By Adeleke Adeseri, Southwest Regional Editor, Dayo Johnson & Charles Kumolu
AKURE—Basking in the euphoria of a historic re-election, Governor Segun Mimiko vowed, yesterday, to bequeath a legacy of good works across Ondo State after he was declared winner of last Saturday’s gubernatorial election.
Outpouring of goodwill from far and near flowed to Mimiko from across the country including President Goodluck Jonathan and the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP whose candidate, Olusola Oke finished second in the election. While lauding Mimiko on his victory, the PDP praised the people of Ondo State for rejecting the politics of tribalism it claimed was preached by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
The ACN on its part reserved its comments on the election noting that it was still studying the results even as it declared its determination to constitute itself as a critical and constructive opposition to the Mimiko administration.
The ACN in a statement by its national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande flayed the conduct of the poll as seriously flawed.
Irrespective of the conciliatory tone of its national headquarters and President Jonathan, the Ondo State chapter of the PDP rejected the outcome alleging a three-way conspiracy among security agencies, the Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to undermine it during the election.
Two civil society organizations that monitored the polls, the Centre for Human Rights and Ethics in Development (CHRED) and the Conference of Human Rights Activists (CNCRA) on their part declared the result as reflective of the will of the people.
The final result
In the final results of the election declared, yesterday, by the state returning officer for the election, Prof Biyi Daramola, Mimiko, who flew the flag of LP was credited with 260,199 votes, while the PDP candidate Olusola Oke polled 155,961 and the ACN’s candidate Rotimi Akeredolu polled 143,512 votes.
A total of 624,659 votes were cast out of a registered voters’ list of 1.6m. Prof. Daramola who is also Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure disclosed that 30,415 votes were declared as invalid, leaving a total of 594,244 valid votes. Daramola added that 645,594 voters were accredited during the election.
The LP candidate, Dr Mimiko won in 13 of the 18 council areas of the state, while the PDP won in two and the ACN won three councils.
Other parties which were credited with votes were ACPN 1806, ANPP 1461, APS 751, BMPP 2,949, CAP 1031, NCP 823, NSDP 1103, PDC 21,361, PPA 1,651.
Daramola, declared that, Mimiko, having satisfied the provisions of the Electoral Act, was returned as the winner of the election.
The local government areas won by Mimiko were Akure South, Akure North, Ifedore, Idanre, Ondo West, Ondo East, Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo, Irele, Ese-Odo, Ose, Akoko Northeast, Akoko North West and Akoko South East.
Despite losing at his polling unit and at the ward level, Akeredolu, the ACN candidate won in his native Owo Local Government Council Area, and in Odigbo and Akoko South West local government areas. The PDP, not surprisingly, won Ilaje and Okitipupa.
Wild jubilation in Akure
The announcement of the result led to wild jubilation across Akure, the state capital. Supporters of LP, who gathered in front of the INEC office in Alagbaka area of the town were seen singing and dancing in celebration of the victory.
They also converged on the entrance of the Government House where they jubilated, sang and danced over the results of the election. The major roads in the town like Oba Adesida, Oyemekun, NEPA, Ondo road were later filled with members and supporters of the party who were jubilating over the outcome of the result.
However, security was immediately tightened as the results were announced as contingents of the military men patrolled the state capital.
Jonathan congratulates Mimiko
In his reaction to the declaration of the election results, President Jonathan congratulated Governor Mimiko on his re-election, even as he commended the dutiful, patriotic and law-abiding electorate of Ondo State.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, the president also gave kudos to INEC personnel and security agencies who ensured that the election was “peacefully and successfully conducted.
The conduct, he stressed was in keeping with President Jonathan’s administration’s commitment to making elections in Nigeria progressively better organised and more credible”.
“As Gov. Mimiko looks forward to the commencement of his second term in office, the president urges him to be prepared to work even harder to justify the fresh mandate given to him by the people of Ondo State, who voted for his re-election on Saturday,” Abati added.
He said President Jonathan assured Mimiko that the Federal Government would continue to engage constructively and positively with the Ondo State government in collaborative efforts to achieve faster socio-economic development and better living conditions for people in the state and in all other parts of Nigeria.
Mark, Ekweremadu, govs hail election
The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremaduand governors also joined in congratulating Mimiko.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, Senator Mark urged Mimiko to be magnanimous in victory through carrying other stakeholders in the state along.
“Iam happy that Nigerians now appreciate democracy through free and fair election,” Senator Mark said as he commended INEC.
Senator Ekweremadu in his own reaction articulated by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, while congratulating Mimiko, noted the contributory roles played by the National Assembly in amending the constitution to safeguard fair polls.
While expressing satisfaction with the efforts by INEC and the security agencies at ensuring a credible poll, the Deputy President of the Senate commended the people of Ondo State for their peaceful conduct.
“In the end, it is not just about who won, but about a democratic, violence-free, and mature electoral process where the people freely express themselves and realise their will that count above everything else,” Ekweremadu was quoted as saying.
He urged Dr. Mimiko to work to justify the confidence reposed in him by the people by “being magnanimous and humble in victory, while also rallying all capable hands towards the development of Ondo State irrespective of political persuasion”.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State in his reaction said: “The people have spoken; the best candidate has won. While I congratulate my brother, Mimiko, on this victory, which is a reaffirmation of the belief of his people in him, I urge him to continue on the path of service to his people and the country at large.
“Occasions like this provide opportunity for Nigerians to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to democracy, which has seen us move rapidly from the era of victory through electoral malpractices to victory through the choice of the people.”Obi congratulates Mimiko
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State: “While I congratulate my brother Governor on his victory at the polls, I urge him to take particular note of his endearment to the grassroots which gave him the support for his return. He should strive to continue to build on the path of development he started in his first term. I urge him to see the victory as further opportunity to serve the people of Ondo State”.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State on his part described the re-election of Dr. Mimiko as a demonstration of steady but sustainable growth of Nigeria’s democracy.
Governor Ahmed also commended the political class in Ondo State for the display of maturity during the election, which should be emulated by other states in future elections.