Tension has continued to rise between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party over Saturday’s governorship poll in Osun State.
On Sunday the APC, through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly instructed security agencies to ensure victory for his party by all means.
The APC had in a statement in which it claimed that the PDP was planning to massively rig the governorship election in 10 Local Governments Areas in the state, made veiled reference to Jonathan’s alleged instruction to the security agencies.
When The PUNCH asked him to expatiate on the “reported instruction” by the President, he simply replied, “This is based on credible information we received.”
The APC listed Ife Central, Ife East, Ife North, Ife South, Olurunda Iwo, Ifelodun, Osogbo, Odo Otin and Aiyedade as the LGAs the PDP wanted to win at all costs.
It also claimed that the PDP was seeking a pliable person as a returning officer for the poll.
The APC claimed that three vice-chancellors had been penciled in for the job which would fetch whoever was chosen among them a N1bn compensation.
The party added that President Goodluck Jonathan had reportedly told the security agencies that he wanted victory for the PDP at all costs.
It said, ‘’Nigerians from all walks of life, desirous of a free and fair election on Saturday, are reaching out to us with useful information on the plan by the desperate PDP to rig the forthcoming election. We are taking the information very seriously.
‘‘For example, we learnt that the PDP has identified Ife Central, Ife East, Ife North, Ife South, Olurunda, Iwo, Ifelodun, Osogbo, Odo Otin and Aiyedade as places where they plan to perpetrate massive rigging.”
The party also claimed that two different results have allegedly been written ahead of the elections.
It said, “Three Vice-Chancellors; one from the North Central and two from the South-West have been pencilled in to serve as a returning officer. The incentive for the returning officer who can announce the doctored results is N1bn.’’
The party said when these plans are put together with the massive deployment of security agencies in the state to harass and intimidate the opposition, “the huge amounts of cash being moved into the state via Armoured Personnel Carriers and the electoral malfeasance specialist-ministers who have landed in Osun, it is clear that the PDP is working hard to ensure that the forthcoming election is anything but free, fair and credible.
It therefore called on INEC not to allow any unscrupulous person to serve as a returning officer for the election.
The electoral umpire, according to the APC, should pay a special attention to voting in the 10 identified LGAs.
The APC warned, ‘’No one will accept the result of an election in which the returning officer is compromised with filthy lucre. This is why we are calling on INEC to ensure that only a person of integrity can serve in that important post,’’
It said that its agents would not sign any false results of the August 9 election.
The party also called on the international community to pay attention to the issues that could affect the outcome of the election, instead of waiting until the deed had been done.
‘’The biggest danger to Saturday’s election in Osun is the unbridled desperation of the PDP to win at all costs. This explains why the party’s candidate, Mr. Iyiola Omisore, has lied so shamelessly about a purported USAID survey that puts him ahead of Gov. Rauf Aregbesola. But for USAID which quickly put a lie to the peddled story, Mr. Omisore would have continued to use it as a campaign tool,’’ it said.
Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati could not be reached for comment on the allegation against his boss. Abati is said to be out of the country.
The police however denied that Jonathan had instructed security agencies to ensure the PDP’s victory at all costs.
Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba said, “The burden of proof is always on the person making an allegation. Therefore, if APC actually made such an allegation, they owe Nigerians a sacred duty to prove the allegation.
“For us, our performances in previous elections (Edo, Ondo, Anambra and Ekiti) stand as evidence of our unparalleled professionalism, political neutrality and uncommon commitment to the protection of the democratic rights of Nigerians.
“We remain committed to these ideals and will not be distracted by wild allegations.”
The PDP however dismissed the allegation against it by the APC, saying it did not need to rig to win an election in the state.
Metuh told one of our correspondents that PDP’s attention was on winning the election while APC was focusing on propaganda.
He also dismissed the claim by the APC that it was shopping for a pliable returning officer for the election.
It said, “We are focusing on winning this election. The APC is focusing on propaganda. Twice our candidate(Omisore) stepped down for others, saying that he would wait for God’s time.We know that this is God’s time for him.
“Nigerians are witness to the fact that based on his popularity, Omisore would have become governor in 1999 and 2003 respectively but sacrificed his personal ambition to accept the position of deputy governor out of humility and commitment to the stability of the state.’’