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The world awaits judicial verdict on Osun election - Pro-Democracy Group

By Ariyo Dare

Notwithstanding the assumption of office by the newly sworn in governor of Osun state, a pro-democracy pressure group says the international community, observers and concerned Nigerians are eagerly awaiting the verdict of the judiciary at the election petition tribunal.

The election adjudged to have been massively rigged in favour the new man in Osun state, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, was widely and unanimously condemned by local and international observers, as well the civil society and pro-democracy groups.

“We witnessed what appeared to be incidents of interference and intimidation of voters and heard reports of harassment of party monitors, journalists and domestic observers,” US Consul-General John Bray, who spoke on behalf of the missions, told journalists after the controversial Rerun on September 27, 2018.

The pressure group, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) said the election popularly presumed to have been won by Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the first ballot on September 22, 2018 will further test the ability of the judiciary to justice to our electoral process.

In a statement issued by the the Convener, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, the civil society organisation said "neutrality in an atmosphere of injustice is a sin and repugnant to natural justice," while cautioning the country against allowing the "electoral travesty,' that happened in Osun to stand.

"We cannot afford to sit on the fence and watch the truth perpetually caged as reflected in the popular choice made by the good people of Osun State on September 22, 2018, but which was obstructed on September 27, 2018, following a rerun contrived and foisted on Osun people by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

"We are aware that the election was won at the first ballot on September 22 by the facts available to us, INEC, observers and media houses who did some realtime computation of the results, and that is why we will continue to challenge INEC to make available, the results collated via its tested electronic platforms.

"The onus is now on the judiciary as the last man safeguards, standing in between democracy and anarchy, to as a matter fairness do justice in this matter to strengthened the confidence of the people in the electoral process and make elections rigging a worthless venture.

"We are aware that the foreign observers, the embassies, the international community and the people of Nigerians are very much eager to read the verdict of the election petition tribunal, which is capable of restoring the dignity of our electoral process and making the ultimate choice of the people to count," the statement said.

The group also recounted the courageous reports turned in by several observer groups, and commended their resoluteness in condemning the outcome of the Rerun as a sham election that cannot stand the test of time and survive judicial furnace.

In its report, a popular observer group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, YIAGA said “APC agents and party representatives identified supporters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to political thugs who attacked and beat the PDP supportersand blocked them from accessing the Polling Unit.”

Also, the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, said: "In the light of these anti-democratic acts, which have undermined the sanctity of the ballot therefore, we hold strongly the view that the re-run poll of Thursday, September 27, 2018 does not meet up with the minimum standards for free, fair and credible elections."

However, CDNDC has urged the people of Osun state to "remain steadfast and pray for the judiciary," and not to be deceived by whatever antics the new governor will be pulling, while also calling on the election tribunal to expedite action and dispense justice because within stipulated time.