By Omeiza Ajayi
Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, were among the governorship candidates whose names were released in the final list by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for candidates that will participate in the forthcoming governorship elections in Ondo State.
Conspicuously, the names of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim and Chief Olusola Oke were omitted from the final list released by the commission.
A Federal High Court had ordered INEC to recognize Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate in the Ondo election.
Though, Vanguard gathered that the commission was still consulting with her lawyers on the development, a list of 28 candidates dated September 22 and recently updated on its website showed the that there has been no substitution of any of the candidates.
Chief Oke, who defected to the Alliance for Democracy, AD, after the controversial primaries of the APC also suffers similar fate as Ibrahim.
In the list, the AD candidate, Mr Akin Enoch Zerubabel Olowookere and his 72-year old running mate, Yahaya Ipinloju are jointly number 4 on the list.
INEC to deploy 16,723 personnel
Meantime, to conduct the governorship election in Ondo State, scheduled for Saturday, November 26th 2016, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is to deploy 16,723 personnel.
Ondo state is made up of 18 Local Government Areas, 203 Registration Areas, and 3,010 Polling Units. It has a total of 1,660,055 registered voters.
A breakdown of the 16,723 personnel to be deployed indicates that INEC would deploy one Returning Officer, 18 Local Government Collation Officers, 203 Registration Area Collation Officers, 301 Supervisory Presiding Officer, SPOs, 3,010 Presiding Officers, POs, and 11, 103 Assistant Presiding Officers.
$1m bribe: INEC accuses Jimoh Ibrahim of lying
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has formally reacted to allegations by a factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in the forthcoming Ondo election, Jimoh Ibrahim to the effect that an INEC staff had demanded a bribe of $1 million from him.
INEC in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by its National Commissioner in charge of Information, Prince Solomon Soyebi, exonerated its Director of Legal Services, Mrs Toyin Babalola of the allegation.
INEC said Mr Ibrahim had stormed its headquarters with a copy of a court judgment ordering his candidacy to be accepted by the party, saying while the visit was unexpected, INEC does not also deal with individuals but parties.
“On sighting the unexpected guest, Mrs Babalola called three other lawyers in her department to witness her encounter with Mr Ibrahim and politely told him that the commission was already in possession of the court document. At no time during the encounter that lasted less than 15 minutes did Mrs Babalola ask for $1 million. Therefore, the allegation by Mr Ibrahim is false”, INEC said.
On the allegation that the Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in Ondo State, Mr Segun Agbaje requested for a private meeting with Ibrahim in London, INEC said: “The commission discovered that it was Mr Ibrahim, who through an intermediary, tried to arrange a meeting with the Ondo REC in London. This Mr Agbaje promptly declined and insisted that if Mr Ibrahim wanted to see him, he was free to do so at the Ondo State INEC office during official hours. So, Mr Ibrahim’s account is not the correct account of what actually took place.”