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•Oyetola: we’re vindicated

•He was attacked, says Adeleke

There was tension in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, yesterday as members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) clashed over an alleged plot by the PDP to buy up Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of Thursday’s governorship election rerun in four council areas.

The police are holding a PDP stalwart, Fatai Oyedele, popularly known as Diekola. He was said to have led some leaders of his party to Ward 5, Unit 17 in Alekuwodo to buy up cards, but the PDP said he was canvassing for votes.

Agents and leaders of the APC and the PDP were in the area to woo would-be voters, an eyewitness said, adding that there was a misunderstanding that led to a clash.

The incident could not be confirmed from the Police as the cell phone of the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Command, Folashade Odoro, was switched off.

But APC Spokesman Kunle Oyatomi denied that the party’s supporters were involved in any clash. Oyedele was caught in possession of 62 PVCs, he claimed.

Oyatomi said: “There was nothing like thugs attacking anybody. That is absolute nonsense.  We don’t have thugs. He was caught with PVCs and  the Civil Defence officials arrested him.”

The Director, Media and Publicity, Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Mr. Olawale Rasheed, said that not only was Oyedele attacked by the “APC thugs, also scores of supporters of the PDP in the areas where the rerun election will be held on Thursday were attacked”.

Rasheed called on security agents to forestall further attempts to attack the PDP leaders and supporters to stop the party from winning Thursday’s rerun.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday declared Saturday’s governorship election inconclusive due to irregularities.

The commission announced Thursday for the rerun

The PDP and the APC are the top contenders in the election.

The APC candidate Gboyega Oyetola has said the arrest of the PDP chieftain has confirmed the general opinion that PDP was out to subvert the will of the people.

The Oyetola Campaign Organisation, in a statement in Osogbo, alleged that the PDP chieftain and two other officials led thugs to the controversial polling unit in Ward 5 Osogbo, an action that led to the cancellation of the election in the ward. The result, it said, was rejected due to the difference between the result and the card reader’s record.

The statement reads: “We are vindicated today that the security agents finally nabbed  one of the PDP  vote buying and selling dealers, who has been the Harrowhead of procurement and commodification of Permanent Voters Card (PVC). We had expressed concern to the security agents about the violent posture of the PDP and the way they were monetising votes before and during the last Saturday election.

“Despite the commitment of President Muhammad Buhari and Governor Rauf Aregbesola to ensuring that the election is peaceful and devoid of any violence, the same set of people arrested have been attacking APC members in Osogbo, the state capital and openly distributing money even on the eve of election.”

The organisation claimed that on Saturday night, the PDP chiefs invaded a coalition centre in Ward 5 Osogbo and forced the APC and other party agents to sign a doctored result that was later rejected at the local government coalition centre. “This singular action substantially contributed to the inclusiveness of the election that will cost the INEC, Security agents and political party a lot of resources,” it said.

“To us, APC government as acknowledged by the local and international observers has provided a level playing ground for the free, fear and transparent election in Osun and peoples must not allow to subvert the popular will of the people.”

“ As a candidate in this election, we wish to state clearly that the arrest of Diekola is one out of PDP  hundreds agents and dealers  purchasing  voters card in all the affected units in Ife South, Ife North, Orolu and Osogbo local governments.”

“While we commend the police for the arrest, we urg them and other security agents to be on alert to prevent individuals who are hell bent on subverting the will of the people, and demand that the police must investigate Diekola thoroughly and prosecute any individual connected to the criminality, no matter how highly placed in the society.”

“This election is about the future of the state and no matter any interest , the popular wish of the majority must be protected; the choice of the people must emerge, that is the very essence of democracy.”

PDP spokesman Diran Odeyemi denied that Diekola collected voter cards. He said the PDP chief had gone to the area to seek votes for the party’s candidate when thugs descended on him.

“Let the police show proof that he was arrested with the cards”, he said, adding that the action was to intimidate PDP supporters.


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