The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, has debunked insinuations that a deal involving money and political concessions were made with Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to support the party during the governorship rerun election in Osun state.
Oshiomhole, while addressing newsmen on Friday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, said the people of Osun made their free choice by voting the APC candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, at the election.
The APC Chairman added that the ruling party had some agreements with Omisore which bothered on policies and the welfare of the people of the state but certainly did not give him money as was being speculated in some quarters.
His words: “I said we had a negotiation and had a deal that has to do with the governance of Osun State. I didn’t go with money and I don’t have money to give to anybody. He didn’t ask, and there was no basis for him to ask.
“The word automatic ticket has meaning. Having regards to the provisions of electoral act which makes primary mandatory, can you at the same time talk of automatic ticket?
“Even when I spoke to our National Assembly members, it is not that I don’t know that the word exists, but I simply didn’t find it useful and never used it.
“We agreed that he will have an opportunity for him to contest for a seat on APC platform. Not just for Senate or House of Representatives, but also for house of assembly.
“That is why I said we spoke about the immediate, which is the Osun election, and going forward,” Oshiomhole opined.
The APC Chairman further said that “both the APC and the PDP recognise that we needed to do business with the other minority parties that participated in the election, and it wasn’t difficult to understand who to do business with if you want to influence the outcome of the election.
His words: “It was clear that the SDP was largely in control of those areas. If you want to do a coalition, you identify the leaders who have influence and enter into negotiation.
“While PDP were shouting in the morning that they were going to challenge the rerun, their leader went to Senator Omisore to persuade him to negotiate a possible working arrangement.
“Recognising the fact that SDP was critical to this conversation, we decided to also open negotiation with their leadership, and I was impressed by his emphasis.
“He told us that, yes he has lost, but he believes that he can still win if we have a deal that seeks to address the primary purpose of his participation in the process, which is the governance of the state and specific policy issues that were of concern to him.
“We had a robust conversation and reached an agreement which I think is healthy.
“We didn’t have to negotiate about compensation or about paying money to anyone. The issue was about governance, education and how we can have a working relationship ahead of the general election and in future elections.
“We were able to strike a deal that has to do with the specific issues that affect the welfare and the wellbeing of the people of Osun State.
“Whereas Saraki failed to strike a deal with the SDP, we secured a deal with them and now APC, working with the SDP, had huge influence in those areas, and combining our efforts, it was not strange that at the end, we won.
“For democracy to flourish, only people who can accept the pain of defeat should participate in an election, because there must be a winner and a loser. But for PDP to take the position as if election is only free and fair if they win is not ideal.
“When they won election in Cross River last month, we did not hear any voice. They won in Taraba, we did not hear any voice; INEC was perfect. But whenever they lose, INEC is colluding. We do not have the rigging know-how.”