Senate President Bukola Saraki says the supplementary governorship election in Osun state is an embarrassment to Nigeria’s democracy.
Some observers have faulted the credibility of the election which was marred by violence.
In a statement issued by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesman, Saraki said the rerun was an avenue for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to commit electoral fraud.
He accused the ruling party of subverting the will of people through widespread intimidation and violence, urging the people of the state to be of good cheer because their “victory will not be denied”.
“Yesterday, we witnessed another display of the subversion of the will of the Osun people during the re-run gubernatorial elections in the State. The election was characterised by widespread voter intimidation, violence and harassment. Accredited observers were denied access to polling units and duly registered voters were prevented from participating in the electoral process by thugs and compromised security agents,” the statement read.
“Like I said a few days ago, this needless re-run election was only designed as an avenue for the ruling party to perpetrate electoral fraud. The nature of these elections is an embarrassment to our democracy and casts an alarming pall on the institutions responsible for protecting the will of the Nigerian people as stated through their votes. That was why for more than ten hours the INEC could not collate and announce results in just seven polling units with just over 2000 votes.
“It is surprising that the election in which on Saturday, the two leading candidates were running neck-to-neck with the PDP candidate having an edge, four days later, as a result of manipulations and impossible conditions, the APC candidate is now being credited with all the votes and some paltry number of votes were being recorded for the PDP candidate.”
The senate president called for the intervention of the international community, saying the progress made in conducting elections in the country must not be reversed.
He said if nothing is done, the 2019 general election would be conducted in a similar manner.
“It is important for Nigerians and the international community to insist that the hands of the clock should not be turned back in terms of the achievements we recorded in the last general elections. We should not make a mockery of democracy by conducting elections in the manner that the Osun Polls were conducted,” he said.
“The Osun election is a clear indication of how the 2019 election will be conducted. It demonstrates that if we cannot conduct free, peaceful and fair elections in seven polling units spread across four local government areas of a state, then the conduct of the general elections in 774 local government areas across 36 states of the country is already endangered.
“I therefore call on the government, INEC, security agencies and development partners to ensure a radical change in the way and manner the next set of elections will be conducted. Osun 2018 Polls is a very low point in our electoral system.
“In the 2015 elections, Nigeria witnessed several gains in its electoral process. The process was transparent and people’s votes counted. These gains made it possible for the then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win at the centre and in many states of the nation. That election highlighted a fine moment in Nigeria’s democracy.
“It is disheartening that the major beneficiaries of those credible processes are now the ones subverting the basic principles of our democracy in every way possible.” (The Cable)