ABEOKUTA – A group, under the aegis – ‘The INTELLECTS’, advancing good governance in Ogun State, has petitioned the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu to withdraw Certificate of Return (CoR) given to Gov. Dapo Abiodun and order for the re-run of election in the state.
Th group had earlier called on INEC to review the result of the just-concluded governorship election in the state, stressing that the election did not produce a winner yet, while accusing the state Returning Officer, Prof. Kayode Adebowale of subverting the will of the people by declaring Dapo Abiodun as the winner of the election.
In a petition made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, by the Group Coordinator and the Secretary, Comrade (Dr.) Daniel A. Alani and Comrade Idowu A. Banji, urged INEC to immediately withdraw CoR from Gov. Abiodun, as the governorship election is inconclusive by all standards.
The group hinged its petition on the claim that the state is the home of great Intellects, and it’s more concerned about the progress and development of the Gateway state, calling for reversal of declaration of the APC as the winner of governorship election held on the Saturday, March 18, 2023.
The Coordinator, implored INEC to adhere with the Electoral Act 2022 by declaring the election inconclusive and ordering a rerun election in affected LGAs where; electoral violence occured, inability of BVAS machines to work in some polling units and INEC cancelled votes.
His words, “It is very clear and unambiguous that once the margin between the first two leading candidates is less than the cancelled votes or where elections were not held as a result of violence or INEC fault, by BVAS malfunction, the electoral umpire should declare such election inconclusive.
“So, a later date should be announced for a re-run election in such areas before a winner could be declared, now, why now the Returning Officer, Prof. Kayode Adebowale went ahead to declare Abiodun as a winner of the election?
“While we commend INEC on the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the Result Viewing Portal (IREV) which have largely improved electoral conduct in the country, we make bold to say that the election in Ogun State, despite being marred with all forms of electoral malpractices, did not produce a winner, in accordance with the Electoral Act.
“As clearly observed, INEC flippantly went ahead to announce a winner rather than declaring it inconclusive, as the margin between the top two leading candidates is far lesser than the total number of cancelled votes in some areas.
“In this case, the difference between Governor Dapo Abiodun of the APC who polled 276,295 and the 262,383 votes polled by Ladi Adebutu of the PDP was only 13,912, with cancelled votes amounting to 33,750.
“The Electoral Act 2022 is clear on what should be done in such circumstance. We hereby refer INEC to the article in our supreme Electoral Act which states that, “Where the difference between the winner and the loser is less than cancelled vote, the results should be inconclusive.”
The group coordinator stated further that, “This particular case is purely fraudulent one, and INEC need to do the needful rather than taking steps that attract an avoidable litigation and put the commission in bad light.
“On this note, we enjoin INEC to embrace justice by withdrawing the Certificate of Return in the Ogun guber election until a re-run election is declared and conducted”, Alani noted.
The group hinted the INEC in its petition that the Returning Officer of INEC in Ogun State, Prof. Kayode Adebowale who is the Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan should be arrested and prosecuted for contravening the Electoral Act 2022 and his heinous crime against democracy.
The group called on INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu to immediately suspend the Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Niyi Ijalaye, demanding for an administrative panel to be set up by INEC headquarters to investigate him.