James Sowole in Akure
With the emergence, in the early hours of today of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the October 10 election in Ondo State, the stage is now set for a fresh battle between him and the incumbent Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.
Akeredolu, who defeated Jegede who flew the PDP flag in 2016, had emerged the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the party’s primary held on Monday.
Jegede beat seven others, including the Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, who defected from the APC to vie for the PDP’s ticket, to win the primary.
Jegede scored 888 votes to defeat Ajayi, his closest rival, who scored 657 votes, in the primary that was concluded in the wee hours of today.
The results of the primary, contested by eight aspirants, was announced by the Chairman of the Ondo State PDP Gubernatorial Primary Committee, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Ajayi had defected from the APC to the PDP on June 20 and was cleared by the opposition party for the governorship primary.
The keenly contested election was held at the State International Event Centre, The Done amidst tight security provided by men and officers of the Nigeria police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
The results of the other aspirants as announced by Ugwuanyi are Dr. Eddy Olafeso (175 votes); Dr. Bode Ayorinde (95 votes); Mr. Banji Okunomo (90 votes); Chief Olusola Ebiseni (39 votes); Senator Boluwaji Kunlere (33 votes) and Mr. Godday Erewa (14 votes).
The total number of invalid votes is 64.
The voting process, which started around 2pm yesterday, was halted for more than one-and-a-half hours when a list containing the names of 11 former members of the state House of Assembly was submitted.
Some of the aspirants objected when Ugwuanyi wanted to bring them in to vote after delegates from the 18 local government areas had voted.
However, the list was accepted after due consultation with all the aspirants.
Prior to the voting, commotion ensued at the entrance of the venue of the primary when two men were caught with thumb-printed ballot papers.
The ballot papers, which were later found to be specimen to educate delegates, were thumbprinted in favour of Ajayi.
The suspects, were however, attacked by a mob, which inflicted varying degrees of injuries on them.
The timely intervention of security men at the venue saved the men from further attack.