A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) councillorship candidate in last Saturday’s rerun in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, Afolabi Jimoh, has confessed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate won in his ward.
Jimoh, who contested the Shawo Southwest Offa seat, had been declared the winner by the State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC).
He however said KWSIEC was in error to have declared him the winner.
The young politician said though he remained a loyal member of the PDP, but being a Muslim and a faithful Offa indigene, he would not claim the victory he did not win.
He said: “I remain the authentic candidate of the PDP for Shawo Southwest Ward. I make bold to say that in all the eight polling units in my ward, the PDP lost that day.
“As a son of this great town, I believe that in all that we do, we should know that we are going to account for them. I’m this wise. I am not going to be a part to getting what is not mine from anybody.
“In all the eight polling units in my ward (Shawo Southwest) the PDP lost, while the APC won convincingly in all the polling units in the rerun on August 31, 2013. I know well that the town stands for equity and justice. I know that we shall give account of all our actions on this earth one day.
“On that day, there will be no influence from anybody: be it an Oba, a governor, a leader, an elder, a father or mother. You will be left alone with your deeds. In this wise, I have resolved not be a partaker of getting what is not mine from anybody: in Offa, Kwara State and Nigeria. As a native of this town, I don’t wish my town a bad thing. If something like this continues to happen and we decide to cover it up for one reason or the other, if not now, in the future we will account for everything.
“It is very good for us to call a spade a spade anywhere we see it. By doing this, you are helping yourself and others. In the interest of peace and justice in Offa and Kwara State, KWSIEC should release the authentic results of last Saturday’s local government poll in Offa.
“The people of Offa have said that they don’t want the PDP. It is clear that Offa people want the APC. The election is a test for both the APC and the PDP. It was a test for the PDP people to correct the wrongs they have been doing, which made the people to hate them. For the APC that won, it should check itself and examine what it has been doing that makes it acceptable in Offa.”
Jimoh’s confession puts a large dent in the credibility of the election results the KWSIEC announced on the state radio.
The commission has been accused of declaring the PDP, which won only one of the 12 wards in the local government, as the winner of the poll.
The APC chairmanship candidate, Saheed Popoola, yesterday said the announcement of the PDP candidate as the winner was laughable, unjust and dangerous to democracy.
Addressing reporters in Offa, Popoola urged well-meaning Nigerians, including President Jonathan, the IGP and Prof Jega to prevail on KWSIEC to upturn its injustice.
He said the authentic results, which were obtained from the collation centres, be declared in the interest of peace, justice and progress.
Popoola said: “The people of Offa Local Government, last Saturday, unequivocally decided that I, Saheed Popoola of the APC, is their choice. This choice must be respected, and we stand before God and man to declare that we stand by this choice.
“We are going to do everything possible within the ambit of the law to retrieve this mandate and exercise it to the benefit of the people of Offa. We shall not rest or tire until the people’s choice is sworn in.”
Popoola said the party had petitioned Radio Kwara for breaking the National Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC’s) code.
He said: “Already, we have petitioned Radio Kwara for breaking NBC’s rules. The guideline is here on the conduct of the announcement of result of election. Also, we have petitioned the INEC over the conduct of the KWSIEC officials, who have turned themselves to be agents of the PDP. We could not identify the difference between KWSIEC and the PDP. We discovered that Dr Uthman Ajidagba is a card-carrying member of the PDP. We have petitioned them. Already, we are in the Court of Appeal.
“There was a case that was going on before the election and there was a ruling last Friday. We are already in the Court of Appeal. By the grace of God, we are going to send them out of that place.
“I want to assure you that the long arm of the law will chase them out. We will use all legal means to flush them out of that place. The place does not belong to them; it belongs to us, the APC.”
The APC candidate stressed that the election result sheets were duly signed by presiding officers appointed by KWASIEC and security operatives.
According to him, the results from polling units were also collated at the 12 wards.
Popoola noted that given the final result, the APC won in 11 of the 12 wards and in the entire local government.
“Our party polled 11,337 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, who got 4,710,” he said.
“It was discovered that the Returning Officer, who is statutorily empowered to collate and declare results at the council’s collation centre, absconded. No officer of KWASIEC was available to offer an explanation on this.”
A huge crowd of APC supporters and other residents attended the media briefing.
The APC urged President Jonathan, IGP Abubakar and Prof Jega to prevail on KWSIEC to release the authentic result of the rerun.
The APC noted that the electoral subversion by KWSIEC was a threat to democracy, which gives the people the right to vote and be voted for.
The presiding officer for Unit 006 (Shawo Central), Akin Oyetunji, corroborated Jimoh’s confession.
Oyetunji said: “We accredited 227 people (at the unit) and 206 of them voted. Of the 206, the APC had 130 votes and the PDP had 73 for the chairmanship. For councillorship, the APC had 152 and the PDP 57 votes. I can say it anywhere that in that polling unit, the APC won the election. I don’t fear anybody than Almighty Allah. I’ll say the truth even if it is bitter.”
Some placard-carrying students at the briefing called for the immediate release of the authentic results.
The National President of the Offa Students’ Union, Wasiu Afolabi, urged President Jonathan to wade into the matter to avoid “what is happening in Egypt and Syria”.
He added: “We know that the state government is not known to stand for the truth.”
A former member of the House of Assembly Saka Raji said KWSIEC has cheated the people of Offa.
The former Minority Leader said: “The election was free and fair, as testified to by the security agents. The community has been robbed. KWSIEC Chairman, Dr Ajidagba, needs to be investigated for wanting Offa to go up in flames.
“The state government is flouting the norms of democracy. It is a disgrace to the nation. The PDP government in Kwara State has disgraced the whole world. The PDP has robbed APC of its legitimate right.”