Stories by Taiwo Amodu, Chinelo Obogo, Wole Balogun, Bamgbola Gbolagunte (Akure)
As voting progressed in yesterday’s governorship poll, Governor Olusegun Mimiko raised the alarm over an alleged plot by collation officers to rig the election in favour of a particular candidate.
Warning against any act that could jeopardize the process, Mimiko said: “I want to warn without any equivocation all those collation officers that are assigned to do this devilish and demonic assignment to desist from any act that could engender a combustible environment. And I hope they won’t be consumed by it. The people will resist any attempt to blatantly rig this election through pre-determined results sheets. And it is very easy to know, as the results come out of the polling centres. This is an era of social media. It will be transmitted live all over the world. If any outcome from INEC differs from what everybody already knows, we will resist.”
“My advice for such collation officers so assigned is for them not to attempt it because I know the depth of anger of our people who have not been allowed a level playing ground,” he added.
The governor also decried what he called financial inducement of voters by the opposition political parties. “From the reports I have been getting, this election has been peaceful, but the shameful aspect of it is the monetization of the election, as some people were given money openly to induce voters, especially people from other parties, not PDP. I appeal to the security to check this very shameful act. It is morally wrong,” he said.
A mild drama occurred in Ondo town, where the governor voted, as Card Reader failed to identify his thumbprint. The electoral officer in charge of the unit had to resort to manual registration. Mimiko expressed worries that the development might be a deliberate ploy to rig the election.
He said: “When I wanted to vote a while ago, the Card Reader could not pick my thumb impression and I thought it was just an isolated case. But the information I have gathered is that there are so many mal-functioning Card Readers in the central zone especially in Akure and Ondo. I hope this is not a systemic plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to waste the time of our people. We will keep watching, but what is more important and which I want to draw attention to is this persistent rumour that there are fake elections results like it was allegedly done in Edo State which they want to use to replace the authentic results from the polling booths. There are speculations out there that as these results leave the local governments to the central state collation centre; the exchange would be done inside INEC vehicles.”
He further decried heavy presence of security operatives at the polling booths. “As for security, I have seen a number of security personnel here myself as a governor, the police, the Civil Defence Corps and others. Armed security operatives are not expected to be at the polling unit but they could be alerted if there is any challenge of security,” he maintained.
The candidate of the PDP, Jegede, also raising similar concerns, accused the INEC of deliberate attempt to disenfranchise voters in Ondo Central Senatorial district. Speaking shortly after casting his ballot at Ward 2 Unit 9, located inside Sacred Heart Primary School, Akure, he said: “I have received situation reports that some of the Card Readers in Akure South Local Government are not working. I hope it is not a scheme to disenfranchise our people. I hope that they would allow the people on the queue to vote.”
“The agenda of disenfranchising Ondo Central and other areas where we have strength cannot stand. They tried to take me out of the contest, and they did not succeed; now they are trying to disenfranchise our people,” he further lamented.
Presiding officer in charge of Jegede’s unit, Ogwo Chidinma, confirmed the fears raised by the PDP, but maintained that those whose finger prints could not be recognized by the machine had been given incidents forms to enable them exercise their franchise.
“Once the Card Reader confirms genuineness of Permanent Voters Card, we give them Incident Form to vote,” he said. As at the time of filing the report, Ondo town was calm and the election process was quite peaceful in many of the polling units visited.
Akeredolu, Jegede in show of strength
Governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday slugged it out with the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Eyitayo Jegede and that of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Olusola Oke in a keenly contested governorship election.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to release the results of the election as at press time, it was reliably gathered that Akeredolu is leading in Owo, Ose, Akoko South
West, Akoko South East, Akoko North East and Akoko North West Local Government Areas, while Jegede was leading in Akure South, Akure
North, Ondo West, Ondo East and Odigbo Local Government Areas of the state.
The governorship candidate of the AD, Chief Oke was also said to be leading in his Ilaje Local Government Area, Okitipupa Local Government
Area, Irele and Ile-Oluji Oke-Igbo Local Government Areas, while the results of the riverine Ese-Odo Local Government Area was unknown. Results released so far in polling units and wards showed that Akeredolu polled 413 votes in his Isokun Oke Ijebu unit 06, ward 05 Owo, while Jegede had 13 and Oke polled four votes.
The PDP governorship candidate, Jegede who voted at unit two, ward nine in Akure South Local Government Area polled a total vote of 184 to defeat Akeredolu who had 77 and Oke who polled 32 votes.
