Ondo Election 2020: The Countdown Begins

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INEC Prepared for Ondo Guber Poll, Says REC

By Chuks Okocha and James Sowole in Akure

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, Mr. Rufus Akeju, has expressed confidence that the commission is ready and prepared for Saturday’s governorship election, saying that it will be free, fair and transparent.

This comes as Yiaga Africa has released details of elections, saying that majority of the registered voters of 48 per cent are youths in the age range of 18 – 35.

Speaking in an interview with THISDAY in his office in Akure, the state capital, Akeju said: “As we speak, everything required statutorily has been put in place for the registered voters in the state to vote for candidates of their choice on Saturday.

“In addition, adequate security has been put in place by the commission in collaboration with security agencies through the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to secure the voters.

“Ondo State has 3,009 polling units, 203 registration areas in all 18 local government areas of the state, it has 1,822,346 registered voters, while 1,478,460 of PVCs were distributed and 343,886 of PVCs remaining uncollected.

“The implication of the above is that only 1,478,460 voters that have collected their permanent voters’ cards are expected to come to the various voting points to exercise their franchise on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa said Ondo State recorded a 10 per cent increase in the number of registered voters between the 2016 governorship election and 2019 election.

According to Yiaga, Ondo Central district has the highest proportion of registered
voters (41%), while Akure South in Ondo Central has the highest proportion of
registered voters (15.9).

Details later…

Ondo Guber: Chief Returning Officer not from OAU

By Chuks Okocha and James Sowole in Akure

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Friday said that the Chief Returning Officer for the Ondo State governorship election is not from the state as speculated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP had accused INEC of appointing the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, who it claimed to be a crony of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as the Chief Returning Officer of the election.

The party also said that Prof. Ogunbodede hails from the Ondo State governor’s hometown of Owo.

INEC said that the Chief Returning Officer, whom it refused to name, is also not from the OAU as claimed by the PDP, adding that the Chief Returning Officer is billed to resume duties Friday, October 9.

Speaking exclusively with THISDAY, the National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, stated that the speculation and kite flying relating to the appointment of the Returning Officer for the election shows a limited understanding of the processes and procedures of the commission.

Okoye said that INEC has the exclusive and sole statutory right and discretion to appoint collation and returning officers for all categories of election and will not share this right with any individual or group.
According to him, “The commission does not take dictation from political parties, groups or individuals in the appointment of its ad hoc staff as well as collation and returning officers.
“The commission is the regulatory agency and regulates the activities of political parties and will not allow political parties to regulate it or dictate to it how to organize, undertake and supervise elections.

“I can confirm to you that all the speculations relating to the returning officer are completely off the mark and the people of Ondo State and indeed Nigerians will see on election day that the speculations are without any basis whatsoever.

“I can confirm that the returning officer for the Ondo governorship election is not from Ondo State and not from the university being mentioned. The collation officer will report for duty on Friday, October 9, 2020 and prepare for the collation of the results of the election that will take place on October 10, 2020.

“Moreover, the commission will use the z-pad to upload polling units results into the INEC Result Viewing Portal and this will be available to Nigerians in real time.

“Furthermore, by the time the collation of results moves from the polling units to the ward and local government collation centres, all serious political parties are already in possession of the results and the collation of results at the state collation centre will be done publicly and beamed live to Nigerians.

“The commission is firmly focused on delivering a credible and peaceful election and will appreciate if it is not distracted with speculations that have the tendency of creating doubt in the minds of the people relating to the neutrality and commitment of commission in delivering on its mandate.”

 

APC, PDP, ZLP in Last-minute Rally in Ondo

Main opposition party rejects INEC’s chief returning officer
Electoral body warns staff against fraud

By Chuks Okocha and James Sowole in Akure

The front runners in tomorrow’s governorship election in Ondo State, the ruling All Progressives Party (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) yesterday made last-minute rally for support as electioneering ended yesterday.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of the APC, PDP’s Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), and Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi of ZLP yesterday closed down their campaigns, retreating to their war rooms to strategise on the deployment of officials that would monitor the election and ensure that their votes count.
Already, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has warned his staff against electoral fraud in the election, warning that the full weight of the law would be brought down any perpetrators of electoral manipulation.

He spoke just as the PDP rejected the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope 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 yesterday at a press conference in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The party also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, to order, over his alleged open incitement of violence and alleged importation of thugs to attack the Ondo people with a view to undermining the governorship election.
Makinde said Ogunbodede was a known ally of Akeredolu and also hails from Owo, the hometown of the Ondo State governor.

The Oyo State governor said the people of Ondo would not be getting free and fair elections with the present composition of the 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 also said the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of OAU, Prof. A S Bamire, who conducted the training of returning officers was not a neutral party for the purpose of tomorrow’s election.
The Oyo State Governor threatened that anybody that attempted to rig the election would be reported to the international community.

He noted that their reason for crying out was because once the returning officer made a pronouncement, nothing else could be done other than go to the tribunal.
He queried: “Why did INEC bring somebody from Owo? Why go to OAU? Are there no other universities?”
He said the PDP didn’t want Ondo people to be cheated.

Makinde said: “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 to 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.”

He called on Buhari to call Kogi State Governor, Bello, to order over alleged incitement of violence and importation of thugs to attack the Ondo people with a view to undermining tomorrow’s governorship election.

INEC Warns Staff against Electoral Fraud

INEC Chairman, Yakubu, has, however, charged the staff of the commission to consolidate on the gains on the Edo State governorship election held three weeks ago.
In a statement he signed, the INEC chairman also charged the staff of the commission to resist all temptations that could lead to electoral fraud and that would compromise the outcome of the Saturday election.

He said: “About three weeks ago on the eve of the Edo State Governorship election, I appealed to the hardworking staff of the Commission to rise to the occasion and deliver a free, fair and credible process in accordance with our established policy.

