Election continues on Sunday in Osun Assembly rerun

Adeyinka Aremu and Yinka Salaam in Ife

A rerun poll in Ife Central State Constituency of Osun continues today, Sunday as the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the Saturday election inconclusive.

The seat of Ife Central at the Osun State House of Assembly became vacant following the death of the Assembly Minority Mr. Dejo Makinde in December, 2015 after a brief illness.

The Returning Officer, Mr. Francis Oladimeji said,“election in two polling units were cancelled. That is Agbedegbe S  treet, Moore Ojaja Unit 02 and Moore Ojaja.

The number of accredited voters in the two units is 872 and the margin between the first two candidates is 710 by our record. Following the regulation, where the number of cancelled votes is more than the margin between the two leading candidates, we cannot announce the winner.”

He said the commission resolved that elections in those cancelled units be conducted on Sunday between 8am and 2pm.

The election results collated so far shows that PDP leads with 5428, Accord Party places second with 4721 while APC polled 4448.

Meanwhile, seven people were arrested on Saturday for allegedly attempting to disrupt the rerun poll for Ife Central State Constituency of Osun State.

The suspects, it was learned, attempted to snatch ballot boxes in Moore and Ilare quarters, but were stopped by police patrol teams

While the election witnessed a very low turn out, many participants and observers commended the electoral body for timely arrival of election materials in many polling units.

Securing arrangement was also commended as heavy security presence was noticed in strategic places. Combined security patrols of military and policemen were visible on streets to maintain law and order.

A winner is expected to emerge at the end of today but a run off is not being ruled out if no candidate scores theminimum number of required votes.

Low turn out

Meanwhile, political parties in the Ife Central House of bye election, expressed concerns on the low turn out of voters in the election, even though the candidates representing the three main parties, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of electoral officers and security agents.

They are Prince Tilewa Sijuade of All Progressives Congress, APC; Chief Dipo Eluwole of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Olusegun Ayodele Fanibe representing Accord Party.

The election to fill the vacant seat in the state House of Assembly followed the death of a PDP member, Oladejo Makinde.

Visits to many polling units showed that voters did not turn up for the election as electoral officers were seen waiting for voters till 9.00a.m.

Some of the places visited were Ajebamidele Falaju Bus Stop, Unit 12, INEC, Open Space, Mayfair Junction, Iremo 11, Unit 01A and B, New Garage as well as  Iremo/Ajebaamidele Unit 001.

Commenting on the poor turn out, former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Osun State, Prince Sikiru Ayedun said only core party men and some interested people usually voted in bye elections.

He said the turn out was poor because of some people’s belief that their votes may not count after all.

A former Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Sports and Special Needs, Biyi Odunlade also complained about the turnout. He nevertheless commended INEC for creating an enabling environment for the electorate to exercise their rights.

According to him, the early arrival of electoral officers at the polling centers helped the process in no small way.

Candidate of the Accord Party, Mr Fanibe expressed confidence in winning the election, saying “something is about to change in Ile-Ife as people were determined to choose instead of allowing political giants to choose for them.”

On his own part, the PDP candidate, Eluwole, lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission for the measures put in place to ensure adequate distribution of electoral materials.

He however complained about security agents.

“Though they are patrolling, we don’t feel their presence in some polling units especially in my unit, Akodi Faloyin unit 09, there is no presence of security but no violence has been recorded,” he said.

In his assessment, the candidate of the APC, Prince Sijuwade expressed satisfaction in the conduct of the election, maintaining that his party had left no stone unturned to ensure success in the election.

In the same vein, the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps(NSCDC) Mr Olusola Ayodele, commended the exercise, describing it as “peaceful”.