The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) governorship candidate in Osun State, Sen Ademola Adeleke, has rejected the appointment of the vice chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, as the returning officer for the July 16 governorship election in the state.
Speaking at a press conference in Osogbo, on Monday, the Chairman, Legal Committee of Senator Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Niyi Owolade, said the party rejected the returning officer because of his partisanship and affiliation with the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
According to Owolade, Adebowale is an APC appointee under the Chief John Oyegun-led Governing Council of the institution.
“It would therefore be unfair to the mantra of free and fair election for such a figure with close affinity to the APC to be appointed State returning officer for the July 16 elections.
“Prof Adebowale is not just an appointee of Oyegun-led Council, he is clearly a member of the inner circle of APC going by his recent activities,” he said.
Owolade further explained that the rejection of Adebowale was based on the premise that the returning officer has been “part of Ekiti APC campaign on more than five occasions.”
“It is particularly troubling that the vice chancellor was part of Ekiti APC campaign on more than five occasions. He was specifically very close to the family of the Ekiti governor-elect before and during the campaigns.
“We therefore call on the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu to urgently withdraw the appointment of Prof Adebowale and appoint a new neutral returning officer for Osun poll. We warn that we will not allow an APC sympathiser to superintend over the Osun election as was the case in 2018,” he added.
Adeleke not prepared for guber poll- Osun APC chairman
Reacting to the Adeleke’s claims, the APC Chairman in Osun State, Gboyega Famodun, described the allegations against the returning officer as baseless.
The chairman, in a statement issued on Monday evening, described the PDP candidate’s position as a joke and urged the public to disregard the allegations.
He expressed confidence that Governor Adeboyega Oyetola would be re-elected as the state governor in the July 16 governorship election.
“The PDP’ and its candidate’s position is not new. They are used to it.
“It is an indication that they are not prepared for the governorship election in Osun State as any serious political organisation won’t object to that kind of arrangement. It is like a sinking person desperately looking for a straw to hold on to.
“They should better engage in ventures that will portray them as a serious entity. This their current posture gives them out as jokers. It would be recalled that similar hostility towards the then Osun REC was also displayed by this set of jokers in 2014.
“Also in 2018, the same PDP kicked against the then REC, Mr Segun Agbaje to the extent that the INEC commissioner vowed that he would quit if the then Osun elections were found to be fraudulent. At the end of the day, the Supreme Court vindicated us,” Famodun said.