LAGOS (AA) – The candidate of Nigeria’s opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) has been declared winner in the keenly contested southwest Osun state governorship election, held on Saturday.
“Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest votes is hereby declared winner and is returned elected,” Prof Bamitale Omole, the chief of the returning for the election, announced on Sunday morning after a collation process that lasted through the night.
Aregbesola, the state’s incumbent governor seeking a reelection, won 22 of the 30 local government areas of Osun while his ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rival Iyiola Omisore won in eight others.
The APC candidate polled a total of 394,684 votes against Omisore’s 292,747.
The candidate of the Labor Party Fatai Akinbade got 8,898 votes to emerge a distant third.
Twenty political parties took part in the election which observers, including the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, adjudged to be generally peaceful and orderly.
All polling agents of political parties but the ruling PDP have signed the result sheets, signaling a legal battle ahead of the winner.
The ballot had been preceded by hot exchange of words between the two leading parties – APC and PDP.
There were reports of intimidation of top opposition politicians by hooded secret agents deployed for the election.
Opposition APC alleged that at least 150 of its key leaders were hounded into detention by security agents, especially the Nigerian secret police, also called the Directorate of State Security (DSS).
Leader of the Civil Society Situation Room Festus Okoye said the election was credible, though he cautioned Nigerian authorities against using the success of Osun to gauge the general elections.
“The election was well conducted,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Okoye said the voters in Osun state displayed what he called “exemplary electoral behavior.”
“They understood the processes and the procedure, they conducted themselves peacefully, and they resisted every form of provocation and remained on the queue,” he added.
But Okoye expressed some reservations, especially about overwhelming presence of security forces in the state, although he admitted that security forces had conducted themselves “very professionally.”
“Our only concern that there were some DSS operatives that were hooded; they covered their faces and were going to polling units and so on,” he said.
“And we do not want such a thing in our electoral process. We do not want hooded security agents near any of our polling units. For me, that was a minus for the process,” added the activist.
Okoye suggested that the the success of elections in Osun state should not be used as an indices to measure the success of the 2015 general elections.
“In 2015, 65000 security forces will not be deployed in one state,” he noted.
“In 2015, there won’t be any of the INEC permanent staff that would be deployed to other states to go and conduct elections elsewhere,” he added.
“So I think that we must begin to strategies on how to ensure the success of the 2015 election… because what was available to the INEC and the security forces in these two places will not be available in all the states of the federation.”
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