The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Gboyega Oyetola, the winner of the Osun governorship election.
INEC declared Oyetola the winner of the poll after the supplementary election held in seven polling units in the state on Thursday.
Oyetola had trailed the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ademola Adeleke, by 353 votes going into the supplementary election.
His votes from Thursday were however enough to help him overturn the deficit and be returned as winner of the keenly contested governorship election.
The final votes announced by the electoral body shows that Oyetola got 255,505 votes, while Adeleke secured 255,023 votes.
Consequently, the Returning Officer, Professor Joseph Fuwape, declared Oyetola the winner of the election.
The Osun governorship race had opened smoothly on Saturday, September 22, carrying with it the tag of being a crucial election and having a long list of candidates – 48 in all.
Beyond that, it is the biggest poll to take place before the 2019 general elections and many consider it as much a major test for INEC as it is for the parties that have hopes of changing the political landscape.
An early start to the election and a good turnout of voters did not prevent the election from dragging, however, with the supplementary poll being the decider.
By Sunday evening, INEC had declared the poll inconclusive after the margin between the two top candidates was lower than the number of voters in polling units were election did not hold or were cancelled.
Consequently, the electoral body fixed Thursday for supplementary election in seven polling units with 3,498 registered voters.
Adeleke and his party, the PDP, were irked by the decision, stressing that he ought to have been declared the winner of the poll on account of his lead.
To ensure victory in the supplementary election, the APC and the PDP made efforts to secure the support Senator Iyiola Omisore, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, who had the third highest number of votes.
Omisore opted to support Oyetola and the APC on Wednesday.
The buildup to the supplementary election itself was more heated than the situation on Saturday with more arrests and allegations and counter allegations.
Before midday on Thursday, INEC had already shown concerns about some of the reports from the field.
Reports of arrests, intimidation and the prevention of election observers from gaining access to polling units were among the first incidents.
Gunshots will later force voters in Osogbo to scamper for safety before returning to continue voting.
After voting ended, later in the day, the United States, European Union and United Kingdom missions in Nigeria also said there were disturbing observations.
It was not all smooth sailing at the INEC collation centre in Osogbo either.
At the start of the collation for the supplementary election, the Returning Officer had read out the votes each candidates got from the collation of results done on Sunday.
He informed party agents, observers and journalists present that the results announced on Sunday will be recorded into a new form after which the supplementary election results will be collated, added and a winner announced.
The PDP agent, Deji Adeleke, however, raised an objection, asking INEC officials to double-check the initial figures in order to avoid recording errors, especially in Osogbo.
He said the expectation was that the results from Saturday would have been double-checked with regard to some of the issues his party pointed out on Sunday.
He added that “it would be unfair” if contested figures (from Aiyedaade and other places) were recorded as the foundation for the exercise. The PDP believes 1,000 votes were deducted from its actual votes from Aiyedaade.
His position was countered by some other party agents.
The returning officer, however, told the PDP agent that his observations on Sunday had been noted that that day.
The supplementary election results were then collated as follows:
Unit 17 Ataoja ward 5
Units 1&4 ward A
IFE SOUTH LGA:
Unit 12 ward 7
IFE NORTH LGA:
Unit 02 ward 10
At the end of the day, Oyetola got the votes needed to win.