“Indeed, our staff members, assisted by the security agencies and other critical stakeholders, did not spare any effort in ensuring the successful conduct of the election.
“Clearly, Nigerians and friends of Nigeria are pleased with the outcome and we are encouraged by their commendations.

“However, we cannot afford to rest on our oars. Another end-of-tenure governorship election is upon us. There is now an even higher expectation on Ondo State.
“We must consolidate on our recent achievement and account for every single vote cast on 10th October in a transparent manner which will ensure that only the choice of the electorate prevails.

“I, therefore, implore all of you to resist any form of temptation and let your individual actions be guided by the extant laws and good conscience.
“Always remember that any unethical action by one lNEC official is capable of rubbing off on all of us. Remain vigilant, principled and committed to the mission and vision of the Commission.”

 

Ondo Election: I Haven’t Stepped down for Anyone, Says Jegede

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), has denied a report that he had collapsed his structure for another party, and called on his supporters to disregard the report.

Jegede said he was still in the race and determined to win the forthcoming election.

Jegede stated this in a statement issued yesterday by the spokesman of Jegede Campaign Organisation, Mr. Gbenga Akinmoyo, in Akure, the state capital.

The statement was titled’ Eyitayo Jegede remains the candidate to beat’.

According to the statement, the PDP candidate described the report as a mere rumour created and existed in the imagination of “day-dreamers and enemies of Ondo State.”

The statement read, “In a desperate move to deceive the general public some dubious individuals are circulating falsehood that the PDP candidate Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) has collapsed structure. This is a lie from the pit of hell.

“In the last few hours, Eyitayo Jegede has received support from 11 out of the 16 other governorship candidates who collapsed their structures for him and the PDP. He has signed the peace accord confirming commitment to a violence-free election.

“Jegede has meticulously worked to complete his campaign tour across the length and breadth of Ondo State and just yesterday (Wednesday) held the closing rally in an elaborate and colourful ceremony at Ondo West Local Government where thousands of supporters joined Jegede to receive the PDP national officers from Abuja led by the National Chairman, Uche Secondus, several PDP governors and former governors led by the Chairman of PDP Governor’s Forum, His Excellency Aminu Tambuwal in the presence of a long list of party chieftains and stalwarts from all over Nigeria.”

The statement also declared that “Eyitayo Jegede is not only in the race, he remains the candidate to beat.”

Ondo Guber: PDP Rejects OAU VC as Chief Returning Officer
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.

Ondo Election will Be Free, Fair, Credible, Buhari Assures Nigerians

President, APC govs rally support for Akeredolu
Ondo gov jittery of Jegede’s popularity, says Secondus
IG warns politicians against violence

By Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and James Sowole in Akure

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday gave assurances that next Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State would be free, fair and credible.

Buhari spoke virtually yesterday at the grand finale of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship election campaign held at the Akure Township Stadium in Ondo State.
He promised that security agents shall perform their duties creditably to forestall the breakdown of law and order by unscrupulous elements.

Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state, Buhari; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Chairman of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) National Caretaker and Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni; Chairman, APC National Campaign Council for Ondo State Governorship election and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and several leaders of the party used the opportunity to rally support for the re-election of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

A few kilometres away, in Ondo city, the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, at the final lap of the party’s campaign, said the APC and its candidate, Akeredolu, were jittery of the popularity of the PDP’s candidate, Prof. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN).

However, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has again warned politicians against actions and utterances that could be inimical to a free, fair and credible election, and also cautioned the security operatives, including policemen on election duty to be professional.

APC governors from Kebbi, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, and Kogi States also attended the campaign rally.

Buhari, whose recorded remark was relayed via video, expressed his support for the APC’s governorship candidate, Akeredolu, saying that the incumbent governor deserves to be re-elected so that he can consolidate on his achievements in office.

The president urged the electorate to turn out en masse to vote on Saturday without fear of molestation.

He said: ”I have no doubt that our candidate is a good brand for the APC to market. I am particularly delighted by his ingenious approach to governance.

”His performance within the limits of available resources is endearing, just as he has taken the state to an enviable level and on the path of prosperity.

”Having had the privilege of commissioning some of his projects, which I consider enduring legacies, I join you here today to declare that Governor Akeredolu deserves to be re-elected to consolidate the good work he commenced in his first term.

”I am not just proud of his achievements; I am confident he will enjoy the mandate of the good people of Ondo State for the second term.”

The president said he had taken a special interest not necessarily because his party is involved but because his focus and attention have been to ensure that the nation maximises every given opportunity to raise the bar in its desire to deepen democracy.

Buhari expressed delight in the internal democracy in the party, particularly on the conduct of the party primary that produced Akeredolu.

The president commended the resolve of other aspirants, who contested the primary with Akeredolu but are now supporting him for re-election.

Also addressing the crowd via a recorded message, Osinbajo said Akeredolu-led APC administration’s achievements are visible in all the nooks and crannies of the state.

According to him, “I do not claim to know more than you about the development in the state, you know best. But I will like to mention a few things you know about the achievements of the administration, not my friend, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).

“I want to call on traditional rulers, chiefs, elderly, market leaders, traders, teachers, students, civil servants and artisans to vote for a politician with integrity, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for continuity of good governance and provision of infrastructure, development and growth of Ondo State. Vote for APC on Saturday.”

The Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Buni, said the people of the state need not start from the beginning but to consolidate.
He enjoined all the people to come out to vote and ensure the continuity of good work.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the governors and other leaders of the party are in the state to reassure the people that they were all in support of Akeredolu.

“APC is here not to cause violence but to win the election. We are all here to express our total support for Akeredolu’s re-election and by the Grace of God, we shall win,” he said.
Fayemi said the support of all other aspirants who are now with Akeredolu, was a boost to his re-election because they are united.

“All I want to tell you is that this is the end of discussion,” Fayemi said.

Addressing the rally, the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello, said what the people wanted was continuity.

Bello, who also addressed the people of Kogi State in Ebira language, urged the people not to allow themselves to be intimidated on the day of the election.

