Fayose: Democracy On Trial In Ondo State, INEC Has Merged With APC
At the early hours of today, information came in that the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof Kayode Soremekun, who was the INEC Returning Officer in the recently concluded Edo State governorship election that is still a subject of litigation, will also serve as the Returning Officer for the Ondo State election.
The questions that came to my mind were; is Prof Kayode Soremekun the only Vice Chancellor in Nigeria? Is FUOYE the only federal university in Nigeria? Is Ekiti the only State where INEC can find Returning Officers? Definitely, INEC is up to a sinister game on the Ondo State election and it is obvious that the electoral commission is working with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This belief was further made manifest by the response of Prof Soremekun to a SMS and a call, saying that he was only being used as decoy by INEC.
This was further corroborated by the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, who said on television that identities of those to be used as Returning Officers are being kept secret. Obviously, it is clear beyond any doubt that INEC is only trying to make a volte-face, after its sinister motive of using the same people it used to rig the Edo State election was exposed. Electoral process should an open book that anyone can read.
Sadly, less than 24 hours to the Ondo State election, INEC is telling Nigerians and the entire world that identities of those to serve as Returning Officers are being kept secret. Why should those that will conduct election be hidden from Nigerians? Is election now a secret affair?
The sad reality confronting the electoral process in Nigeria today is that apart from the APC, other political parties are now contesting elections against INEC. It is clear that the Returning Officers already have fake results that they will announce to Nigerians as they did in Edo State.
Evidently, democracy in Nigeria has suffered a serious setback and it will take the insistence and resistance of the people of Ondo State for their votes to count tomorrow.
Furthermore, to sustain the planned rigging, names of some judges seen as trusted enough to give the APC favourable judgment have been compiled to be used as members of the Election Petition Tribunal.
In other words, the election tribunal has been constituted even before the election is held. I therefore urge the people of Ondo State to be extremely vigilant. When they go out tomorrow to cast their votes, they must stand by their votes.
They must follow their votes from the polling stations to the ward collation centres, local government collation centres and the State collation centre. My dear people of Ondo State, if they tell you to leave the State collation centre at any time that collation will be suspended as they did in Edo State, resist it.
Stay awake all night on Saturday till final result is announced. INEC must be reminded that is has a duty to Nigerians and not APC. The people of Ondo State must be the one to elect their own governor, not INEC.
Therefore, tomorrow’s election must be free, fair and credible. Nigerians must remember there is no alternative to democracy, we must salvage it together.
Ayodele Fayose Governor,
Ekiti State November 25, 2016