The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday declared the Osun state governorship election inconclusive, citing irregularities during the exercise.
The returning officer, Joseph Afuwape, announced this at the head office of the commission in Osogbo, the state capital.
He said the margin between Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Isiaka Oyetola, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was not significant enough to declare a winner.
The PDP candidate polled 254,698 votes while the APC flagbearer had 254,345, leaving a gap of 353 votes.
Afuwape said the date for a rerun would be announced in due time.
Meanwhile, INEC has announced Thursday September 27 as the new date for a rerun of the inconclusive Osun State governorship election.
The re-run election will pitch Sen. Adeleke against Oyetola and will hold only in the seven polling units where results were cancelled.
Meanwhile, the undeclared winner of Osun governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has expressed profound appreciation and gratitude to Osun electorate for their kind support in yesterday election.
In a statement he signed yesterday, Senator Adeleke said the widespread support he garnered across the state humbled him, declaring that he was honoured to have won considerable votes across all local governments of the state.
“I sent my appreciation through this medium to Osun voters who found me worthy of their votes. Your votes humbled me and further strengthened my resolve to truly serve our people.
“Despite all the blackmails and persecution, you stood by me, you voted for me and you defended your votes. You adopted me as the rallying point of the redemption movement. Words cannot express the depth of my appreciation,” Adeleke said.
“We will get to the promised land. It started well and it will end in praise to our dear God. Let us rededicate ourselves to the struggle. You have proven that with determination, the most powerful tyrant can be forced to submit to the will of the people. I appreciate you all,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki has faulted the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the result of the Osun State governorship election was inconclusive.
In a statement issued by him on Sunday, he said INEC’s decision was wrong because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled.
The electoral body had earlier explained that the reason for the decision was because the number of cancelled votes were higher than the margin between the two top candidates.
The Peoples Democratic Party candidate Ademola Adeleke led the race with 254,698 votes, 353 votes more than his closest rival, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress.
The margin was, however, less than the 3,498 votes in the polling units where voting was cancelled and consequently INEC declared the result inconclusive – a development which Saraki was displeased with.
He said, “In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled.
“The decision of INEC to cancel the election in those areas after voting had taken place means INEC had already excluded the votes in these areas from the election process and therefore those units should have no place in the overall results.
“My opinion would have been different if the election in the affected units did not take place at all, may be as a result of malfunctioning of the card reader machine or unavailability of the electoral materials.
“Since the voting took place and was cancelled, only the courts could reverse the initial decision by INEC to cancel the votes in these areas”.
He, therefore, called on the PDP to seek legal redress, saying that he wondered if INEC would have taken such a decision if the APC had been the one taking the lead.
The Senate President also asked INEC to “display courage, boldness, independence, neutrality and patriotism so as to send signals to the world at large that the Nigerian electoral system has come of age and that our democracy has matured”.
According to him, the way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from the nation’s political process.
He, therefore, asked the electoral body to ensure that the wishes of the electorate eventually prevail.
He also praised supporters of the PDP, as well as Senator Adeleke, urging them to remain focused and determined.
“I praise the dedication and hard work of PDP supporters and the candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke. They have remained steadfast, resilient, focused and determined.
“Our party is ahead, despite the irregularities. Our people must remain resilient to see this through to the finish. Now is the time to re-strategize, reach out to all the other candidates and their supporters, build on our lead, and bring this election home.
“Our supporters and the entire people of Osun State should remain calm and maintain peace as we move forward to see the successful completion of the electoral process.
“Once again, I thank all supporters of the PDP and the people of Osun State who stayed up all night, both physically and on social media to monitor the numbers and protect our votes. We remain undeterred, and we all remain determined to ensure that Senator Ademola Adeleke becomes the next Governor of Osun State”, Saraki stated.