Trouble is not yet over for the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Oyo State, Ambassador Rufus Akeju on his posting to the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as political stakeholders from the state storm Abuja to press for his re-deployment to other state.
The stakeholders led by Dr. James Adesokan Ojebode, a chieftain patron of Oyo State Elders Council in a chat with newsmen said they were in Abuja to hold brief with officials of INEC on the need for re-deployment of Akeju to other state on alleged doubtful integrity of the REC.
Ojebode along with six other elders from Oyo said the case of Akeju is peculiar in INEC because a court in Osun State had found him guilty of hub-nubbing with the opposition party, while an appeal court in Ondo State equally upheld the judgment by the lower court.
He said it was rather the court that advised that the REC be returned to the INEC Headquarters from Osun State where he had worked, amid allegations of doubtful integrity trailing his operations in INEC.
He said, “We are in Abuja to confer with the officials of INEC on this issue because we in Oyo state will not have Akeju preside over the February election owing to the general suspicion of the electorate on his posting.
“He had once been returned to the INEC Headquarters based on protest by the PDP in Osun State and the people in Oyo state felt that he should be allowed to remain at the Headquarters if his services are such important to INEC. His coming to Oyo has raised a lot of suspicion on the intent of INEC on the coming elections and that is what we are trying to douse.
“In the event that we failed to convince INEC, our next port of call would be the Presidential Villa to table our concern to the government. Mr President has promised free and fair elections in February and we believe all of us have been working hard to ensure just that. There should be no Akeju in our state to truncate democratic principles”.
Before the close of last year, some members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Accord Party, Labour Party (LP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) had staged a peaceful protest to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oyo State, all demanding the reposting of the REC just posted to the state.
Akeju became the REC in Oyo state when the INEC earlier announced the redeployment of the 37 RECs in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja in a letter marked INEC/SEC/402/VOLIII/312.
While Akeju was posted from Osun to Oyo State, the former REC in Oyo State, Alhaji Nasir Ayilara, was posted to Niger State.