From Tade Oludayo
The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, and a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Lai Olurode, have advised politicians against being bad losers and to purge themselves of what they called ‘electoral illiteracy.’
They spoke during the presentation of certificates of return to the winners of the March 28 National Assembly and Governorship election, at the Banquet Hall of the Premier Hotel, Ibadan, on Friday.
In a short remark after collecting his certificate of return, the governor cautioned politicians against taking electoral loss with bitterness, stressing that electoral process must produce winners and losers as in every contest.
Dedicating his victory to God and the people of the state, Ajimobi acknowledged how thousands of voters defied inclement weather condition by trooping out to exercise their franchise during the general election.
Gov. Ajimobi invited other governorship candidates to join him in his quest to further develop Oyo State, noting that the combination of attributes possessed by each candidates would be useful for the development of the state.
The governor insisted that the people of the state spoke unequivocally with their votes for the All Progressives Congress in the last general election, which he said was exemplified in the APC winning in four out of the five zones of the state.
In the presidential election, the governor said that the people of the state gave APC 528,620 as against 303, 376 polled by the party’s closest challenger, the Peoples Democratic Party, giving Oyo State the largest figure declared for the president-elect in the whole of the South-West
He added that the ruling party in the state also improved tremendously from six House of Representatives seat and no senator before the 2015 election, by winning the three Senate seats and 12 House of Representatives slots out of the 14 slots available in the March 28 election.
In the House of Assembly elections, he said that the APC got 18 seats, while the party’s closest challenger got eight, which the governor said indicated that the party’s victory in the general election was God-given, total, unequivocal and absolute.
Earlier in his address the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Oyo, Ogun, and Ekiti State, Olurode, deplored the antics of politicians whom he accused of seeking to profit from where they did not labour.
Absolving INEC of complicity in any loss recorded by candidates that contested past and present elections, especially from the 2011 to date, he said it was worrisome that some politicians and elite could denigrate the electoral umpire for their predicament.
Olurode said, “In Oyo State, the hue and cry that greeted the posting of Ambassador Rufus Akeju as the Resident Electoral Commissioner to Oyo State must have come from politicians who abhor free and fair election.
“We cannot continue like this in this country by disrespecting insititutions. We can’t build institutions like this. Nobody in INEC is pregnant with elections. The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, is not pregnant with votes.
“There is high level of electoral illiteracy in this country. That is why a governor will openly say at a public forum that I (Olurode) should be removed. That is tantamount to electoral illiteracy. We in INEC cannot subvert the will of the people. We don’t have powers to change anything. We allow the people to speak with their votes and we respect their choices. They might in the process, unfortunately, make wrong choices, but that is their choice.”
The National Commissioner said that it was worrisome that the country was still being confronted by physical and institutional threats stymieing the electioneering in the country; which he listed as political parties, the elite, lack of voter education, and the role of the court.
To sanitise the country’s electoral process, he said it was necessary for all those found culpable of electoral offences in the just-concluded election must be brought to justice, adding that high-profile people should also not be allowed to go scot-free.