The re-deployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Osun State, Rufus Oluwatoyin Akeju to Oyo State has been rejected by a coalition of political parties.
The membership of the political parties protested Akeju’s re-deployment to Oyo at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Parliament Road, Ibadan on Monday.
Under the aegis of Concerned Inter-Party Stakeholders in Oyo State Politics, the placard-carrying politicians representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Accord Party (AP), Labour Party (LP) and others, in their hundreds, stormed the INEC secretariat, chanting anti-Akeju songs.
Some of the placards carried by the protesters read: ‘we don’t want Akeju’, ‘Oyo rejects Akeju’, ‘Akeju na APC man’, ‘Akeju will mar Oyo election’, ‘Akeju must go he’, among others.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the protesters, Moroof Akinwande said the antecedents of the REC informed the protest, saying, “an umpire can’t be partisan; the man, Akeju, has been alleged to be an aide of Tinubu, he is not fit to conduct election in any state in Nigeria.
“He should be kept in the cooler in Abuja headquarters of INEC if the body can’t sack him. Why should he be redeployed to Oyo State when he was asked to step aside in Osun State?
“We are looking for a level-playing field; give us somebody that will guarantee free and fair election, somebody that is alleged to be partisan cannot be said to be agent of free, fair and credible election, that’s what we are saying we want INEC to have a rethink”, he said.
Reacting to the protest, the Oyo State outgoing REC, Nasir Ayilara, described his successor, Akeju, as a man of integrity, who the people of the state should be allowed and supported to do the job assigned to him, noting that the posting was a normal routine.
“It is a normal thing, which is expected of anybody in the system to comply with. The exercise is to protect the integrity of the commission, to ensure that the election is fair, transparent and credible and it is a must to have a sitting REC”, he explained.