He assured the governor that the Kogi State people in Ondo State that constituted more than 30 per cent of the residents of the state shall vote en masse for him.

The Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who addressed the people of the South-east in Igbo language, urged them to vote for Akeredolu, who is special to them.

Ondo Gov, APC Jittery of Jegede’s Popularity, Says Secondus

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, Secondus, yesterday said that the APC and its candidate, Akeredolu, were jittery of the popularity of the PDP’s candidate, Jegede.

Secondus said this at the grand finale of the campaign of the PDP held in Ondo City, the headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the state.

The PDP chairman blamed the APC and its supporters for the recurring violence in the state, and accused the party of doing all things at all cost to remain in the office.

He, therefore, urged the people of the state to vote out the ruling APC, adding that the party had failed Nigerians woefully at all levels.

Speaking on how to curtail the pockets of crisis threatening the Saturday election, he advised that INEC and security agencies should be allowed to do their duties professionally without interference.

Secondus appealed to the people to protect their votes and resist any attempt by the ruling party to rig the election.

The Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for Ondo Election and Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, reaffirmed the panicky situation of the ruling party, saying the ruling party was planning to rig the election.

Makinde assured the people that the PDP candidate would win the election and bring the dividends of democracy for the benefit of all.

The Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, urged the people to reject the APC with their votes, lamenting that the party has inflicted unbearable hardship on Nigerians.

Tambuwal implored the people to join other PDP states, which have departed from listless chains of poverty, unemployment, economic crunch and diabolical policies of the APC to repress the poor.

Other PDP governors present were: Chief Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Senator Douye Diri (Bayelsa); Senator Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Alhaji Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).

Also at the rally, were former governors of Niger, Ekiti and Osun states: Dr. Babaginda Aliyu, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, respectively, as well as other dignitaries like Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Chief Oyewole Fasawe.

IG Warns Politicians against Violence

The IG, Adamu, cautioned security operatives, including policemen on election duty to be professional.

The force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, in a statement titled: ‘Ondo Poll: IG Cautions Politicians against Violence,’ stated that Adamu warned politicians against actions and utterances that could be inimical to a free, fair and credible election.

Adamu warned that the full weight of the law would be meted out to anyone who engaged in any electoral fraud, including violence, vote-buying, ballot box snatching, hate speeches and other unwholesome practices capable of undermining the peace and stability of the electoral process.

Mba said the IG also assured the people of Ondo State of adequate security measures during the exercise.

He reiterated that adequate deployments in terms of manpower, marine and aerial surveillance and other assets of the force had been made to ensure effective security coverage.

He enjoined all eligible voters to come out en mass to freely and peacefully exercise their franchise in line with their civic obligation, “without any fear of intimidation on the day of the election.”

The statement further said, “The IG has charged all police officers and other law enforcement agents deployed for the election to act in accordance with the Electoral Act and other extant laws guiding their overall conduct before, during and after the elections.

“He warns that police officers and officers of other law enforcement agencies found acting contrary to their oaths of office or in aid of illicit electoral practices will be strictly and personally held liable with dire legal consequences.”

Saraki Demands Free, Fair Poll in Ondo, Rallies Support for Jegede

By Chuks Okocha 

The immediate-past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security officials and the electorate in next Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State to ensure that the peaceful, credible, free and fair process witnessed in the Edo State recent election is not only sustained, but improved upon.

Saraki in a statement issued by his media office in Abuja yesterday advised INEC and security officials to quickly do a comprehensive review of how it achieved the commendable process in Edo State, and ensure that nothing less than that is repeated in Ondo State.

According to him, “These isolated polls as we have in Ondo State next Saturday and recently in Edo State have given us the opportunity to perfect our electoral system. We must continue to improve on the system with every one of these out-of-season elections so that the next general election will perhaps be the best the country has witnessed in the last 60 years.

“It is a good omen that the election is coming a few days after the 60th Independence anniversary of Nigeria. INEC, security officials and all individuals involved in the October 10 election in Ondo State must present a credible poll to all Nigerians as part of the Independence anniversary gifts.

“From the Edo State experience, we have seen that when the process is free and fair, the post-election contestation and the tension they usually generate are easily eliminated. The sides that do not win will be graceful in defeat while the victorious one will be magnanimous in victory.”

“This is how we can build our democracy and make the system work for the benefit of the people.

“So, INEC should replicate the transparent process we saw in Edo State in which results were transmitted electronically from polling units to the collation centres, and it was possible for all interested parties to monitor the returns as they came in.”

Meanwhile, Saraki has urged the registered voters in Ondo State to vote for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who he described as experienced, mature, committed and a brilliant professional that has the ability to think out of the box in finding solutions to the socio-economic problems confronting the state.

“I appeal to the people of Ondo State to vote for Jegede because he will faithfully fulfill all the promises he made to the people and implement the lofty programmes of the PDP,” he stated.

Ondo Election: ADC Candidate Denies Withdrawing from Race

By James Sowole

The African Democratic Congress (ADC) yesterday declared that its candidate, Mr. Dapo Adelegan, was still in the race for the Ondo State governorship seat, contrary to the rumours that the party has formed coalition with a candidate of another party in the next Saturday gubernatorial election in the state.

The National Chairman of the party, Chief Ralphs Nwosu, made the declaration in Akure at a news conference that preceded the grand finale rally of its governorship candidate.

Nwosu, who was represented by ADC National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Suleiman, said the party’s candidate for the state election is the most credible politician in the state.

He said the party is committed to the transformation of Ondo State economy as well as serve the people efficiently.

The party, with less than 48 hours to the election, suspended some of its state executives for anti-party activities.

ADC announced that Mr.  Ibrahim Rasheed is the new acting chairman of the party in the state while Timothy Akinola is the acting secretary.

This is just as some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) announced their defection to the ADC.

Adelegan in his speech urged the party members not to be bothered about defections but to be focused on winning the elections.

He said he has campaigned across the state, and was sure of victory in the poll.

