Governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko
By Our Correspondents
A wave of congratulatory messages from many dignitaries, including President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark as well as governors, Sunday trailed the declaration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
With the victory, Mimiko made history by becoming the first governor to win a re-election bid since 1983.
Besides Jonathan and Mark, others who felicitated with the governor were Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi; Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him winner, having scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the election, which recorded an impressive voter turnout.
As soon as news filtered out that the governor had a second term ticket, people in many parts of the state broke out in rapturous celebration.
An elated Mimiko, candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the election, in his victory speech, said the vote of confidence by the people in his administration would challenge him to improve on his stewardship in the last three-and-a-half years.
Notwithstanding the decision of its candidate, Chief Olu Oke, who came second in the election to challenge the results, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has conceded victory to Mimiko.
It was also learnt that the party was considering raising a team to persuade the governor to return to the PDP which he abandoned in 2007 when he was forced out of the party’s governorship race, prompting him to run on the LP platform.
On its part, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), whose candidate, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, came a distant third in the Ondo governorship race, said it was studying the results and would make its stand known soon.
Announcing the results of the election Sunday, INEC’s returning officer, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, said Mimiko, having polled 260,199 votes out of the lawful votes cast, had satisfied the requirements of the law to be declared the winner.
He added that Oke scored 155,961 votes, while Akeredolu polled 143,512 votes.
Giving details of the results, Daramola said of the 1,654,205 voters that registered, only 624,659 voted and 594,244 of the votes were valid, while 30,415 votes were declared invalid.
A further breakdown of the results showed that Mimiko won in 13 out of the 18 local government areas in the state, the ACN won in three and the PDP won in two.
The local governments won by Mimiko are Akure South, Akure North, Ifedore, Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo, Ondo East and Ondo West.
Others included Ose, Idanre, Akoko North West, Akoko North East, Ese-Odo, Irele and Akoko South East.
Akeredolu won in his home council of Owo, Odigbo and Akoko South-west Local Government Areas, which is the local government of the incumbent deputy governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi.
THISDAY gathered that with his victory, the PDP national leadership has raised a team to persuade Mimiko to return to the party.
Sources said Sunday that the team comprises a member from each of the six states in the South-west and is to be led by former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Other members of the team include Senator Bode Olajumoke from Ondo, Dr. Yomi Finnih from Lagos, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja from Oyo, Chief Adetunji Olurin from Ogun and Chief Kayode Alufa from Ekiti State.
The source denied rumours that it had been talking with the Ondo governor, clarifying that the team was fine-tuning the strategy for the assignment.
“Now that the governor has won his re-election, we can now have a good pedestal to talk with him,” the source said.
Addressing a jubilant crowd that besieged the Government House, Akure after the announcement of the results, Mimiko promised to make the state one of the best in the world, just as he pledged to re-dedicate himself to the service of the people.
According to him, the people should expect more policies and projects that will improve their living standards and ensure jobs for the unemployed.
The people, who had stormed major streets in Akure, celebrated the victory by singing the governor’s praise.
The large crowd of jubilant supporters, dressed in the LP’s orange colour with a mixture of groups of artisans and others, stormed the Government House where a euphoric Mimiko joined them to dance to music blaring from speakers mounted on vehicles.
Addressing the people, the governor expressed delight over their support to him, saying that the results of the election had reflected the wishes of the people.
On the integration agenda of the South-west, Mimiko said he only believed in regional integration if it was well defined in terms of education, health and other critical areas of development and not in terms of political parties.
However, Oke rejected the results of the election and vowed to seek lawful means to challenge them.
The Director General of the Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Dr. Dare Bada, said what INEC had announced was a decimation of the people’s avowed march towards enthroning integrity, transparency, modesty, focus and action.
Leading the pack of congratulatory messages to Mimiko Sunday, Jonathan said the outcome of the election was in keeping with his administration’s commitment to making elections in Nigeria progressively better organised and more credible.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, urged Mimiko, as he prepares for his second term, to get ready to work even harder to justify the new mandate given to him by the people.
“President Jonathan assures Dr. Mimiko that the Federal Government will continue to engage constructively and positively with the Ondo State Government in collaborative efforts to achieve faster socio-economic development and better living conditions for people in the state and all other parts of Nigeria," the statement added.
The PDP also congratulated Mimiko for his victory, describing the outcome of the election as a fulfilment of Jonathan’s promise to ensure a free and fair election, where the people’s votes would count.
It also chided the ACN for championing tribalism and narrow political adventurism.
National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metu, commended “the people of Ondo State for their emphatic rejection of tribalism and narrow political adventurism which were the hallmarks of the campaign of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the just-concluded gubernatorial election.”
However, the ACN, in its reaction to its candidate’s defeat, said it would take time to study the results of the election before taking a decision.
The party commended the people of the state for their peaceful conduct during the poll.
The party's National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, said in a statement that though the party had received the final results of the gubernatorial contest, it would proceed with a post-mortem analysis of the lapses involved in the conduct of the election.
“All politicians worthy of their salt must always expect victory or defeat. We recognise that it is the sovereign right of the people to decide what kind of government they want. This is the challenge of democracy. Our party believes that there was and still is need for change in Ondo State,” he said.
Mark, in his own congratulatory message to Mimiko, implored him to be magnanimous in victory just as he urged the losers to accept the results in the spirit of sportsmanship.
Mark, in a statement, urged Mimiko to bring all stakeholders in Ondo politics on board in the task of administering the state, adding that the new mandate was a challenge for greater services to the people of the state.
Ekweremadu also described the re-election of Mimiko as the triumph of the people’s verdict and democracy in action. In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu expressed satisfaction with the efforts by INEC and security agencies at ensuring a credible poll.
In his reaction, Obi described Mimiko’s victory as yet another testimony that democracy was taking root in Nigeria.
“The people have spoken; the best candidate has won. While I congratulate my brother, Mimiko, on this victory, which is a re-affirmation of the belief of his people in him, I urge him to continue on the path of service to his people and the country at large,” he said.
Obi’s counterpart in Kwara, Ahmed, also described Mimiko’s re-election as a demonstration of the steady but sustainable growth of Nigeria's democracy.
Ahmed said in a congratulatory message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, that it was particularly heart-warming that despite the anxiety in the build-up to the election, it was reportedly peaceful.
ONDO STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION RESULTS
LGA LP PDP ACN
ODIGBO 13,748 12,272 14,740
OKITIPUPA 11,968 21,024 8,495
ONDO WEST 31,280 6,669 7,225
ONDO EAST 8,404 3,933 2,758
OSE 11,071 5,833 6,376
OWO 14,870 6,058 17,907
ILE-OLUJI - OKE IGBO 11,945 6,521 9,138
ILAJE 8,538 19,281 5,793
IFEDORE 11,062 3,978 5,522
AKOKO NORTH EAST 12,153 6,847 8,693
AKOKO NORTH WEST 11,675 7,847 9,138
AKOKO SOUTH EAST 6,316 3,425 3,380
AKOKO SOUTH WEST 11,833 12,331 13,623
AKURE NORTH 10,857 4,916 5,671
AKURE SOUTH 49,915 12,467 11,955
ESE-ODO 9,139 7,295 2,978
IDANRE 15,990 5,923 5,111
Irele 9,435 9,341 5,066
TOTAL 260,199 155, 961 143, 512