- APC leads in Ondo North and South Senatorial Districts
- PDP and APC neck and neck in Ondo Central Senatorial District
- Akeredolu, Jegede, Ajayi, Mimiko win polling units
- Stakeholders hail election in spite of irregularities
- Man stabbed at polling unit
A second term in office seemed assured for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State with early results of Saturday’s election in Ondo North and South going heavily in his favour.
He was also running neck and neck in Ondo Central with his main challenger, Dr.Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at press time.
Jegede is from the Central Senatorial District.
Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), who was tipped to give Akeredolu and Jegede a run for their money, appeared lost from the results so far released.
His performance in his South Senatorial District fell short of the expectations of bookmakers.
Each of the candidates won his polling unit easily.
Akeredolu got 413 votes at his polling unit 6, ward 5, Isokun,Ijebu-Owo.
He was trailed by Jegede with five votes. Ajayi got no vote at all.
Jegede secured 220 votes in his Igbigin/Isikan ward unit 9 polling centre in Akure while Akeredolu got 60 and Ajayi 7.
Ajayi got the backing of 395 voters in his Apoi ward 11, unit 4 at Idumado, Kiribo in the Ese Odo Local Government Area. Akeredolu came a distant second there with 13 votes and Jegede 5 votes.
Akeredolu was the preferred candidate in Akoko North East, Akoko North West, Akoko South East, Akoko South West, Ilaje, Odigbo, Owo, Ile Oluji, Irele, Idanre and Ondo West local government areas.
He won by a landslide in Akoko South East with over 9,000 votes, leaving Jegede with 3,881 votes and Ajayi 1,960 votes.
It was also a landslide victory for Akeredolu in Akoko North East where he polled 16,572 votes against 8,380 for Jegede and 3,532 for Ajayi.
Other LGAs results available last night are as follows:
Results from 2704 polling units had been released at press time.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it had uploaded 90 per cent of the results on its portal last night.
It is expected that the remainder of the results will be made public later today and the winner formally declared.
The PDP camp was all quiet last night as the results trickled in while All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters went into jubilation.
Akeredolu was seen in a video dancing.
Stakeholders hail process in spite of irregularities
Stakeholders in Ondo State generally believe that yesterday’s governorship election was an improvement on previous ones in many respects.
There were improvements in the area of logistics, particularly with regards to arrival of electoral officials on time at their assigned stations and the setting up of polling units.
In many places, however, particularly in the riverine areas, the process of accreditation and voting started late in spite of the early arrival of electoral officials and materials.
Electoral officials came out on time and were prepared to do their work, but prospective voters took their time in coming out to exercise their duties.
Yiaga Africa, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to reforming Nigeria’s elections, noted that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arrived at their stations at 7.30 am in 77 per cent of the polling units.
Its preliminary report on the election by the co-chairs, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi and Ezenwa Nwagwu, described the development as a significant improvement on the September 19 Edo governorship election, where officials arrived at the same time in 38 per cent of the polling units.
It rained heavily, particularly in the riverine areas of Ilaje and Ese-Odo local government areas, but voters defied the weather to exercise their franchise.
Yiaga Africa enjoined INEC to extend the voting period in polling units where election commenced late due to late deployment of election materials and personnel and in the location where elections were delayed due to rainfall.
It added: “As the voting process comes to an end, INEC should ensure that the ballots are counted openly and the Form EC60E containing polling units’ results are posted at the polling unit for the public.
“To ensure that the polling unit result sheet; form EC8A for each polling is uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal and also post information on polling units where elections did not hold or results were cancelled on the results viewing portal.
“We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws. Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs.
“INEC should ensure due diligence and oversight on the result collation process in blind spots in the riverine communities of Ilaje and Ese-Odo.”
Generally, the process of voting was peaceful and organised, but there were reports of irregularities in several places.
Two injured, suspects arrested as gunmen unleash terror
An unnamed man was stabbed while a five-year-old child was knocked down by a patrol vehicle in Akure, the state capital as Ondo people went to the poll yesterday to elect their governor.
The victims were said to be recuperating at the police clinic at press time yesterday.
Initial reports had indicated that one Gboyega was shot by gunmen who were said to have opened fire at the Ijomu/Obanla area of the state. However, the voters our correspondent spoke with at Unit 4 Ward 4 where the incident supposedly occurred said they were not aware of the incident.
It was gathered that gunmen who wanted to scare voters fired gunshots around Ijomu/Obanla Junction, about 200 metres from the nearest polling unit, scaring off bystanders.
Operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who were near Ijomu Junction, also ran for cover while empty shells of dispensed ammunition littered the tarred road where the incident occurred.
Security operatives comprising the police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) brought the situation under control.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Tope, claimed that the thugs were members of one of the major political parties.
“They came here in their vehicle with guns and started shooting as soon as they came out. One of them went straight to the boy (Gboyega), and shot him at close range.
“The hoodlums are here with us. We know them and the people who sent them. One of them was among those who shot people down the street last week. The boy was rushed to a hospital on motorcycle.
“The disturbing side of it is that the security men came, saw them with their guns, yet allowed them to go. In fact, they escorted them out,” Tope said.
A beverage seller said two suspects were arrested by the police, adding that the two men were picked up for videoing the incident.
“Two men who snapped the injured man were arrested by the police. It happened before the rain started and security came quickly.
