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.
Saraki, in a statement Sunday, 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 has frowned at.
“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,” he said.
“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”, adding that the way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from the nation’s political process.
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.”