The Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has rejected the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, as the Returning Officer of the July 16 governorship election in the state.
This is just as the party called for the immediate arrest of a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state, Asiri Eniba, for allegedly attacking PDP members in the state.
The party opined that the appointment of Prof Adebowale as State Returning Officer was not appropriate and demanded the appointment of a neutral STO by INEC.
PDP said this at a press conference addressed by the party’s joint legal, media and security committee of the Osun State Governorship Campaign Council on Monday (today).
The press conference was held in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
Speaking on the appointment of Prof. Adebowale as the Returning of the Osun State governorship election, the PDP said, “As much as we have confidence that adherence to the spirit and letters of the Electoral Act will guarantee free and fair election, we reject the appointment of Prof Adebowale as State Returning Officer for the July 16th election on account of partisanship and affiliation with the All Progressive Congress as a party, through the party’s former national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun (the chairman of the governing council and pro-chancellor of the University of Ibadan), the Governor-elect of Ekiti state, Mr Biodun Oyebanji and his membership of alumni association of Ayedaade Grammar School, Ikire of which Osun state deputy governor is a member.
“It is particularly troubling that the Vice-Chancellor was part of Ekiti APC campaign on more than five occasions. He was specifically very close to the family of the Ekiti governor-elect before and during the campaigns.
“It would therefore be unfair to the mantra of free and fair election for such a figure with close affinity to the APC to be appointed State Returning Officer for the July 16 elections. Prof Adebowale is not just an appointee of the Oyegun-led Council. He is clearly a member of the inner circle of APC, going by his recent activities.
“We, therefore, call on the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to urgently withdraw the appointment of Prof Adebowale and appoint a new neutral Returning Officer for the Osun poll. We warn that we will not allow an APC sympathiser to superintend over Osun election as was the case in 2018.”
“We want to bring to the attention of Nigerians and relevant authorities that APC had just test run its agenda to buy upvotes and the electoral outcomes through the recently concluded Ekiti elections. As was documented in Ekiti, Osun APC is plotting a more advanced vote-buying mechanism which has elements of pre-voting and on-the-spot vote purchase.
“Reports from across Osun state in the last two weeks revealed that APC has been collating the PVC details of public servants , teachers and pensioners. The plot is to engage in pre-election vote-buying alongside election day vote purchase.
“We are elated that Osun workers yearning for freedom has refused cooperation despite threats and coercion. We commend the resilience of Osun workers, teachers and pensioners who have rejected attempts to buy them and deny them the right to elect their leaders freely.
“We are, however, using this medium to call on the security and anti-corruption agencies to redouble their efforts towards taming the APC vote-buying agenda. We warn against any attempt to cover up the considerable evidence of vote-buying plots by the APC. Osun is not for sale to political vultures, and it is high time Apc heeded the frank warning from our people”, the PDP added.
Harping on their demand, they said, “We reject the appointment of Prof Adebowale as State Returning Officer and demand the appointment of a neutral STO by INEC.
“We demand sanction against APC for its criminal plot to subvert the electoral process through elaborate vote buying agenda;
“We demand neutrality and fairness among state agencies during the conduct of the forthcoming elections.
“The PDP Governorship Campaign Council has by this press briefing serves notice on all relevant authorities, stakeholders and agencies that peaceful conduct of July 16th election is under threat. The culprit, as usual, is the ruling party, scared of people’s imminent rejection. We want to make it clear that Osun is not Ekiti as our people will lawfully resist all attempts to rob them as was done in 2018″, they concluded.