The Social Democratic Party in Ekiti State on Monday adjourned the party’s meeting till Tuesday following inconclusive deliberations on whether to approach election petitions tribunal or not.
The Director of Media, Segun Oni Campaign Organisation of the SDP, Jackson Adebayo, said the party leadership met at Ifaki Ekiti but had adjourned the meeting till Tuesday.
The SDP, which came second in Saturday’s governorship election in the state, said it was still collating reports from all the political units across the state on the election.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday morning declared the All Progressives Congress candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, winner of the election and governor-elect having scored the highest number of votes and met the requirements of law.
Adebayo said, “It will be at the end of the meeting which will be held on Tuesday that the party leadership will take a position. For now, the party is still collating reports from the different units, wards and local that the party can take a decision.
“ The legal team of the party will look at the reports, but everything boils down to the decision of the principal, the SDP governorship candidate, Chief Segun Oni, on whether we will challenge the result.”
Meanwhile, the state governor, Kayode Fayemi, alongside the governor-elect, Chairman of the Campaign Council for Ekiti, Gov Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state and other party chieftains on Monday visited the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at the Presidential Villa.
In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled ‘President Buhari receives Ekiti Gov-Elect, says things getting better with APC,’ the President was quoted as saying that he keenly followed the election and was delighted with the orderly conduct, and the way the electorate and security agencies comported themselves.
“I loved how the APC governors mobilised and supported you. I think the party is very lucky, and things are getting better. I congratulate the Chairman, and I pray you sustain it,” he said.
In his capacity as Chairman of the Campaign Council for Ekiti, Badaru congratulated Buhari on the successful outing, saying; “Your unending effort to reposition the party is paying off. If we combine the votes of the candidates that came second and third, our candidate still beat them by a wide margin. APC is being daily endeared to Nigerians. Our gratitude goes to you, Mr President.”
The governor-elect, while appreciating the President, said the election was a referendum on the party, “and a clear, positive signal to the election in Osun, and the National one next year. APC is still the party of choice.”
Shortly after, in a closed door meeting, the same entourage met with the National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
The meeting, which was held at the Abuja residence of the party chairman, lasted for a couple of hours and at the end of the roundtable, no official statement was released by the Ekiti delegation or the APC chairman.
The PUNCH reports that allegations of vote-buying and inducement trailed Oyebanji’s victory with the PDP accusing the ruling APC of weaponising poverty to disrupt the country’s electoral process.
But he governor-elect said, “I will speak for myself. I canvassed for votes, I had a manifesto that I unveiled to Ekiti people and I canvassed based on that manifesto. I’m a part of a that has done so well.
“The last time I was here, I said that if performance is an indicator for electoral success, we have nothing to fear. So, as far as we are concerned in APC, we were not involved in vote buying, but we have done so well and we have a manifesto that pleases our people.”
On his part, the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Adamu said, “I have noticed that over the last maybe four or five general elections in this country, this issue of vote buying has taken centre stage. Some of you who are asking this particular question did not go to Ekiti. Somebody who is losing the election flew a kite saying ‘Oh no, they are buying votes and all the kind of money they have we don’t have, that’s why I’m losing,’ and you are helping to market that opinion?”
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State University Alumni Association on Monday congratulated Oyebanji, an alumnus, on his victory, saying it was good for the development and advancement of the university with Oyebanji being the first EKSU alumnus to rule the state.