Aregbesola’s Victory Is Fantastic Time For Democracy – APC Member
A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ismael Ahmed, said that the victory of the incumbent governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, in Saturday’s governorship election was a fantastic time for democracy that every progressives across Nigeria, interested in seeing that democracy grows, should cherish.
Ahmed, however, attributed the victory to the fact that the political party prepared well, describing the huge deployment of security personnel as a tactic by the Federal Government to intimidate the electorates.
“It is a thing of concern that movements were restricted. There was over militarisation of the whole state, but I think that after the Ekiti experience people knew they have to stand up to their right.
“There was an attempt to intimidate voters, but the constant calling that we have had on people to make sure that they stay on the message, remain focused and inundated by the intimidation.
“Some of our national leaders were arrested and harassed on the eve of the election,” he claimed, citing some reports received by the party.
As much as he claimed that the presence of security personnel scared the people, he said that there were no signs of direct interference by the security operatives in the places he visited.
“One of the biggest forms of rigging is to make sure that people don’t come out so that other people will get to vote for them. You can never tell how rigging is going to take place.
“We cannot allow this level of harassment and intimidation just because someone wants to exercise his franchise and I think those people who were harassed should take it up in the court of law.
“The election would have gone on just fine without the security personnel,” he said
He said that the presumption that the instruments of rigging – the military, INEC and police – are usually under the Federal Government usually makes opposition parties make claims of rigging when the ruling party wins an election.
“Whenever an opposition party anywhere wins an election against the supposedly instrument of rigging and instruments of coercion then it is said that something had happened which is right.
“It is not as if it is only APC. It is about a very young democracy where the Federal authority can use the instruments under it to rig an election,” the APC member said.
On whether the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had done well, he said: “INEC may have improved but I am yet to see it. I am waiting for the 2015 election to see if it will be different.
I am shocked that the PDP got up to 292,000 votes because I was in Osun in the past six days and I have seen the palpable nerve that was coming out from the people towards the governor. It was something I have never seen before.
“May be PDP was trying to bridge the gap, but the election was more of a referendum about the last three and a half years of Aregbesola and no other consideration was necessary.
“I have seen the kind of emotional communication between the governor and the voters and you can’t fake that, you can’t sub-plant it, you cannot suppress that. It was an absolute show of loyalty to a governor they believe in,” Mr Ahmed reiterated.
He said he could not describe the election as fair because some people were harassed, but admitted that it was free because a lot of people voted freely.