Ambassador Rufus Akeju, Resident Electoral Commission of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Osun State, incites contradictory passions in stalwarts of the two political parties he is expected to referee in the state.
Whereas the Peoples Democratic Party sees him as the devil incarnate and an election rigger, the All Progressives Congress tout him as Saint Joseph.
These sentiments came to the fore following his recent reposting to Osun State he had been yanked away on the eve of the last governorship election in the state, which the PDP opposes and the APC approves.
PDP Director of Media and Strategy in Osun Diran Odeyemi, said this in a statement in Osogbo it was curious that the REC who conducted the election, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, was changed to allow Akeju to return as the Osun REC.
The opposition party said that with the return of Akeju, the All Progressives Congress would now have unhindered access to falsify the election materials used for the poll.
“We are alarmed by the return of Ambassador Rufus Akeju to office as the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State at this moment, when there are fears about the safety of both used and unused materials for the last governorship election.
“It is evident that, having failed to illegally gain entrance into INEC premises to doctor materials used for the poll when the former REC, who conducted the poll was in office, the coast may be getting clearer for the APC to eventually perfect the fraud it perpetrated during the last governorship poll.
“Akeju has done enough damage, returning him now, will no doubt, give both INEC and APC out as allies working towards perfecting electoral fraud in the state.”
However, the APC debunked the allegation of attempting to falsify election materials levelled against it by the PDP.
APC Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy Osun Kunle Oyatomi, said his party won the election in a transparent way and would not need to perpetrate any fraud to defend its victory at the tribunal.
“The APC does not need to doctor any result whatsoever. The people of Osun have spoken loudly that Aregbesola is their governor and should continue to be.
“What doctoring does the APC need? When the PDP called for the removal of Akeju, we were confident that our association and pact with the people of Osun would not let us down. We do not need anybody in INEC.”
Meanwhile, INEC has invited the PDP and the APC to carry out the inspection of electoral materials used for the conduct of the August 9 governorship election in Osun State.
A letter the Administrative Secretary of INEC in the state, Oladapo Oladipo, read in part: “The commission has fixed the 9th day of September for both parties ( PDP and APC) to simultaneously commence inspection of all election materials for the Osun governorship election held on the 9th day of August 2014 by 10:am prompt at the commission’s premises in Osogbo INEC headquarters Km 4 Gbongan/Ibadan Road, Osogbo.
“Both parties are by this notice advised to attend the inspection unfailingly as the commission will release all the materials for inspection on the date stated above.”