The governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has predicted election victory over Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the July 16 gubernatorial election in the state, calling for “blacklisting and sanctioning of election riggers to protect democracy”.
Speaking while receiving a delegation from the United States embassy led by Brandon Hudspeth, Political/Economic Section Chief, at his Ede residence, Adeleke said, “if elections are held today, I will beat Oyetola with wide margins.
“Our people are determined to restore the 2018 stolen mandate. This time around, our margin of victory will be so strong that election riggers will fail in their evil plans. What we advocate and seek support for is free and fair election.”
Senator Adeleke, who decried the growing threat to free and fair election in Africa and Nigeria in particular, urged imposition of crippling sanctions and individual blacklisting of leaders and election candidates who perpetrate election violence and rigging.
“The major threat to survival of democracy in Africa and Nigeria in particular are election rigging and political violence. The electoral process is under threat from merchants of violence and election riggers. They are scared of People’s voice and so they invest only in violence and manipulations. The international community must ensure there is consequence to deter these threats to democracy.
” Incumbents and candidates who sponsor and promote violence and rigging should be blacklisted, sanctioned and have their assets frozen. This is the only way to save democracy from those who are afraid of ballot box. The whole world remembers how I was violently rigged out in 2018. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.
“I am committed to violence free campaign and free and fair election. I will campaign on these major areas namely agriculture reforms for job and wealth creation, financial empowerment for businesses to grow local economy, functional educational reforms targeting skills and entrepreneurship, accessible and affordable health care programmes as well as labour intensive infrastructure policy.
“We have the confidence and mass support of Osun people. If election is held today, I am sure of landslide victory against the incumbent. But we need the diplomatic community to adopt that call for sanction against election riggers. We need deterrents and this has to be comprehensive. This has to be done to save democracy in Africa,” he added.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the American delegation, Mr Hudspeth, said the United States supports democracy and wants it to take strong root in Africa and other parts of the world, assuring that democracy promotion and support is a major plank of American foreign policy.
He said the United States supports her allies in their democratic journey through training and support for electoral institutions and stakeholders.
According to him, they are in Osun State to impress it on the candidates to submit to violence free campaign and free and fair elections, adding ,”This is our message to you and other stakeholders.”
While assuring that the delegation will again visit the state before the governorship election, Hudspeth commended the endorsement of violence free election by Senator Adeleke just as he assured that the messages of the candidate will be conveyed to the Ambassador.
Other members of the delegation include Janine T Lewis (Political Officer), Halima Abubakar (Civil Society and Media Specialist), Sterling Roop (Democracy Officer).
Senator Adeleke’s team who received the delegation include Rev Bunmi Jenyo, Hon Niyi Owolade, Akogun Lere Oyewumi, and Adekunle Adepoju, the Personal Assistant to Senator Adeleke.