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Elections becoming less free and fair under PMB… Reactions to Osun Election




MANY Nigerians and foreigners alike have criticised the just concluded Osun State governorship election which was controversially won by the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Adegboyega Oyetola was declared the winner of the election and was returned elected by Joseph Fuwape, Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), who served as the returning officer.

A supplementary poll had been held on Thursday after the actual election on September 22, 2018, was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Unlike what obtained on Saturday, here the exercise had been smooth, Thursday’s rerun as characterises with the alleged irregularities and violence.

Both local and international observers criticised the process, as there were several reports high-handedness and harassment by security agencies or thugs.

Though the election has been won and lost, many have expressed worry at how Ekiti and Osun states have so far been conducted.

Writing on Twitter, Mathew T. Page, a US author and diplomat who has been in Nigeria for more than a decade, said: “If I were the international community, I would be having some very frank conversations with PMB (President Muhammadu Buhari) and Co. about how Ekiti and Osun were red flags for 2019. Nigeria’s elections have become less credible on PMB’s watch and ultimately the buck stops with him.”

Similarly, the Director of African Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Judd Devermont, tweeted that “there is going to be a lot of heated debate and finger-pointing over APC’s razor-thin in Osun State”.

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Also, a group known as “The Situation Room”, made up of a coalition of civil society organisations, noted that Thursday’s Osun rerun election “derogates from the recent gains made in our election process”.

“The lapses in the Osun rerun elections have put a serious question mark on the electoral process and raises concerns about the forthcoming 2019 Nigeria general election,” the group wrote in a statement on Friday.

Many others blamed INEC for not improving on the noticeable lapses in previous elections and thereby eroding public trust ahead of 2019.

“INEC might have very well nailed its coffin by the embarrassment Osun has become. This is a self-inflicted wound that will forever tarnish this INEC and destroy faith in the upcoming election. Really sad!” a Twitter user, Udo Ilo wrote.

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