 

Fireworks as Akeredolu, Jegede Engage in Governorship Debate

Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie

The governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, yesterday engaged in live TV debate where both promised the people of Ondo State, of good governance if declared winner in the Saturday governorship election in the state.

The two candidates also promised to boost the education sector, health sector and create jobs for the people, while putting security at the front burner of the their administration.

Akeredolu who is seeking a second term in office, assured the people of Ondo State that he would sustain the existing infrastructure development, which he has achieved in the last four years and also do more in the area of job creation, education, health, security and revenue generation for the state.

“I believe in continuity and I intend to complete some of the projects I have already started, if given the opportunity to govern the state again. We have clear direction of where we are going and we want the good people of Ondo State to vote APC for continuity,” Akeredolu said.

But Jegede accused Akeredolu of under developing some parts of the state like the Illaje area, and also inflicting high cost of education on the people of the state.

He promised the people of Illaje community of better development if voted into power.

Jegede said education, health and infrastructure would be his key focus area, and that he would ensure quality education that would be pocket-friendly.

While Akeredolu promised he would raise the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state beyond its present N2 billion per month without over taxing the people, Jegede promised the people of speedy development by coming up with initiatives that will not dwell so much on taxing the people of the state.

Jegede said with his over seven years of private and public sectors experience, he would deploy such experience to governance if elected as the next governor of the state.

“We have challenges in the health sector of the state but I promise to confront it and give our people better healthcare delivery system if voted for. I am bothered about the high cost of health services in the state and I hope to address all of that and reduce cost of education and create jobs in the state, if voted for,” Jegede said.

For economic development, Jegede said he would introduce a tax system that would be easy for the people, while Akeredolu said he would focus on new ideas to raise IGR, without focusing so much on taxing the people.

Speaking on the security architecture of the state, Akeredolu expressed his dissatisfaction over the collapse of security.

“I can assure you that I’m not pleased with our security architecture in the state today. I am one of the strong advocates for multi-level policing, which the country is ripe for. The collapse of security in Ondo and other South-west states, compelled some of us to seek for alternative security network, which we named Amotekun, which is backed by law and it has come to stay,” Akeredolu explained.

But Jegede accused Akeredolu of increasing school fees beyond the financial capacity of poor parents.

“For eight years before Governor Akeredolu came into power, the tuition fees were between N25,000 and N35,000 per session, but as soon as he came in, it was increased to N150,000 which he later reduced a little after criticism. We have a number of our students out of school and teachers are not being encouraged because of non-payment of salaries.”

Akeredolu however said the fees were increased by the university governing council, stressing that when the students protested and came to him, it was later reduced.

 

Ondo Poll: I’m Confident of Winning, Says Ajayi

By James Sowole i

The Deputy Governor of Ondo State and the candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Hon Agboola Ajayi, yesterday said he would defeat other candidates contesting in the next Saturday election to emerge the next governor of the state.

Ajayi made the boast at Owo, headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of the state during his campaign tour, adding that he has all it takes to defeat other candidates in the election.

He told the residents of the area not to panic during the election but should go out and cast their votes.

Ajayi said the threat of violence before, during and after the election is an empty one as security agencies would be on ground to protect lives and property.

The deputy governor regretted the violence that he said had claimed many lives during the clashes among rival political parties.

He advised his supporters not to take up arms against anybody, but should go out, vote and make sure their votes count.

Ajayi said:  “We are here to campaign. We are not here to fight anybody. Please, don’t allow anybody to provoke you. Vote and protect your votes.”

In his remark, former Governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun  Mimiko, said many people were scared to attend political rallies because of the violence of the past.

Mimiko, who is the national leader of ZLP, said not less than five people have lost their lives in the last few weeks as a result of political violence in the state.

“They should ask the state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, why his party members are using guns to pursue members of rival political parties.”

Buhari: Ondo Guber Poll will be Free, Fair, Credible
By James Sowole
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday has assured Nigerians that Saturday’s October 10, 2020 governorship election in Ondo State will be free, fair and credible.
Buhari gave the assurance at the grand finale of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship election campaign held at the Akure Township Stadium.
He promised that security agents shall perform their duties creditably to forestall any breakdown of law and order by unscrupulous elements.
The rally was attended by the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, APC governors from Kebbi, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Kogi and the Chairman, Governorship Campaign Council and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu.
The rally was also attended by some serving senators, members of the House of Representatives, some ministers and leaders of the APC.
The president, whose recorded remark was relayed via video, expressed his support for the APC candidate, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), said the incumbent governor deserves to be reelected  as the Governor of Ondo State so that he can consolidate on his achievements since he assumed office.
The president urged the electorate to turn out en masse to vote on Saturday without fear of molestation.
”I have no doubt that our candidate is a good brand for the APC to market. I am particularly delighted by his ingenious approach to governance.
”His performance within the limits of available resources is endearing, just as he has taken the state to an enviable level and on the path of prosperity.
”Having had the privilege of commissioning some of his projects, which I consider enduring legacies, I join you here today to declare that Governor Akeredolu deserves to be re-elected to consolidate the good work he commenced in his first term.
”I am not just proud of his achievements; I am confident he will enjoy the mandate of the good people of Ondo State for the second term.
”I have taken a special interest not necessarily because my party is involved but because my focus and attention have been to ensure that we maximize every given opportunity to raise the bar in our collective desire to deepen democracy,’’ he said.
Buhari expressed delight on the internal democracy in the party, particularly on the conduct of the party primary that produced Akeredolu.
The president commended the resolve of other aspirants, who contested the primary with Akeredolu but are now supporting him for re-election.
”May I, therefore, salute all other governorship aspirants who accepted the outcome of the primary election and decided to work for the success of the candidate and incumbent, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN). Their patriotic and selfless conduct shall serve as an enduring reference point in party politics.
”I must not fail to equally acknowledge the efforts made by party leaders, especially from the South-west, who spared time to manage the post-primary period ahead of today,” he said.
Buhari address was buttressed by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who highlighted some of the projects of Akeredolu in the three senatorial districts of the state.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, said Ondo State people need to consolidate on Akeredolu’s achievements.
He enjoined all the people of the state to go out and vote and ensure continuity of Akredolu’s good works.
The Chairman of the Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the governors and other leaders of the party are in the state to reassure the people that they are all in support of Akeredolu.
“APC is here not to cause violence but to win election. We are all here to express our total support for Akeredolu’s re-election and by the Grace of God, we shall win,” he said.
Fayemi said the support of all other aspirants, who are now with Akeredolu, is a boost to Akeredolu’s re-election because they are more united.
“All I want to tell you is that this is the end of discussion,” Fayemi said.
Addressing the rally, the Governor of Yobe State, Mr Yahah Bello, said what the people wanted is continuity.
Bello, who also addressed the people of Kogi State in Ebira language, urged the people not to allow themselves to be intimidated on the day of election.
He assured Akeredolu that the Kogi State people in Ondo State that constituted more than 30 per cent of the residents of the state shall vote en masse for him.
The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, who addressed the people on behalf of South-east in Igbo Language, urged the people of the area living in the state to vote for Akeredolu, who is special to them.