“What I heard was that they went straight for the man, tied him and stabbed him. I did not see it happen,” she said.
Confirming the incident, Police Commissioner Bolaji Salami told The Nation that there was no sign of gunshot injury on the victim, adding that he had told the police he knew those who stabbed him.
Salami said: “We visited the man in the hospital. He is being treated at our hospital. He is stable and his family has seen him.
“What we heard initially was that the man was stabbed. But when we got there, he had been moved to the hospital.
“We were told that some gunmen opened fire in the area, but we didn’t see them when we got there. However, we have some people in custody who are assisting our investigation. Some people took pictures of the incident and they are assisting our investigation.
“I cannot tell you at the moment how many people have been arrested. We have been making arrests across the state and mopping up. The details will be released after we must have compiled and screened those in custody.”
Impressive turnout as voters defy rain
There was impressive voter turnout in parts of Akure, the Ondo State capital yesterday despite the heavy downpour witnessed in the morning.
As early as 7:20 am, voters, including the elderly, were seen at polling units checking their names on pasted lists and waiting for officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to set up for the day’s business.
Our correspondent who went round some of the polling units at various intervals observed that most of the voters stayed put after voting until the results were announced.
One of the voters, Alakiba Mushi, 78, who spoke with The Nation at Unit 21 Ward 5, said he was satisfied with the peaceful conduct of the exercise.
“This is Ward 5 Unit 21. The voting exercise went smoothly. There was no harassment. I was motivated to vote because I want another good government. I voted since 9 am and I waited till they counted it. I want the new government to give us new enjoyment, free education, free healthcare and everything good,” he said.
Meanwhile, there was general consensus that the election was largely peaceful and credible save cases of vote buying recorded across the state.
Our correspondent observed that canvassers for three main political parties engaged in money games as each tried to outsmart the other in voter inducements.
Amount ranging from N2,000 to N7,000 were offered to voters who presented their permanent voter cards (PVCs) for certain details to be copied.
It was also observed that young women were mostly used as canvassers probably to erase suspicion from nearby security operatives.
Commenting on the voting exercise, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of security, Leye Oyebade, said the exercise was largely peaceful across the state.
He said most of the reports of violence on social media were fake news orchestrated by mischief makers for purposes best known to them.
Oyebade said the police deployed cutting edge technology to ensure adequate coverage of the land, water and air, adding that security dominated the entire state to prevent breakdown of law and order.
Oyebade, who also toured the various polling units and INEC Headquarters immediately voting ended, said the police and sister security agencies would ensure that the collation of results at various levels was seamless.
He said: “We have gone round to see what is happening. The situation is under control. We are now in the critical period which is the time for movement of materials from polling booths to wards, local governments and then to the final state collation centre.
“What we have done is to check the cordoning to ensure that this environment is well secured. You can see the level of security from all angles- north, west, east and south.
“We have secured everywhere. Operatives at the polling units have been collapsed to the wards and local government areas.
“We have dominated the environment with our policemen as usual. From the information I am getting from the creeks and waterways, all is well.
“We want everyone to abide by the peace accord. This place is well secured and we are going to maintain it till the announcement is made.”
Assessing the process, INEC’s National Commissioner, Prof. Antonia Simbine, said it was impressive and an improvement on the Edo election.
She said the police deserved commendation for ensuring the safety of all, adding that she was hopeful the collation exercise would be peaceful.
Simbine said the only area she observed lack of compliance was the COVID-19 protocol, which she noted was a function of the people’s attitude.
According to her, about 75 per cent of the polling units’ results had been uploaded to the INEC portal, adding that some of the results from the riverine areas might come in around midday on Sunday (today).
Simbine explained that the Z-Pad was only used for uploading results to the portal while the card readers were used for accreditation exercise.
No loss of life, materials in boat mishap – INEC
Akure- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday said that there was no loss of lives or election materials from the boat mishap that happened in Ilaje Local Government Area, Ondo State on Friday night.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State, Mr Rufus Akeju, told reporters in Akure yesterday that “all personnel and election materials were rescued when the boat capsized.”
He said the rescue operation was made possible by the officers and personnel of the Nigerian Navy who escorted the boats.
“The movement was eventually concluded and voting commenced as planned in all the polling units,” he said.
Akeju commended the resilience and professionalism of the Nigerian Navy as well as other personnel involved in the exercise.
Deputy Gov accuses security agencies of compromise
Ondo State Deputy Governor and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Hon Agboola Ajayi, has accused security operatives of compromise in the governorship election that took place in the state yesterday.
He said the security arrangement was faulty and compromised.
After casting his ballot at about 11.15 am, Ajayi told reporters at his polling unit in Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government Area, that security agencies did a bad job from what he observed during the election.
He said: “So far, so good. The procedure being adopted by INEC is okay. But from what I have seen, there appears to be a compromise on the part of security agencies.”
The ZLP candidate said everyone celebrated following the relative success the electoral umpire achieved in the recent election in Edo State, “thinking that things were gradually going back to normal. But it appears we are going back to the era of ballot box snatching and violence.”
He enjoined INEC to cancel the results of the units in Owo where a video making the rounds in the social media suggested that there were electoral malpractices at some polling units.
Ajayi said he had watched the videos and in civilised climes, elections in such circumstances are usually cancelled.