Following the insinuations that greeted the absence of about 11 Peoples Democratic Party governors at the inauguration of the Osun State governorship election campaign council on Wednesday, the party has explained why the governors were absent.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, told one of our correspondents in an interview on the issue that many of the governors were outside the country and could not make it to the event. He faulted reports that the governors boycotted the inauguration.
Ologunagba said, “The governors sent in their apologies that they were not able to come; a lot of them were outside the country. The governors of Oyo and Sokoto states were outside the country and because of the exigency of the time, they could not attend.
“It will be a mixed characterisation to say they boycotted the event; there was no boycott. We are a party that is united and we are doing our things together.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Taiwo Adisa, noted that the governor could not attend because he was out of the country.
“The governor is out of the country to attend an Agribusiness Investment Forum in Israel,” he added.
Also, one of the aides of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Kabiru Aliyu, told Saturday PUNCH that the governor was in Germany and could not attend the event.
He faulted claims that Tambuwal’s absence was due to some disagreements in the party.
Aliyu, who is the Special Adviser to the governor on Sustainable Development Goals, said, “What happened in the party is a minor disagreement, as everyone wants to benefit from the process, but I can assure you that everything is gradually coming to a logical conclusion.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission says 1,955,657 registered voters will participate in the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, noted at a roundtable media executives dialogue on Friday in Osogbo that 15 political parties would participate in the election, scheduled to hold in all the 30 local government areas.
He called for a credible and fair reportage of the election as he promised that the election would be credible.
He added, “We are meeting the media today because they are critical stakeholders in the electoral process. We appeal to the media to do proper investigations during the election before publishing any report. Breaking news is good but fact-checking is also important for the right information to be sent out. We have the power to do what is right and we will put everything in place to do that.”
Okoye said INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, would be in the state between July 3 and 7 to oversee preparations for the election, adding that mock exercise and accreditation with BVAS would be done during the period.
At the event, Okoye also appealed to journalists to expose the individuals and political parties involved in vote-buying during the election.
He added, “We had interactions with different security agencies in relation to vote-buying, since it is a big issue that was flagged during the Ekiti election. We are going back to the drawing board with the security agencies so they can increase the tempo of their surveillance and increase the robust nature of their presence.
“But I think the media should play a bigger role in naming and shaming those who are buying votes. Let the media play the role.”