By Chuks Okocha and James Sowole
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday rejected the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, as the Chief Returning Officer of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
The Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, stated this at a news conference in Akure.
Makinde said Prof. Ogunbodede is a known crony of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and also hails from the Ondo State governor’s hometown of Owo.
It said the people of Ondo would not be getting free and fair election with the present composition of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Makinde, who insisted that Ogunbodede would not be a fair party in the proceedings by virtue of his association with Akeredolu, called on INEC to immediately replace him.
Makinde said the OAU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. A. S. Bamire, who conducted the training of Returning Officers was not a neutral party for the purpose of Saturday’s election.
The Oyo State governor threatened that anybody that attempted to rig Saturday’s election would be reported to the international community.
He noted that their reason for crying out was because once the Returning Officer makes a pronouncement, it would resort to going to the tribunal.
“Why did INEC bring somebody from Owo? Why go to OAU? Are there not other universities? We don’t want Ondo people to be cheated.
“We also take this opportunity to call on all lovers of democracy around the world to pay attention to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo State. We call on the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom and indeed all allies of democracy to call INEC to order.
“We call on all security agencies in Ondo State not allow themselves to be used as a tool against the will of the people. We commend you for all you have done so far providing the needed support and security for our candidate and our people.
“We urge you to do more. Don’t forget that history and posterity have never been kind to anyone who allowed themselves to be used as a tool for injustice. We urge you to read the mood of the people and act accordingly. Politicians may come and go, but the people will always remain. Remember, the world is watching,” Makinde said.