INEC Expresses Concern over Violence in Ondo

Akeredolu, Jegede, Ajayi commit to peaceful poll
US demands transparent election

Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and James Sowole in Akure

Ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has raised the alarm over the tensions threatening the Saturday poll.

However, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Rotimi Akeredolu; candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede; and their Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) counterpart, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, yesterday signed a peace accord superintended by the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Meanwhile, the United States has urged all stakeholders in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties, and the security services to take concrete steps to ensure a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful election in Ondo State.

Speaking yesterday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, during the signing of the peace accord, the INEC chairman stated that by their continuous and consistent engagement for peace in Nigeria, members of the NPC have, once again, demonstrated that moral suasion is as important as statutory authority in promoting peaceful co-existence and nation-building.

The event was witnessed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III; His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; Bishop Matthew Kukah and other eminent members of the NPC.

Yakubu declared that the charged atmosphere threatening Saturday’s election in the state demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections.

“Unfortunately, the Ondo State governorship election holding this Saturday is generating its own tensions,” Yakubu said, explaining: “The charged atmosphere demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections which, I understand, are the five cardinal pillars on which the Peace Accord rests.

He added: “Without peace, our deployment plans, new innovations in result management, the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections will be undermined.

“Even worse, public health will be jeopardised as the observance of safety protocols in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic will be impossible to achieve in an atmosphere of disruption, violence and disorder.

“It is, therefore, important for everyone to maintain peace. I wish to assure the Peace Committee of INEC’s commitment to transparent and credible elections.

“The votes will count. I call on all political parties and candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord by appealing to your supporters to maintain the peace before, during and after the elections.”

In his virtual message, the Chairman of the NPC, Abdulsalami urged the stakeholders to ensure a peaceful and credible election in the state, stressing that there would be no meaningful development without a peaceful and credible election.

“Citizens should know that nothing could be achieved without peace. So, during this election citizens are urged to abide by the COVID-19 regulations and keep the process safe,” he said.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar, urged the candidates to abide by the peace accord.

“I will like to call on you not to see the signing of this Peace Accord as just a mere ceremony formality but as a commitment by all of you, in fact, a covenant by which you will be held responsible for the outcome at the end of the day,” he said, urging: “I want to call on you once more to obey the rules of the game. I call it a game because I see the election as a game where there must be a winner. There must be one winner who has already been ordained by the Almighty God before the casting of the first ballot and we do not know the person.”

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, represented by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of Research, Mr. Adeleye Oyegbade, assured the people that the Police will improve on the achievements they recorded in the Edo State election by protecting the process.

“We are asking that the electorate should come out; we have enough personnel on [the] ground, [and] we have enough facility on [the] ground to ensure a hitch-free election. We are going to improve on what we did in Edo State,” he said.

Speaking after signing the peace accord, the candidate of the ZLP, Ajayi, said: “Let me join everybody to appreciate our leaders; let me use our former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, as a point of contact to appreciate all members of the Peace Accord.

“Having said that, I want to let all of us know that our party, the Zenith Labour Party, has always, and will continue, to conduct ourselves in a most peaceful and democratic manner into this exercise; we have started and the whole world is watching all of us, you have never one day noticed our campaign train attacked and we never attacked anybody.

“We will continue to appeal to those attacking themselves to see the election as a democratic programme that is set out with an agenda that is guided by rules and democratic guidelines. We are praying that on the October 10 that our votes will count.

“Once again, let me say that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any citizen.”

Jegede of the PDP commended the committee for the commitment to peaceful elections in the country He said: “Let me give a firm commitment on behalf of the PDP, which I have the privilege and the honour to represent in the election coming up on the 10 of October to say that we are convinced on the need for peace not only in Ondo State but in the entire country.

“Let me also say that for me as a person, I am absolutely committed to a peaceful election, before the election and even after the election, when the results have been announced. I say that there is no option for us other than to follow a peaceful process.

“I implore our security agencies, especially the Police to ensure that they comply with the rules, it is not enough to say that you want to be neutral, neutrality may mean staying aloof and not interfering.

“I urge you as security agencies to ensure that you comply with all the provisions of the law, including making arrests of those who have cultivated the habit of the destruction of other people’s property and those who are engineering violence, in the cases we have in Ondo State.”

Also speaking, the state governor and candidate of the APC, Akeredolu, pledged to abide by the provisions of the peace accord.

He said: “What we have done this morning is to sign peace accord; the content that was read out to the hearing of everybody and not only for us. Let me again solemnly make my pledge that I will abide by what was signed.

