Ladi Adebutu, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, has cautioned the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop blackmailing him, saying he did not engage in vote buying during the March 18 polls.
It was reported that the Chairman of the APC in Ogun State, Yemi Sanusi, had petitioned the police, asking that Adebutu be investigated and arrested for alleged vote buying.
But, in a statement on Tuesday made available to our correspondent in Abeokuta the Media Director of Ladi Adebutu Campaign Organisation, Afolabi Orekoya, described the claim as unsubstantiated, saying the APC and its candidate have “decided to go for cheap blackmail after realizing that our candidate and PDP’s petition before the tribunal is unequivocally tight.”
Orekoya said the APC resorted to blackmail after failing in its efforts to “coax, intimidate and harass Adebutu to withdraw the petition” despite pleas from their emissaries, delegations and despite “offer of monetary compensation.”
He said the party “resorted to blackmail, media trial, depravity and malfeasance in an attempt to buy public sentiment and confuse the judiciary.”
According to him, Mr Tunde Oladunjoye, the Ogun APC Publicity Secretary, had earlier claimed on a television show that one of the many humanitarian gestures of the Adebutu family was for other purposes and intent.
“For clarity sake, the fact of the burial of the Adebutu matriarch, Late Dame Caroline Adebutu, on February 11th, 2023 is in the public domain and it will be unreasonable and unconscionable for anyone under the guise of paid reporting to attempt to twist the details,” he said.
Orekoya called on the police authorities to open an investigation into how the report of an uncompleted investigation was leaked to the press, “even though the petition leading to this investigation is laced with political undertone.”
The statement read in part: “The PDP and Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu hereby assure the good people of Ogun that every attempt by the APC and its candidate to continue to rubbish the commitments shown by the good people of Ogun State evident through the over 260,000 votes cast for PDP and its gubernatorial candidate in the March 18th elections will be resisted.
“The Ogun APC and their social media warlords should note that the Election Petition Tribunal, as constituted, is clear on its mandate, which is to hear all petitions emanating from the 2023 February and March elections. Therefore, any ploy to influence the outcome of the tribunal by circulating incoherent, illogical, and baseless claims like this one will definitely continue to expose APC known ridicule.
“The PDP and its candidate are open to cooperating with the relevant authorities within the ambit of the law.
“The issues before the Election Petition Tribunal are substantiated documentary evidence of over-voting, suppression of voters, noncompliance with the Electoral Act, and the Constitution. And no distractive tendencies to buy public sympathy will destroy the truth of solid facts.
“We hereby advise the Ogun APC that, rather than employing this cheap tactic of intimidation, blackmail and misinforming the public, they should reserve their energy to prove their innocence against the allegations in the petitions at the tribunal.
“While we are confident of the Judiciary’s commitment to upholding the tenets of rule of law and ensuring fair hearing on the issues raised at the tribunal, we are urging members of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal not to be swayed by the antics of Mr Abiodun to influence the process of the hearing through preempting of the Judiciary through media propaganda.”