading the race with 254,698 votes. He is closely trailed by Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who got 254,345 votes.
The number of votes separating the front-runner and his closest challenger is 354 votes. This number is lower than the total number of registered voters in Polling Units where the election was cancelled due to over voting, ballot snatching and the disappearance of a Presiding Officer. According to INEC, these infractions happened in Orolu, Ife South, Ife North and Osogbo Local Government Areas (LGAs), leading to the cancellation of votes in five polling units with 3, 498 registered voters.
CDD noted that Section 44(n) of the INEC guideline empowers the Commission to declare an election inconclusive where the margin of votes between the two leading candidates is not more than the total number of registered voters of the polling unit(s) where elections are cancelled or not held.
The Section 44(n) states: “where the margin of win between the two leading candidates is not in excess of the total number of registered voters of the polling unit(s) where elections were cancelled or not held, decline to make a return until another poll has taken place in the affected polling unit(s) and the results incorporated into a new form EC 8D and subsequently recorded into form EC 8E for Declaration and Return.” It would be noted that the Commission is empowered by section 153 of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) to “issue regulations, guidelines, or manuals for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Act and for its administration thereof.”
In the light of these developments, CDD called on INEC in concert with the security agencies to thoroughly investigate, and prosecute those responsible for acts, which undermined the electoral process in the affected areas.
“The INEC staffs to be investigated and prosecuted include those involved in the destruction of electoral materials, particularly the staff who tore the Form EC 8A result sheet in one of the Polling Units that was cancelled. Also, other ad-hoc staff that engaged in subverting the electoral process must be made to face the full wrath of the law. This, in our opinion, will enhance the credibility of the process and boost public confidence in the Commission not just in the Osun governorship supplementary elections but the forthcoming 2019 general elections” CDD said.
She stressed that speedy prosecution of those found culpable would not only sanitise the electoral process but would deter future offenders.
“CDD equally called on the electoral umpire to put in place stringent measures to ensure incidents like the case of the Presiding Officer who absconded from his duty post with dire implications for the election, are not repeated in the coming supplementary poll.
“In line with world best practices, CDD call on INEC to make open its results collation processes. Added to this, the Commission should publicly release the material tracking report in the spirit of openness and electoral transparency” Hassan remarked.