“I want to thank the National Peace Committee. This won’t be our first election, at least for me this will be the third and last time that I will contest election in Ondo State. In the last two occasions, all of us were operating as brothers and I cannot recollect any violence in those two elections but if we have one or two issues here and there, it is not to say that Ondo State people are violent.

“I can assure you that Saturday’s election will be peaceful, as long as the Police are there. For me as the governor of the state, I will still address the people on the need for peace.”

US Calls for Peaceful Poll

Meanwhile, the United States has called on all the stakeholders in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties and security services to take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo State on Saturday.

The US Mission in Abuja in a statement issued yesterday said: “The United States urges all stakeholders to continue to work towards free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections in Ondo State.

“We reiterate our hope that all participants in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties, and the security services will take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo.

“The United States remains committed to the U.S.-Nigeria partnership as we work together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.”
It would be recalled that when the Edo State governorship election was approaching, the US had threatened visa ban on election riggers.

APC Predicts 55% Win for Akeredolu

In a related development, an assessment team sent by the APC National Campaign Committee on the Ondo State gubernatorial election has projected a 55-58 per cent margin of victory in favour of incumbent governor, Akeredolu.

A member of the team, who is also the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, disclosed this yesterday at a media briefing in Abuja.

The team also dismissed fears that the alliance of 11 political parties will stop the victory of Akeredolu.

The VON DG said: “The APC National Campaign Committee sent some of us to Ondo State for on-the-spot assessment of our chances. We spent seven days mingling with people of all classes and cadre. To be frank, without being immodest, Aketi’s chances of winning the election hover between 55-58 per cent.

“Take this to the bank and please permit me to name some projects to be executed and the ongoing ones.

“Infrastructure-wise, he has performed creditably well in Akure, building roads, schools, and hospitals amongst others. In road construction, he has completed 125 kilometres of roads and work is ongoing on 279 kilometres, to be completed in his second tenure.”

Peace Accord: Drama as Akeredolu Rejects Handshake with Deputy

There was a mild drama at the conclusion of the peace accord signing ceremony held in Akure, Ondo State capital yesterday as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu refused to shake hands with the deputy governor of the state and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Mr. Agboola Ajayi.

The candidates of political parties participating in the election, including Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) signed a peace accord as part of the efforts to ensure the exercise is violence-free.

The peace pact was organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.

However, there was a mild drama at the conclusion of the event as Akeredolu refused to shake hands with the deputy governor.

The Master of Ceremony had asked the three major candidates to embrace, shake hands or bump elbows with one another as a sign that they had embraced peace.

Akeredolu greeted PDP’s candidate, Jegede, by bumping elbow with him as requested by MC but when it was the turn of his deputy, the governor refused to shake hands with or embrace him.

Akeredolu merely waved at Ajayi.

Ajayi has been at loggerheads with the governor before and after he left the APC and joined the PDP, then ZLP later.

Ajayi’s defection had generated reactions from both parties with some saying that he should resign.

But Ajayi and his supporters regarded those making the calls as “mischief-makers and political ignoramus”.

Ajayi maintained that he remained the deputy governor of the state, inasmuch as his people who elected him into office had not asked him to resign.

Ondo 2020: Aketi Movement Rallies Support for Akeredolu

An Independent Campaign Group, Aketi Movement has rallied the support of over 100 groups with 200,000 members across the three senatorial districts of Ondo State for the re-election of the state Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).

Presenting the chairmen and the secretaries of the groups to the governor at the All Progressives Congress (APC) state secretariat on Friday, the Coordinator of the Aketi Movement, Hon. Omofunmilewa Ade-Jombo said members of the group have been brought together to work assiduously for the re-election of the governor.

The groups include; artisans, farmers, NUT, NURTW, Not too young to rule, Niger delta elders coalition movement, Coalition for Good Governance, Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria, among several others.

The state APC Vice Chairman (South), Dr. Ayodeji Oyedele who received the lists of the members of the groups said the Saturday’s election has been won already with the massive number of members of the group.

On his part, Akeredolu appreciated the Aketi Movement for its efforts in harvesting people for his re-election.

The governor declared that it is only an APC government that can complete the various developmental projects ongoing in the state.

Akeredolu particularly said the progress recorded so far on the deep sea port was due to the fact that his government is in the same party with the federal government.

He warned the people to reject a party that has no structure anywhere in the state, stressing that there is need for a collaborative development

INEC Expresses Concern over Violence in Ondo

•Akeredolu, Jegede, Ajayi commit to peaceful poll
•US demands transparent election

Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and James Sowole in Akure

Ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has raised the alarm over the tensions threatening the Saturday poll.

However, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Rotimi Akeredolu; candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede; and their Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) counterpart, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, yesterday signed a peace accord superintended by the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Meanwhile, the United States has urged all stakeholders in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties, and the security services to take concrete steps to ensure a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful election in Ondo State.

Speaking yesterday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, during the signing of the peace accord, the INEC chairman stated that by their continuous and consistent engagement for peace in Nigeria, members of the NPC have, once again, demonstrated that moral suasion is as important as statutory authority in promoting peaceful co-existence and nation-building.

The event was witnessed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III; His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; Bishop Matthew Kukah and other eminent members of the NPC.

Yakubu declared that the charged atmosphere threatening Saturday’s election in the state demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections.

“Unfortunately, the Ondo State governorship election holding this Saturday is generating its own tensions,” Yakubu said, explaining: “The charged atmosphere demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections which, I understand, are the five cardinal pillars on which the Peace Accord rests.

He added: “Without peace, our deployment plans, new innovations in result management, the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections will be undermined.

“Even worse, public health will be jeopardised as the observance of safety protocols in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic will be impossible to achieve in an atmosphere of disruption, violence and disorder.

“It is, therefore, important for everyone to maintain peace. I wish to assure the Peace Committee of INEC’s commitment to transparent and credible elections.

“The votes will count. I call on all political parties and candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord by appealing to your supporters to maintain the peace before, during and after the elections.”

In his virtual message, the Chairman of the NPC, Abdulsalami urged the stakeholders to ensure a peaceful and credible election in the state, stressing that there would be no meaningful development without a peaceful and credible election.

“Citizens should know that nothing could be achieved without peace. So, during this election citizens are urged to abide by the COVID-19 regulations and keep the process safe,” he said.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar, urged the candidates to abide by the peace accord.

“I will like to call on you not to see the signing of this Peace Accord as just a mere ceremony formality but as a commitment by all of you, in fact, a covenant by which you will be held responsible for the outcome at the end of the day,” he said, urging: “I want to call on you once more to obey the rules of the game. I call it a game because I see the election as a game where there must be a winner. There must be one winner who has already been ordained by the Almighty God before the casting of the first ballot and we do not know the person.”

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, represented by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of Research, Mr. Adeleye Oyegbade, assured the people that the Police will improve on the achievements they recorded in the Edo State election by protecting the process.

“We are asking that the electorate should come out; we have enough personnel on [the] ground, [and] we have enough facility on [the] ground to ensure a hitch-free election. We are going to improve on what we did in Edo State,” he said.

Speaking after signing the peace accord, the candidate of the ZLP, Ajayi, said: “Let me join everybody to appreciate our leaders; let me use our former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, as a point of contact to appreciate all members of the Peace Accord.

“Having said that, I want to let all of us know that our party, the Zenith Labour Party, has always, and will continue, to conduct ourselves in a most peaceful and democratic manner into this exercise; we have started and the whole world is watching all of us, you have never one day noticed our campaign train attacked and we never attacked anybody.

“We will continue to appeal to those attacking themselves to see the election as a democratic programme that is set out with an agenda that is guided by rules and democratic guidelines. We are praying that on the October 10 that our votes will count.

“Once again, let me say that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any citizen.”

Jegede of the PDP commended the committee for the commitment to peaceful elections in the country He said: “Let me give a firm commitment on behalf of the PDP, which I have the privilege and the honour to represent in the election coming up on the 10 of October to say that we are convinced on the need for peace not only in Ondo State but in the entire country.

“Let me also say that for me as a person, I am absolutely committed to a peaceful election, before the election and even after the election, when the results have been announced. I say that there is no option for us other than to follow a peaceful process.

“I implore our security agencies, especially the Police to ensure that they comply with the rules, it is not enough to say that you want to be neutral, neutrality may mean staying aloof and not interfering.

“I urge you as security agencies to ensure that you comply with all the provisions of the law, including making arrests of those who have cultivated the habit of the destruction of other people’s property and those who are engineering violence, in the cases we have in Ondo State.”

Also speaking, the state governor and candidate of the APC, Akeredolu, pledged to abide by the provisions of the peace accord.

He said: “What we have done this morning is to sign peace accord; the content that was read out to the hearing of everybody and not only for us. Let me again solemnly make my pledge that I will abide by what was signed.

“I want to thank the National Peace Committee. This won’t be our first election, at least for me this will be the third and last time that I will contest election in Ondo State. In the last two occasions, all of us were operating as brothers and I cannot recollect any violence in those two elections but if we have one or two issues here and there, it is not to say that Ondo State people are violent.

“I can assure you that Saturday’s election will be peaceful, as long as the Police are there. For me as the governor of the state, I will still address the people on the need for peace.”

US Calls for Peaceful Poll

Meanwhile, the United States has called on all the stakeholders in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties and security services to take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo State on Saturday.

The US Mission in Abuja in a statement issued yesterday said: “The United States urges all stakeholders to continue to work towards free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections in Ondo State.

“We reiterate our hope that all participants in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties, and the security services will take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo.

“The United States remains committed to the U.S.-Nigeria partnership as we work together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.”
It would be recalled that when the Edo State governorship election was approaching, the US had threatened visa ban on election riggers.

APC Predicts 55% Win for Akeredolu

In a related development, an assessment team sent by the APC National Campaign Committee on the Ondo State gubernatorial election has projected a 55-58 per cent margin of victory in favour of incumbent governor, Akeredolu.

A member of the team, who is also the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, disclosed this yesterday at a media briefing in Abuja.

The team also dismissed fears that the alliance of 11 political parties will stop the victory of Akeredolu.

The VON DG said: “The APC National Campaign Committee sent some of us to Ondo State for on-the-spot assessment of our chances. We spent seven days mingling with people of all classes and cadre. To be frank, without being immodest, Aketi’s chances of winning the election hover between 55-58 per cent.

“Take this to the bank and please permit me to name some projects to be executed and the ongoing ones.

“Infrastructure-wise, he has performed creditably well in Akure, building roads, schools, and hospitals amongst others. In road construction, he has completed 125 kilometres of roads and work is ongoing on 279 kilometres, to be completed in his second tenure.”

Ondo 2020: Aketi Movement Rallies Support for Akeredolu

An Independent Campaign Group, Aketi Movement has rallied the support of over 100 groups with 200,000 members across the three senatorial districts of Ondo State for the re-election of the state Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).

Presenting the chairmen and the secretaries of the groups to the governor at the All Progressives Congress (APC) state secretariat on Friday, the Coordinator of the Aketi Movement, Hon. Omofunmilewa Ade-Jombo said members of the group have been brought together to work assiduously for the re-election of the governor.

The groups include; artisans, farmers, NUT, NURTW, Not too young to rule, Niger delta elders coalition movement, Coalition for Good Governance, Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria, among several others.

The state APC Vice Chairman (South), Dr. Ayodeji Oyedele who received the lists of the members of the groups said the Saturday’s election has been won already with the massive number of members of the group.

On his part, Akeredolu appreciated the Aketi Movement for its efforts in harvesting people for his re-election.

The governor declared that it is only an APC government that can complete the various developmental projects ongoing in the state.

Akeredolu particularly said the progress recorded so far on the deep sea port was due to the fact that his government is in the same party with the federal government.

