Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Osun state, Senate President Bukola Saraki has warned the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) against repeating what he called a worrisome and suspicious pattern of votes cancellation.
Saraki who spoke to journalists in Ede on Thursday after the rally held in support of the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, condemned the trend in recent elections where results declared by INEC show a huge number of invalidated votes with a narrow margin with which candidates win. He observed that the trend was evident in the recently held Bauchi National Assembly bye-election and Ekiti State governorship election.
Saraki advised INEC to ensure that the trend does not repeat itself in Saturday’s election.
His words: “There is a pattern that we have seen and we hope that in this election of Osun we will not see that. When you look at the margin of victory between the party that wins and that party that loses, and you look at the amount of cancellation, you tend to see that the difference is almost the same. We are seeing that trend here, we saw it in Bauchi bye- election and to me, there’s something fishy going on.
“And so it’s important in a credible election, there should not be that amount of cancellation. And I think INEC needs to step up. In the 2015 election, we never saw this level of cancellation. This is a new trend that is very disturbing and I hope that in this election INEC will show how credible it is and ensure invalid votes should not be like that. When cancellation is more than the margin of victory, then that election carries a big question mark.”
The Senate President however stated that the people of Osun state have a choice to make between “continuity” and “new path”
“I’m very confident that the people of Osun will do the right thing and vote for Senator Adeleke who will change course of things” he said.
“The choice is very clear between a government that has decided not to pay its workers for three years, the most indebted state in the country, no value, no performance in that area. And they said they have done so well by throwing this state into hardship. And saying people should vote for continuity.
“And if that’s the continuity, I am sure the choice is very clear for the people of Osun to choose between that and the new path, a government that will be more sensitive, that will be more appreciative of the people and that will ensure that it shields them from hardship.
He also warned security agencies to avoid partisanship in the discharge of their duties. He particularly condemned the police for the criminal proceedings instituted against Adeleke which he said was just aimed at creating a bad perception about him in the minds of the voters.
He said: “I have always said that one of the dangers of our democracy is when security agents become partisan. Security agents are meant to be impartial. They are meant to preserve lives and property, and they are constitutionally responsible to all Nigerians.. When security agents begin to take sides and take actions that are very…..perception is the most important thing. It just about the perception of the candidate 48hours before an election. He is at a rally, he has been around and all of a sudden he is being arrested.”