•Calls I-G For Security Of AC Witnesses
RENEWING hope that victory is sure at the end of another round of legal battle at the yet-to-be constituted election petitions tribunal as ordered by Court of Appeal that sat over the appeal suit filed by the Osun State Action Congaress (AC) gubernatorial candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola against the declaration of the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the winner of the 2007 governorship election, the former Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure maintained that he has no business with 2011 election in the state.
Addressing a World Press Conference in Lagos, shortly after the five-man panel led by Justice Victor Omage delivered its verdict that the lower tribunal headed by Justice Thomas Damar Naron erred in law to have rejected salient evidences presented by the petitioner in the first place, a situation that led the tribunal that sat in Osogbo, Osun State capital to give its judgment with miscarriage of justice; Aregbesola said that the content of the Justice Omage’s verdict has vindicated him that he was denied the right to fair-hearing in the first place, saying that he would surely reclaim his mandate soon, and begin a fresh four-year term.
“Let me assure my people in Osun State that we have been vindicated and that our evidences, which they (PDP) thought would be rejected, have turned out to be salient evidences that would determine our next journey. So, I am glad to say victory is ours,” reiterated Aregbesola.
The Ijesa-born political master strategist, claded in an all-white traditional ‘aso-Oke’ with abetiaja’ cap to match, was seen bubbling with enthusiasm, while reacting to the judgment at the press conference, noting that with the Omage’s panel’s verdict on Monday, the days of Governor Oyinlola at the Oke-Fia Government House, Osogbo are numbered.
“When we started, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) thought it was a tea-party. When they started engaging the tribunal judges in an illicit affairs via telephone conversations, we caught them off-guard, threw them off-balance, and when the Naron tribunal delivered a ‘cash-and-carry’ judgment, we challenged it with our water-tight evidential proof, and today they (Oyinlola and PDP) are worse-off. Let it be known, that we are more than ready for them this time and they will see us in our true best once again,” Aregbesola asserted.
Speaking on the insecurity of lives and properties in Osun State, the political maestro charged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to provide adequate security for his witnesses at the tribunal, saying that he was aware that Oyinlola and his PDP people were capable of endangering their lives.
According to him, “now that we have to start afresh, the PDP people and the usurper in the Government House must be strategizing on how to kill or maim my witnesses at the new tribunal, because that is their stock-in-trade. I therefore charge the IGP to provide security for them and their properties”.
The founder of Oranmiyan movement further reiterated that by the time he claims his mandate, the political watchers and pundits would have to wait for four years, a situation that may force anyone, wanting to contest for governorship in Osun State to wait till 2013.
Buttressing his points, Aregbesola said that the case of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State was a case-study and that nothing has changed as touching his tenure, if he eventually takes over the mantle of leadership in the state.
“Oyinlola and the PDP cabal that have all along held Osun State by the jugular, are only buying time with the ploy to run away for substantial justice, we shall be dogged in our resolve to fight on, and we will not rest on our oars, until the mandate given us by the good people of our dear state is reclaimed. Be assured that anytime we take over, we will spend our full tenure of four years, before anyone would dream of governorship again,” Aregbesola maintained.
In a related development, the AC standard bearer acknowledged all fallen victims of the 2007 elections, saying that the death of Saheed Olabiyi, from Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Council Area, Ayo Oni, from Igbajo, Boluwaduro Local Government Council Area and others from Ile-Ife, Ilesa and other towns and cities was regrettable, promising that he would strive to ensure that they did not die in vain.
The well-attended press conference had the followings in attendance: Aregbesola ‘s running mate, Mrs Grace Titi-Laoye Tomori, AC Chairman and deputy in Lagos State, Chief Henry Ajomole and Cardinal James Odunmbakun, Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire, some council chairmen, some Special Advisers to Governor Babatunde Fashola and some AC stalwarts from Osun State.
By GOKE BUTIKA