Alhaji Ganiyu Olaoluwa is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State. In this Interview with OLAKUNLE TAIWO, he speaks on issues surrounding the August 9 governorship election in the state, among others. Excerpts: HOW would you describe the election in the Osun?
The election we had in Osun was a kangaroo one because it was marred by electoral fraud. I can beat my chest that the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not only rig but also collaborated with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to insult the voting rights of the people of the state. We were able to notice some irregularities and these are being gathered in our attempt to go to the Election Petition Tribunal. To us in the PDP, INEC has only succeeded in conducting the worst election in the history of the country with the Osun election. For the first time, we saw the APC using young girls who are innocent students of Osun secondary schools to cook figures.
The exercise was so fraudulent that the OYES personnel were also coerced into perpetrating electoral mess. Some INEC officials were bought. Imagine NYSC personnel were bribed to sell out. We saw it all. The police did not in anyway help matters at all. Look at the way our members were placed under house arrest and were not allowed to vote. APC hoodlums, armed to the teeth, were at polling centres, chasing away our people and snatching ballot boxes. We have concrete evidence to really substantiate our claims when we get to the Tribunal.
Look at what happened to a whole deputy governor who was arrested in Ward 1 with cash. What was she doing in Ward 1 when she did not belong to that ward? What was her mission there? What was the purpose of the money found on her? We have all our evidences-impeccable facts and figures-to challenge the outcome of the election. We cannot just fold our arms while our future is being stolen. We know what always happens to stolen mandates. When you force figures on the people, some of them somewhere will have to fight back. We will follow the due process of the law and we will ask questions.But despite your claims, there was massive deployment of security personnel to thwart all the sharp practices like ballot box snatching and other things you mentioned. Also, your party controls these security operatives. How come all these things happened?
Why were the police bribed? Why were INEC officials bribed? Who chased away our agents with guns at polling booths? What kept the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) so late to announce the results? Why the delay? Why the hesitation in the announcement, hours after collation had been completed? What roles did the so-called State Boys play before, during and after the election? Who did they humiliate? All these will be tendered at the Tribunal. The electoral injustice shall be contested. In all, I make bold to say that all my life, ours was the worst election in the political history of Osunand we completely dissociate ourselves, that is, the entire PDP family in Osun, from the fraudulent outcome.What is your party’s next line of action, apart from going to the tribunal?
When injustice wants to displace justice, the next thing is not to resort to violence but to ensure that the law takes its course. We cannot pretend that all is well in Osun, with the announcement of the result. We know the election was marred by some lapses and hitches and observers can testify to this. In the PDP, we believe in the laws and constitution of the land. We cannot override the constitution. We are respecters of the law and to this end, we are challenging the fraudulent result in the court of law. Whatever interpretation the court gives to our evidence will be welcomed.
But definitely, we cannot keep quiet in the face of 21st century tyranny. This is our state and we cannot condone day light electoral robbery. We shall pursue the fraud to a logical end. We have contacted our lawyers and preparations are ongoing. We will definitely be ably represented at the Tribunal. We have our facts and figures. Just like it is said in Julius Caesar, “we shall meet at Phillipi.”It was alleged that a particular party gave money to officials of the Department of State Security(DSS)but that the money was rejected. What is your comment on this?
Thank God the DSS is still alive and those who were present at the time the money was taken there are still alive and they are ready to defend their professional ethics, integrity and dignity to the very end. Let us wait until when hearing begins at the tribunal. We should not cry more than the bereaved. We have all our related evidences. They should own up and accept they actually offered the DSS gratification. Why on earth must the DSS be offered anything at all? All they did before, during and after the election was indeed questionable. Money was rolled out in large qunatities. Thanks to the DSS that they rejected the money.
We have some INEC ad-hoc staff and the worst set of people, easily lured with money, were the youth corps members. The APC capitalised on their low income and gave them good money to perpetrate monumental electoral fraud. Let’s just wait. We are coming with facts and figures. We shall meet at the Tribunal.What effects did the defection of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Senator Isiaka Adeleke have on the election?
You cannot force adults to act against their wish. Both Adeleke and Oyinlola are seasoned politicians who know their onions in the world of politics very well. What they did was not a thing of surprise to me at all. The PDP in Osun was not affected by their departure at all. If you study our political terrain now, it is a season of cross-carpeting. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu initially left the PDP and came back. Our brother, Fani Kayode was there, saw them, their excesses and now he is back with us. Senator Ayo Adeseun in Oyo State is back after leaving. The implication of this is that the PDP is the most accommodating of all the parties in Nigeria today.
I want to assure you that many of those who went to the APC have begun coming back to us and many more will still come. Our doors are widely open. As the biggest and largest party in Africa, we are not in the habit of begging.
On Oyinlola, did he deliver his zone? He was unable to deliver his ward. So, how is he politically relevant? Does this really affirm his popularity? And perhaps Oyinlola has quickly forgotten that the slot he made use of years ago to become the governor was Omisore’s slot. Like I said earlier, their cross carpeting had no effect on the election results at all. We did not miss them an inch.Toward 2015 general election: what are the chances of PDP in the state?
We are strategising and we are regrouping. The loss at the poll has never deterred us from planning towards 2015. We are planning towards 2015. We are never discouraged. Our plan is to reaffirm to the whole world that we are in charge. By the time the Tribunal restores our stolen mandate, the true PDP will emerge.