By Clifford Ndujihe, Dayo Johnson, Charles Kumolu & Gbenga Oke
* Babatope, Mohhammed, Peterside, others react
WITH the victory of Ondo State Governor-elect, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, in last Saturday’s election, power will return to the Owo axis of the state when Governor Olusegun Mimiko, quits in February 2017.
The last time an Owo person governed the state was in 1983 during the era of late Second Republic and first civilian governor of Ondo, Chief Michael Adekunle.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, declared Akeredolu, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the Ondo State governorship poll. He polled 244,842 votes to beat his closest marker, Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who got 150,380 votes. He emerged victorious with a margin of 94,462 votes and won in 14 of 18 local councils.
Jegede won in two local councils. Alliance for Democracy, AD candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, garnered 126,889 votes and won in two local councils, according to the final results announced by the Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Professor Abdulganiyu Ambali, the returning officer.
Dr Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party SDP polled 10,149 votes to come fourth without winning any of the 18 council areas of the state.
When Akeredolu ascends to power in February, it will be coming 13 years after Ondo North held power through late Chief Adebayo Adefarati.
Ambali gave the total number of valid votes to be 551,272 votes, rejected votes 29,615, total number of votes cast 580,887.
The council areas won by Akeredolu include the two strongholds of Jegede – Akure South and. Akure North and Ifedore, the council area of the state chairman of the PDP, Clement Faboyede.
Akeredolu won massively in Owo, where he hails from with over 32000 votes.
Other councils won by the governor-elect include Idanre, lrele, Akoko North East, Ile Oluji-Okeigbo, Akoko South-East, Ose, Akoko South-West, Akoko North-West, Odigbo and Ese-Odo.
Jegede who was betrayed by his people in both Akure North and Akure South managed to win in the two councils controlled by the outgoing governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko – Ondo East and Ondo West council areas.
Olusola Oke also managed to win in Okitipupa and won massively in his homet own of Ilaje local council.
How parties induced voters – Situation Room, YIAGA
Meanwhile, a Civil Society group, Situation Room, yesterday, said the just concluded governorship election in Ondo state, recorded incidents of vote buying by political parties.
Speaking at a Press Conference in Akure, the Coordinator of the group, Clement Nwankwo, said the group observed that political parties openly paid voters to induce them saying this portends a great threat to free election in the country.
The group noted some isolated incidents of misconduct by some security operatives, who it said were collecting envelopes from party agents.
He said: “While observing that the Police responded to some incidents of Electoral Act violation such as impersonation, we observed however that cases of vote buying were not adequately responded to”
The group however commended the electoral umpire over early distribution and deployment of materials, and the simultaneous process of accreditation and voting, describing it as a significant improvement on the part of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“There were, however, challenges with receiving collated results from local governments that were distant from Akure, the State collation headquarters. This created delay in the announcement of results from all the local governments at the same time. There is need for further work to improve collation time in future election,” he said.
Nwankwo commended the security measures put in place to ensure a peaceful poll adding that security personnel carried out their duties in a civil and professional manner.
Also,the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, YIAGA, identified vote buying and bribery, card Reader malfunctions, public display of ballots by voters before placing it in the ballot, intimidation and harassment of voters as some of the incidents that were witnessed during the poll.
The group, which employed “Watching The Vote” observation method during the election said some incidents that took place during the election such as accreditation of people without PVC, accreditation of voters without the Card Reader, poll officials not posting results, partisan poll officials among others were enough to undermine the credibility of the overall process of the election.
The leader of the group, Samson Itodo,said that the result released by INEC reflected the will of the people of the state.
Itodo said that the turn out of
Itodo asked the governor elect, Rotimi Akeredolu to be magnanimous in victory and urged the losers to accept the results with maturity.
Nigerian Judiciary should be blamed over Jegede’s loss — Mohammed
Speaking on the poll, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said those looking for who to blame in the just concluded Ondo election should blame the Judiciary.
“As far as I am concerned, nobody should blame APC or any other person for Jegede’s travails. The judiciary should be blamed for not rising to the occasion at the right time. I feel strongly that INEC tried its best in this election and seems to have improved.The violence in the election was minimal knowing fully well what Ondo used to be during the first and second republics. This election going on without much of violence is a sign of relief.
“Those looking for people to blame should blame the Judiciary but APC or any other party should not be blamed for Jegede’s inability to get his candidature until two days before the election”.
Ondo people have spoken with clear voice – Peterside
Rivers APC governorship candidate in the 2015 election, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said for the umpteenth time that the APC would win any free, fair and credible election devoid of violence and intimidation because of the credibility of its candidates and general acceptance of the party.
“The people of Ondo State have spoken in loud and clear voice. They have chosen the candidate of their choice in a free and fair manner. I have always said that APC will win any free and fair contest. I congratulate the people of Ondo State and Chief Rotimi Akeredolu for this victory. I call on Chief Akeredolu to see his victory as that of the entire Ondo State people,” he said.
He urged the governor-elect ‘’to be humble in his victory and see his emergence as the wish of Ondo State people to chart a new course in the realisation of their hopes and aspirations.”
INEC and APC manipulated the election — Babatope
Former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said the INEC and APC connived to manipulate the election in favour of Akeredolu.
“I cannot say much right now because we are waiting for the National Headquarters of the PDP to issue a statement on behalf of the party. However, I must point out that INEC has not been fair to the PDP but I believe strongly that APC may not suffer now but they will suffer in the end.”
Time for Yoruba governors to rally round Akeredolu—ARG
Chairman of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Wale Oshun said: “We charge Akeredolu, as the guardian of the people’s mandate, to continuously and consistently prove himself as a leader worthy of his people’s trust, by constantly communicating his vision and managing the resources of the state towards the development and well-being of Ondo State. We also charge the people to cooperate with the governor-elect, be alert to their civic duties and keep the government on that path of straight and narrow,” he said in statement.
“We trust that Akeredolu’s administration will prioritise good governance over partisanship, in the noble and progressive tradition of Awolowo and Ajasin, which is the main reason he earned our endorsement.”
Most importantly, we are hopeful that in active collaboration with the governors of other South-West states, Akeredolu’s emergence will make easier the pursuit of regional integration, which has already gained credible momentum in our region. We therefore call on other Yoruba governors to embrace him into their fold, in the renewed spirit of brotherhood and reconciliation in South-West. As a pan-Yoruba socio-political group, ARG will continue to stand for and protect the interest of Yoruba people.”