James Sowole and Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Tuesday appealed to the National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, to ensure that the votes of the people in Saturday’s governorship election count.
Mimiko said the people of Ondo State would resist any attempt to manipulate the election and tasked the INEC boss to avert a repeat of violence which accompanied the 1983 general election following the subvertion of the people’s will.
The governor who rounded off his re-election camping tour of the state with a mega rally in Akure, the state capital, commended President Goodluck Jonathan over his assurance that there would be free and fair election in state.
He urged the INEC boss to key into this assurance and ensure that those who have vowed to rig the election and unleash mayhem in the state are not allowed to subvert the peoples’ popular will on Saturday.
His words: “We want to thank Mr. President for giving Nigeria a free and fair election in Edo. He promised and he delivered and we believe that he is a man of his words. He has promised that there will be a free and fair election in Ondo State and we also believe him.
“We are appealing to INEC to please for the sake of our nation and peace in our land to ensure that election on Saturday is not manipulated. I want to appeal to Prof. Jega that it is not enough for you to be a man of integrity; you must also ensure that all officers under you are not unduly influenced because we will reject any manipulation of our election in Ondo State,” Mimiko threatened.
Meanwhile, Director-General of Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation (OOCO), Dr. Dare Bada, has said it is confident that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Olusola Oke, will win the Saturday election.
Bada said the party would rely solely on people of the state who in the last two months have expressed their willingness to vote for PDP in the next election.
He said contrary to the propaganda by Mimiko that the PDP had earmarked some money for the coming election, the rich grassroots support, goodwill, past achievements of PDP and poor performance of Mimiko and the Labour Party will earn Oke victory.
He alleged that Mimiko had repeatedly boasted that he was ready to buy votes knowing fully well that he would lose the next election. According to him, Mimiko had set aside a whopping sum of N10 billion for vote trading.
However, as parts of efforts in ensuring free, fair, and violence-free election in Ondo State on Saturday, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, will meet candidates of various political parties as well as other stakeholders in the forthcoming governorship election.
The planned meeting is the fallout of cases of violence recorded at different parts of the state, purportedly caused by supporters of some of the candidates.
Although the text of address containing Abubakar’s message to politicians and stakeholders was not available as at press time, a source at the Force headquarters in Abuja told THISDAY that the police boss would employ the carrot and stick approach.
“Some politicians are very funny with their ‘do or die’ syndrome. Little wonders there had been cases of violence since they started their campaigns. If majority of the people you are going to serve are dead or injured, who are you then going to lead? Politics should not be seen as a do or die affair,” the source told THISDAY.