AS the Osun State Election Petition tribunal commences sitting today, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on Sunday, traded words over which party has more chances of success.
The PDP, through its chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle, challenged the state governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola to allow the tribunal freely treat his petition.
The PDP frowned at the request of the APC for relocation of the tribunal sitting to Abuja which was rejected.
“We must hasten to add that our objection to the relocation request was premised on the critical need to protect the integrity and safety of BVAS machines and other materials used during the elections. As the machines are likely to be central to the determination of the petition, keeping them safe here in Osun rather than exposing them to tampering and hacking on transit, is our official position,” the PDP added.
The chairman alleged that the APC flooded the media space with falsified figures and fake news, which showed that it was jittery of defeat.
“We repeat for the sake of all lovers of democracy that all false election graphics being circulated by APC are figments of their imagination. The official results of the July 16 elections remain the authentic results. That victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke is what all defendants are defending as evidenced in their fillings at the Tribunal. We make bold to say that none of the defendants admitted to any electoral error but rather holistically articulated data and facts which authenticated the electoral victory of Senator Adeleke.”
Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Ismail Omipidan, said: “Apart from the fact that we are challenging his eligibility to stand for the election in the first instance, based on academic qualification awarded; we are equally challenging the election results in 749 polling units across 10 Local Governments.”
He said the decision by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to challenge the outcome of the July 16 poll should not be seen as an attempt to impugn the integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The spokesperson expressed confidence in the ability of the members of the Tribunal to do justice in the case before them, noting that the outcome would go a long way in making INEC fill some gaps that might have been noticed ahead of the 2023 general election.
Omipidan said: “Make no mistake, our case is not in any way an attempt to impugn the integrity of INEC. That’s not the motivation. It is to further help deepen our electoral system and to help INEC correct whatever anomalies or gaps that may have been exposed from the conduct of the Osun Governorship Election ahead of 2023 elections.
“Most of the reforms we have today as part of our electoral laws were borne out of the decisions of the court. Our observations may as well be part of the future reforms.”