From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
There was wide jubilation in Akure, the Ondo State capital yesterday following the judgment of an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace the name of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim with that of Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Members of the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP and loyalists of Jegede trooped to the streets of Akure in solidarity shortly after the judgment was delivered in Abuja.
Also, many indigenes of Akure, hometown of Jegede joined the PDP members in solidarity as they staged a walk round major streets in the city chanting solidarity songs.
Jegede’s supporters who later converged on the popular Cathedral bus stop, Akure danced for over two hours, even as they chanted anti Ibrahim songs, and warned him not to destabilise the peace enjoyed in the state.
It was also gathered that members of the PDP in Ondo, hometown of Governor Olusegun Mimiko engaged in similar solidarity, even as they expressed support for Jegede in the coming election.
Jegede in his reaction dedicated his victory at the Appeal court to God and the people of Ondo State, calling on all his loyalists across the state to embark on intensive door to door campaign in the remaining few days to the poll.
He reiterated his readiness to contest the election and win, just as he assured the people that he will consolidate on the achievements of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, saying: “we remain resolute in our desire to bring peace, progress, prosperity and development to the state.”
While expressing gratitude to those who stand with him in the legal tussle, Jegede said the will of God over Ondo State will stand and the forces of darkness shall be sent to the pit of hell.
Also, the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party lauded the three member appeal panel for their courage, saying that the judgment was an indication of the fact that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common people.
The faction’s director of Media, Mr Ayo Fadaka stressed that the judgment has given hope of good leadership to the people of the state, saying that the PDP was now sure of winning Saturday’s election.
Ex-Amnesty boss, Kuku backs Oke
Barely three days to the election, a new twist was added to the contest as former presidential adviser on Niger
Delta and chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku formally endorsed the ambition of Chief Olusola Oke of the Alliance For Democracy (AD).
Curiously, Kuku is of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), a party he had effectively funded while in office. He is currently on in the United States of America. Oke was also the national legal adviser of the PDP and only dumped the party after its candidate, Dr Goodluck
Jonathan lost the presidential election.
The former lawmaker from the Ijaw speaking Ese-Odo local government area was also the major financier of Oke’s governorship project in 2012 when he ran against Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour
Party as well as Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu then of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Akeredolu now runs as standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress ( APC).
Although it could not be confirmed officially, there are insinuations that Oke considers returning to the PDP if he wins this week governorship contest.
But Kuku, who had distanced himself from the two warring factions of the PDP in August was reported to be among those who pressurized Oke to go the way of AD after he lost out in the September 3 APC governorship primary.
Already, posters of both Oke and Kuku have flooded Ese-Odo, Kuku’s local government a few days to the poll. With the inscription ‘’It pleases God Almighty to fulfill this unfinished work. I was with you, still I am today’’.
AD intensifies campaign, vows to resist harassment, intimidation
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Alliance for Democracy (AD) has intensified its campaigns, urging the electorate to come out en masse and vote for the party’s candidate, Chief Olusola Oke.
The party also vowed to resist intimidation, harassment of any kind, asking the party faithful to also resist such and freely exercise their franchise in the election.
A statement from the party yesterday challenged the electorate to take their destiny in their hands by voting for its candidate whom they claim is credible, people-oriented with clear vision and mission to rescue the state from poor leadership and reactionary forces that have impoverished the populace.
The statement which was signed by the National Auditor of the party, Ishmail Ayodele urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be impartial through the electoral process in order to conduct a free, fair and credible election.
Part of the statement reads: “INEC should also provide a level playing field to all the political parties that are participating in the election. Security agents should also be awake to their constitutional responsibilities and ensure a violence-free election.”
The party however condemned the alleged plot by some desperate politicians to use security agents to harass, detain and frustrate the effort of some opposition political party candidates.
“Electoral contest is the beauty of democracy because it gives the people a chance to choose their leaders at all levels of governance. But any attempt to thwart the will of the people must be resisted by all lovers of democracy in Nigeria,” the party said in a statement.
APC congratulates Jegede, dismisses PDP threat
From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress(APC) has congratulated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for the Ondo State governorship election, Chief Eyitayo Jegede, for his victory at the Court of Appeal.
The ruling party however pointed out that neither Jegede’s court victory nor the opposition party will pose any threat to APC in the election slated for this weekend, stressing that its campaigns from beginning was to remove PDP from Ondo State Government House.
Speaking through its Deputy National Secretary, Hon. Oji Ngofa, APC also commended the judiciary for the ruling, stressing: “The ruling is a welcome development; it shows that our judicial system is working and they are continuously proving that they are the hope of every person, especially the so called common man, however our party is ready for Jegede. Even if you put them together, we are prepared. Come Saturday, Ondo chapter would be a party for us.”
He dismissed the views that the ruling has turned the table of the governorship election in Ondo State, arguing: “No table has turned against us. I can say we are prepared. I want to say also that a lot has gone positively in terms of reconciliation with the little issues that emanated from the primaries.
“I can confirm to you that reconciliation has gone on very well and everybody is prepared and ready for the Saturday, 26 and by the grace of God our party would be triumphant in the election.
“Don’t forget that our preparation from the beginning was to remove PDP from Ondo State. Whoever represents PDP in Ondo State – be it Jimoh Ibrahim or Jegede- we are prepared. We are better ready, better prepared in Ondo than any other party as at today, ” he said.
Arewa youths urge INEC to shift polls
By Chinelo Obogo
ahead of the election, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum(AYCF) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift the polls, saying that if it goes ahead, the exercise would amount to a misadventure.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the forum’s President, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, advised INEC to shift the election because of the tension created by the court judgements, while warning that holding the election in a tense atmosphere could result in avoidable national calamity.
His words: “As concerned Nigerians, we are deeply touched and disturbed by the mishandling of the Ondo State election by the INEC. The electoral body has disappointed our compatriots by insisting it would hold elections in Ondo this Saturday, in total disregard to the charged atmosphere and palpable tension that could trigger a breach of peace in the peaceful State.
“It is obvious to many compatriots the elections of Edo and other states were hurriedly done because it was skewed to favour the interest of top ranking officials of INEC and her paymasters. Nowhere in the world is an electoral body given the powers to do as it pleases except here in Nigeria. And this is an ill-wind for justice, fairness and equity in democratic terms.
“So, there is evidently no justification for this Saturday’s elections in Ondo State because residents have confirmed a deep fear and apprehension over the possible outcome of the elections as INEC is widely believed to be less than prepared for the task ahead”.