Also, Oke won his Ugbo Ward III, Ago Olori Alufa/Otumara Unit 005 with a total of 316 votes to defeat the APC candidate who polled a total of 17 votes, while the PDP candidate had zero vote. However, the election was relatively peaceful in many parts of the state, while there was a case of malfunctioning of Smart Card Readers in some polling centres in the state. Sunday Sun gathered that voters trooped out in their large numbers to exercise their franchise in the e governorship election in all parts of the state.
In Owo Local Government Area of the state, voters moved to the various polling centres as early as 7.00am and election commenced at exactly 8.00am in all the polling centres in the council area. The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) who voted at exactly 10.30am at Isokun, Oke-Ijebu unit 06, ward 05 in Owo expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise. He said the election was peaceful in his area, adding however that “we received information that were was pockets of violence in Idanre area of the state as a result of the illegal activities of some military men in the area.” He said the turnout of voters in his area was impressive, and expressed optimism that he would win the election if conducted freely. His words “I’m more than convinced that we are winning this election.
I will only appeal to my supporters to be calm and peaceful even in the face of intimidation and harassment.”
“We are sure of victory by the grace of God. It is clear that the PDP will lose the election. INEC appeared prepared for the election and it has shown that the election will be credible.”
Commenting on the call for postponement of the poll by the PDP, Akeredolu stated that “Mimiko wanted to give excuse for PDP problem by calling for the postponement of the election, but he failed eventually.” A member of the Board of Trustees of the APC, Alhaji Jamiu Ekungba who voted at unit 13, ward 03 alleged that his home was attacked by people suspected to be PDP thugs over night. He said four of his vehicles were destroyed and many of his personal belongings vandalized by the suspected thugs. However, he observed that the election was peaceful in his area and the entire northern senatorial district where he serves as the leader of the party.
He alleged that the PDP resorted to violence when it became clear that the election would not be postponed by INEC.
Also, a leader of the APC in the state, Mrs Jumoke Ajasin Anifowose rated the election as highly credible and peaceful, stressing that the APC has demonstrated tolerance in the poll.
Mrs Anifowose who voted at Igboroko unit 06, ward 02 expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the poll in the area.
Also, Chief Oke of the AD said: “Our people are coming out in large numbers to make a statement that they are taking their destiny in their own hands. They are out to vote against the neglect that this area had suffered in the last eight years, as well as the development which suddenly made some people aliens in the state.
“The people are looking forward with confidence and hope that one of them, who share their experience, knows their suffering and pain, and who can redress the neglect by bringing about the much needed real change becomes governor of the state,” he added.
Oke, while responding to the hitch he had with the Card Reader for accreditation said that despite the embarrassment with the Card Reader, the country’s electoral process was evolving and that the Card Reader initiative was a plus which would be perfect with time.
Oke, AD candidate, wins ward …As Mimiko’s SSG loses
Candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the Ondo State Governorship Election, Chief Olusola Oke, performed the same feat like his counterparts in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who won in their respective wards and polling units.
Oke who voted yesterday at Unit 005, Ugbo Ward 3, at his Ilowo hometown in the Ilaje Council Area of the state, won at his polling unit.
At the end of collation of results, Oke won with a total of 316 votes to defeat the candidate of the APC, Rotimi Akeredolu, who polled 17 votes, while Eyitayo Jegede, candidate of the ruling PDP scored zero.
Speaking earlier after casting his vote, Oke expressed satisfaction with voters’ turn out which he noted was indicative of their resolve for real change.
He said: “Our people are coming out in large numbers to make a statement that they are taking their destiny in their own hands. They are out to vote against the neglect that this area had suffered in the last eight years a development, which suddenly made others aliens in the state.
“The people are looking forward with confidence and hope that one of them, who shares their experience, knows their suffering and pain, and who can redress the neglect by bringing about the much needed real change becomes governor of the state.”
Oke lauded the peaceful atmosphere and the security arrangement in his area and thanked his people for their resilience and patience despite the initial difficulty recorded with the Card Reader.
Sunday Sun however gathered that the AD candidate may not have a comfortable lead in his Ondo South senatorial district with 6 local council Areas, as he was being threatened by the APC candidate. Sunday Sun gathered that the APC candidate was leading in Irele, Odigbo, Ile Oluji, Oke-Igbo, Okitipupa and one ward in the Ijaw speaking area called Ukparama.
Another major upset in yesterday’s election was the defeat of the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Aderotimi Adelola, who lost his own unit to APC at Unit 007 Ayesan Ward, located at St Peter Pry School Araromi Obu, Odigbo Local Govt.
In the unit, APC polled 113 votes, AD 79, while PDP scored 73 votes.