The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday, organised a stakeholders’ meeting over the location of Oyo North Collation Centre in Oyo State.
INEC organised the meeting, which is an Alternative Dispute Resolution policy of the commission, was as a result of a petition received against the sighting of the collation centre at Iseyin in Oke Ogun zone.
In the petition dated Dec. 19, 2018, addressed to the Chairman of the commission, the petitioners alleged that INEC relocated the collation centre from Ogbomoso to Iseyin in 2015, without any notice.
The petitioners claimed that the collation of election results from the senatorial district took place during the 1979 elections up till the 2011 elections.
They, therefore, requested the commission to restore the collation centre to Ogbomoso.
In his presentation on behalf of Ogbomoso zone, a prominent indigene of the town, Dr Saka Balogun, stressed that the relocation of the centre from Ogbomoso “smacks of injustice, unfairness and abridgement of existing/subsisting rights of Ogbomoso community.”
Dr Olusegun Ajuwon, who read the presentation of Oke Ogun community, asserted that Iseyin, where the collation centre was relocated to, was suitable and ideal to be the collation centre for Oyo North.
He stated that the people of Oke Ogun zone, which comprised of 10 local government areas out of the 13 councils in Oyo North senatorial district, strongly opposed the return of the collation centre from Iseyin to Ogbomoso.
In his remarks, Mr Mutiu Agboke, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), noted that the commission’s state office was used as collation centre for the three senatorial districts in the state during the 1999, 2003 and 2007 National Assembly elections.
According to him, “The Nigerian atlas of Electoral Constituencies produced by INEC in 2008 confirmed that the location of Oyo North Senatorial Collation Centre at Iseyin LGA”
Agboke further said that the commission’s headquarters, through a letter sent to all RECs in 2014, also confirmed that the collation centre for Oyo North was the local government secretariat in Iseyin.
He, however, stated that the presentations of both Oke Ogun and Ogbomoso communities would be harmonised and sent to INEC headquarters in Abuja, for appropriate action.
Agboke also commended the communities for the maturity displayed during the meeting and urged them to sustain the peaceful coexistence.
Among the traditional rulers present at the stakeholders’ meeting were Oba Lawal Oyedepo, the Bagijan of Ilaji-Ile in Iwajowa council area and Oba John Ayanpoju, the Alabaa of Ogbomoso land.
Others were Oba Olaniyi Popoola, the Onijeru of Ijeru land and Chief James Oyetunji, who represented the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi.