James Sowole in Akure
The immediate past Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), was monday elected as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the November 26 gubernatorial election in the state.
Jegede scored 760 votes to defeat his only opponent, Hon. Saka Lawal, who scored 22 votes.
The primary election held amidst tight security at the state International Event Centre, The Dome, Akure, was supervised by a team from the PDP National Secretariat led by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson.
The primary was perceived by some people as the first round of the exercise by the party ahead of the gubernatorial election as the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of party has scheduled its own primary exercise for next week.
Though, 840 delegates made up of 609 elected ad hoc delegates of three from each of the 203 wards, 29 state executive council and other automatic delegates from the 18 local government areas of the state were expected to vote, 782 votes were cast. The primary election was supervised by a team of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by the Administrative Secretary, Kabir Omosanya.
All officials and stakeholders described the exercise as free, fair and credible and in line with the Electoral Act.
In an interview, the INEC Administrative Secretary said the exercise conformed with the laid down rules of the exercise.
Omosanya said the commission did not receive any injunction barring it from supervising the primary.
He said there was no directive yet from the INEC headquarters for them to monitor another gubernatorial primary for the party in the state.
In his acceptance speech, the PDP candidate, Jegede, said there was no winner and no loser in the exercise, saying they were all members of the same family. Jegede promised to open the door for genuine reconciliation with aggrieved members of the party.
The candidate said Mimiko had laid good foundation for him to build on, adding that the job had just started.
Also speaking, the runners up, Saka Lawal, promised to join hands with Jegede to ensure that the PDP wins the November 26 election.
While commending the delegates for their be
haviour, Lawal said he would not leave the party for any other party adding that winning the November election is the ultimate.
The Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Seriake Dickson commended the delegates for being orderly and peaceful throughout the period that the exercise lasted.
Dickson expressed hope that the people of the state would repeat what happened in Bayelsa State in Ondo State during the forthcoming election by mobilising electorate to vote for the PDP.
In his closing remark, the state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, said the end of the primary election was the beginning of the real work.
Mimiko said the primary was the beginning of the road to the PDP’s victory for the November election urging all members to go back home and work for the party.
“Go back to your neighbourhood, go to your local governments and go to your wards and preach Jegede and PDP to them,” he said.