ELECTORAL VICTORY – SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, HIS EXCELLENCY, RAUF AREGBESOLA
DEMOCRATIC VICTORY OVER THE TYRANNY OF POWER
After an unnecessarily tense, tortuous and even traumatic process, the Independent National Electoral Commission this morning declared me as the winner of the Osun state governorship election on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC). On behalf of my party, we are delighted to claim victory for our hard work, focus and dedication in this election. I thank the Almighty God for our triumph at the polls, against all odds.
To the good people of Osun State goes our unflinching gratitude. We salute your steadfastness, courage, loyalty, commitment and fierce determination to defend your sovereign rights and the integrity of our nascent democracy. You have demonstrated in this election that in a democracy, power truly belongs to the people. I am humbled and honoured by your trust and abiding faith in me and my party. I pledge that your confidence in us shall never be betrayed or taken for granted.
Ordinarily, this should be a moment of joy and celebration consequent upon the hard earned triumph of the people’s will. However, this election shows that democracy is still gravely endangered in Nigeria. We witnessed gross abuse of power and, of due process before, during, and even after the actual voting process. It is so sad and unfortunate that what should be a normal, routine process was maliciously allowed to snowball in to a needless virtual war by the Federal Government and the PDP.
Osun state was unduly militarized in an unprecedented manner through criminal intimidation and psychological assault on our people. This election witnessed an abuse of our security agencies and amounted to a corruption of their professional ethics and integrity.
The security agencies were unprofessionally utilized in Osun state to harass, intimidate and oppress the people whose taxes are used to pay their salaries and provide their arms. Hundreds of leaders, supporters, sympathizers and agents of our party were arrested and detained. Also, hundreds of other innocent citizens including women and the aged were harassed, brutalized and traumatized. In spite of this condemnable repression and abuse of human rights, the unflagging spirit of our people triumphed.
Our victory is due to the steadfastness and resolute determination of our people to assert and defend their rights. The PDP obviously did all it could in a most desperate manner to steal the people’s mandate. A critical analysis of the elections shows a trend of general low voter turnout largely because of the atmosphere of deliberate tyranny and fear caused by the excessive militarization of the state. Despite our victory, it is pertinent to condemn and also point out the fact that the number of accredited voters in most local governments was less than half of registered voters. Against this trend, it is curious that the bulk of the PDP candidate’s votes came from only four Local Governments- namely Ife Central, Ife East, Ife North and Ife South. This suggests an inexplicable large turnout in his stronghold which is a curious departure from the general trend of voting across the state.
The outcome of this election, once again, shows the unswerving determination of our people to ensure that democracy triumphs in Nigeria. We have sent a strong signal to all and sundry that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people. This should always strengthen our resolve to ensure that as from now on, every vote must not only be counted but must count in this country. Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belongs.
Let me assure the good people of Osun state that I appreciate that this victory is a reward for our hard work and commitment to the welfare of our people. I promise that we shall not rest on our oars but shall be spurred to work even harder with all well meaning people of the State of Osun and the generality of Nigerians to continue to enjoy your trust and support. You can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in our continued effort to transform Osun into a land of progress, prosperity and peace for all with renewed fervour. I realize that this victory and the challenges we went through is a call to greater service and sustained commitment to our people. I pledge a rededication of myself to the service of our people and the strengthening of democratic values in Osun and Nigeria generally. Our country remains in political bondage and we must set her free.