Results of the Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo state declared so far have seen Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) taking the early lead.
Akeredolu, as at the time of filing this report was leading with over 27, 000 votes.
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Results from 12 out of 18 local governments have been declared so far and the APC candidate had pulled 168,854 votes while the PDP candidate is second with 141,083.
The Deputy Governor of the State, Agboola Ajayi who is also the Candidate of Zenith Labour Party is currently on the 3rd spot 32,060 votes.
The collation and announcement of results from the remaining local governments have been adjourned till 9 am on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the major contenders in the Saturday governorship election in Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, have both won in their polling units.
Candidate of the Zenith Labour Party and the deputy governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi, also won in his polling unit.
Governor Akeredolu won in his Ijebu-Owo polling unit 006 with a landslide, defeating candidates of both the PDP and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
He got 413 votes to defeat Jegede of the PDP, who polled 12 votes and Agboola Ajayi of the ZLP, who got 0 vote.
Similarly, PDP’s Jegede won in his polling unit 09 in ward 02, in Akure South Local Government, where he voted.
According to the results announced in ward 02, units 09 and 10, the PDP got 158 votes, the ruling APC got 43, while the ZLP) polled 4 votes.
At ward 02, unit 09, the PDP polled 220 votes, APCgot 60 while the ZLP got 7.
Also, the deputy governor and candidate of the ZLP, Ajayi, won his polling unit 004 at Apoi ward 02, in Ese-Odo Local Government Area. He polled 395 votes to defeat the incumbent governor who polled 13 votes, the candidate of the PDP who got only 5 votes.
There are 3,009 polling units in the 203 wards of the 18 local government areas in the state.
The results from polling units and wards were announced by electoral officers on duty.
- “Violence Mars Exercise”
There was a massive turnout of voters across the state as people of the Sunshine State defied the rainfall in some parts of the state to exercise their franchise.
However, there were pockets of violence in some parts of the state, even as attempts to disrupt the electoral process were thwarted by security agencies.
As early as 6:30 am, voters began to arrive at their respective polling units, while electoral officials also arrived about 7:00am am in some polling units.
Accreditation and voting started simultaneously at most of the polling units by 8am while voters conducted themselves peacefully.
However, at Ijomu/Obanla community in Akure, sporadic gunshots disrupted the voting process as voters scampered for safety.
The incident happened around polling unit 002, ward 4 in Akure South.
A source told one of our correspondents that the shooting was caused by fighting among some supporters of the APC and PDP at the polling unit.
The crisis started when a party member was allegedly stabbed and was rushed to an undisclosed hospital. A source said the guy would have been killed if not for the swift intervention of the security agencies.
“The police shot in the air to disperse the crowd and prevent the attack from degenerating,’’ the source said.
In another incident at PU009 ward 2 Cathedral, also in Akure South, two young men were arrested for allegedly attempting to disrupt the voting process.
The men with schoolbags strapped in their back were arrested at the Sacred Heart Primary School registration area in Akure South Local Government.
The primary school with two polling units was where the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede earlier voted in the morning.
Security operatives declined comment on the offence of the two men who were said to be political thugs.
Pockets of violence were also reported by the domestic observers who deployed monitors across the 18 local government areas of the state.
For instance, one of the observer groups, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), noted that towards the end of voting, there was an upsurge in attacks targeted at INEC officials.
“As the time of reporting, the CDD had been receiving reports of attacks targeted at INEC staff and personnel. In Akure South Local Government Area, CDD observers reported cases of hoodlums chasing away registration area centres technicians,” CDD director, Idayat Hassan said.
The incidents were documented in ward 05, PU 008, Odigbo Local Government Area, Arogbo II, PU 001, ward 7, Ese Odo Local Government Area, ward 06, PU 007, ward 02 PU 16 in Idanre Local Government Area, and ward 4 PU 09, 11, 12 and 13, Ilaje Local Government Area.”
The spokesman of the Ondo State Police command, Mr Tee-Leo Ikoro, confirmed to one of our correspondents that “some arrests were made,” but he did not specify the number and the offences committed.
Besides the pockets of violence, the election was generally peaceful in most parts of the state, even as some elderly voters and physically challenged were assisted to cast their vote.
- “Parties sell votes for 5,000, N7000”
Despite the massive presence of security operatives at most of the polling units, including officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the menace of vote-buying still reared its ugly head in the election.
Reports said major political parties induced voters with different sums ranging from N1000, N2000 and as much as N7,000.
In several polling units in the state capital, some party loyalists induced voters with money while some voters also resisted attempts at vote buying.
“There were attempts by gladiators to outspend the others. They spent more in their strongholds in order not to lose votes,” said Hassan during the presentation of the centre’s preliminary findings.
In other cases, it was learnt that between N150,000 and 600,000 was earmarked for some polling units.
The chairperson of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said, “There is a structured and consistent pattern of vote buying in this election.” She said this happened while the security agents looked the other way.
Also Yiaga Africa in its findings said, “Vote buying and interference by party agents: In St. Paul’s Primary School, Oluwu, Arewa III, Code 015, of Lodasa Iparuku/Likoja ward in Ondo West, votes were traded for money as voters showed how they voted to party agents before casting their ballots.
“In St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, 001 of Ifon 1 ward in Ose Local Government Area, party agents accompanied voters to the voting cubicle to see how they marked their ballots.”
- Candidates Speak
Meanwhile, Akeredolu, Jegede and Ajayi have expressed confidence of winning the poll.
Akeredolu, who voted at unit 6, ward 2, Ijebu Owo in Owo Local Government Area with his wife, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, said he was sure of victory.
For the PDP candidate, there was a mild drama when the smart card reader broke down when he and his wife were about to cast their votes. Despite the challenge he, however, expressed confidence about winning the election.
The deputy governor and governorship candidate of the ZLP accused the ruling APC of hiring a known top militant in the riverine areas in Ese-Odo and Ilaje local government areas to rig the poll.
Ajayi expressed disappointment that the INEC and security agencies could not conduct free, fair and credible election in the state.
“I observed that the turnout was very encouraging, but I want to also say it the way we have seen it here. The security arrangement is a bit compromised.
We want to appeal to security agents to live up to expectation and continue to be neutral and ensure that every Nigerian’s vote counts. I just received a call that a senior militant in this country (name withheld) who is not a member of this community, had laid siege somewhere, telling the people to vote for the APC, and security men are there watching him.
I hereby call on the Inspector-General of Police to direct his men to do justice. This is injustice and barbaric. They should allow people to cast their votes freely because people are ready to vote freely,’’ Ajayi said.
APC wins in PDP senator’s unit
The governorship election results announced at the Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo Local Government headquarters showed that Nicolas Tofowomo, the senator representing Ondo South has been defeated in his ward. Tofowomo was elected on the platform of the PDP.
When the result of the ward, which contains several polling units, was announced, the APC polled a total of 1,311 votes while the PDP polled 1,086 votes. A total of 2,715 people were accredited in the ward.