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Oyo LG polls: Anxiety as opposition intensifies call for fresh election

The dust raised by the outcome of the April 27, 2024, local government elections in Oyo State is yet to settle as some opposition parties…

The dust raised by the outcome of the April 27, 2024, local government elections in Oyo State is yet to settle as some opposition parties and other stakeholders have continued to criticise the process.

There is anxiety as more actors and stakeholders have continued to demand for an outright cancellation of the exercise and a fresh poll is conducted.

Some stakeholders have described the outcome of the election as a charade which should not stand, while others said it must be tested in the law courts.

However, the PDP has asked the opposition parties to accept defeat and work with the ruling party to develop the state.

Drawn from 6,390 polling units, over 2.3 million voters registered for the election. However, observers say there was serious voter apathy, especially compared to the voters’ turnout during the 2023 general elections.

Recall that the local government elections held in the 33 local government areas of the state on April 27, 2024, recorded a landslide victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite recorded cases of irregularities, voter apathy and violence.

But the  state governor, Seyi Makinde, described the election as free, fair and peaceful.

Pressure for fresh poll

But the APC spokesman, Wale Sadare, has called for the cancellation of the polls and the conduct of a fresh poll which he said should be transparent, free, fair and credible.

The state chairman of the AAC, Kayode Babayomi, has also made the same demand, saying the electoral process was marred by widespread irregularities, violence and intimidation, hence, it should be cancelled.

“We call for the immediate cancellation of the charade; the fraudulent activity supervised by OYSIEC and that a new date for a free, fair and transparent electoral process be set,” he said.

A former Senate leader and 2023 governorship candidate of the APC in the state, Senator Teslim Folarin, also described the election as “a monumental fraud, charade and civilian coup.”

Similarly, Senator Sharafadeen Alli, of the APC, decried cases of late arrival of electoral materials in some parts of the state, adding that there were lots of abnormalities that characterised the election.

A former minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, in an interview, said he and several others were disenfranchised after travelling down to Saki for the election.

But an APC stalwart in the state, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), said the APC was defeated because only Teslim Folarin’s faction of the party went into the election.

However, the deputy national chairman (South) of the PDP has called on the opposition candidates who lost at the polls to accept the outcome in good faith and join hands with PDP-led government for sustained development in the state.

It’s a threat to democracy – Analyst

But reacting in a phone interview with Daily Trust last night, a political analyst, Aminu Yakudima, said the trend where the ruling party in the state wins all seats in a local government election is a threat to democracy.

He said, “This is not a welcome development. It means bastardising democracy. It is also a way of undermining the process of the election itself.

“Unfortunately every party, no exception, when it becomes the ruling party in the state, connives with the electoral officials and writes results before elections are held. We don’t call that election; we call it a charade.

“They do whatever they want to do and then come back and announce what they agreed in their rooms, in their offices, in their homes; they announce them officially. So they are undermining democracy, they are undermining legitimacy.

“It is retrogressive, it is unfortunate, and it is not development at all. It is bringing us backwards, it is retarding democracy, and it is harmful.”

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