He warned the people to reject a party that has no structure anywhere in the state, stressing that there is need for a  collaborative development

Peace Accord: Drama as Akeredolu Rejects Handshake with Deputy

There was a mild drama at the conclusion of the peace accord signing ceremony held in Akure, Ondo State capital yesterday as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu refused to shake hands with the deputy governor of the state and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Mr. Agboola Ajayi.

The candidates of political parties participating in the election, including Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) signed a peace accord as part of the efforts to ensure the exercise is violence-free.

The peace pact was organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.

 However, there was a mild drama at the conclusion of the event as Akeredolu refused to shake hands with the deputy governor.

The Master of Ceremony had asked the three major candidates to embrace, shake hands or bump elbows with one another as a sign that they had embraced peace.

Akeredolu greeted PDP’s candidate, Jegede, by bumping elbow with him as requested by MC but when it was the turn of his deputy, the governor refused to shake hands with or embrace him.

Akeredolu merely waved at Ajayi.

Ajayi has been at loggerheads with the governor before and after he left the APC and joined the PDP, then ZLP later.

Ajayi’s defection had generated reactions from both parties with some saying that he should resign.

But Ajayi and his supporters regarded those making the calls as “mischief-makers and political ignoramus”.

Ajayi maintained that he remained the deputy governor of the state, inasmuch as his people who elected him into office had not asked him to resign.

Akeredolu, Jegede, Ajayi Sign Peace Accord

By James Sowole

The Ondo State Governor and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, his two major challengers, the state’s deputy governor and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Hon. Agboola Ajayi, and Eyitayo Jegede, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other governorship candidates have promised to embrace peace in the forthcoming Ondo election.

The candidates made the pledge at the signing of a peace accord organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The event took place at the International Cultural and Event Centre, the Dome in Akure, the state capital.

Addressing the contestants, the chairman of NPC and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), who spoke via Zoom, advised all stakeholders to demonstrate commitment to the spirit of the accord.

The former head of state, who urged the candidates to use the Edo election as a lesson for the Ondo State exercise, called on the electorate to cast their votes in the election without fear of intimidation or coercion.

He explained that those who signed the peace accord had committed themselves to ensuring peace in Ondo State and Nigeria at large before, during and after the election.

“The tension and anxiety associated with election necessitated the setup of the National Peace Committee which is to support peaceful election process and enthrone culture of peace.

“In 2014, the committee conveyed efforts to support peaceful election as well as ensuring a peaceful transition.

“The intervention of the committee contributed immensely to the success of the 2015 election. The NPC has since successfully intervened in the general election to ensure a peaceful outcome to the 2019 general election even at the just concluded Edo governorship election.

“The governorship election in Ondo State is only a few days away and we want peace during and after the election. We want to see Nigeria as a place where people come out peacefully and vote during the election without deprivation and Ondo State deserves this.

“As we go into the election, we have been given assurance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that they will conduct a free, fair and credible election. The rest is left for the voters to do what is right,” Abubakar said.

Also, members of the NPC, Bishop Mathew Kukah, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, charged the youth not to allow themselves to be used for political violence.

According to Bishop Kukah, “It is imperative to call on everyone to work towards peaceful election to ensure peace reign during and after the election.”

In his remarks, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, said the commission had met 12 of the necessary steps for the smooth conduct of the election.

Yakubu urged political parties and their supporters to maintain peace for the conduct of the exercise to be peaceful.

The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, represented by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Leye Oyebade, while assuring the people of the safety of lives and properties, said the police had been able to map out all the three senatorial districts and the 18 local government areas in the state.

The IG advised members of the public to follow the guidelines for a peaceful election.

In their words, the three major candidates from APC, PDP and ZLP, Akeredolu, Jegede and Ajayi restated their commitment to ensuring a peaceful poll.

Other political parties that signed the accord apart from the three major ones included Accord Party, the African Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The event was also attended by the Chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas and the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Fedrick Akinruntan, the Deji of Akure, other traditional rules and religious leaders, among others.

Ensure Ondo Election Reflects People’s Will, US Tells INEC, Security Agencies, Others 
By Adedayo Akinwale 
Thee  United States has called all the stakeholders  in the democratic process, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, and the security services to take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo State in Saturday’s governorship election.
 
The US Mission in Abuja in a statement issued Tuesday, also urged the stakeholders to continue to work toward free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in Ondo State.
It stated: “The United States urges all stakeholders to continue to work toward free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections in Ondo State.
“We reiterate our hope that all participants in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties, and the security services, will take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo.
“The United States remains committed to the U.S.-Nigeria partnership as we work together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.”
Recall that when the Edo governorship election was approaching, the US threatened to impose visa restriction on election riggers.

Ondo Guber Race, a Three-way Contest

By James Sowole

Though, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared 17 political parties and their candidates for the Saturday, October 10, 2020 Governorship Election in Ondo State, only three candidates are considered top contenders in the real sense of it.

The candidates that had been cleared are: Accord Party (A) Rotimi Akindejoye; Action Alliance (AA) Joshua Adewole; African Alliance Congress (AAC), Adeleye Peter; African Democratic Congress (ADC), Adelegan Adedapo; and African Democratic Party (ADP) Martin’s Olateru-Olagbegi.

Other candidates are All Progressives Congress (APC), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Olowoloba Dele; Alliance for People’s Movement (APM) Aminu Olanrewaju; All Peoples Party (APP), Adesanya Olaoluwa; Labour Party (LP) Okunade Taiwo; New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) Ojajuni Eniola; and National Reformation Movement (NRM) Funmilayo Jenyo.

Also on the list of candidates cleared by INEC are Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Babatunde Alli of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP); Dotun Ojon of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

Of these candidates, only Akeredolu (APC), Jegede (PDP) and Ajayi (ZLP) are the top three contenders.

Two of them, the incumbent Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the APC and the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, contested against each other in the 2016 Election.

Agboola Ajayi of the ZLP, is the incumbent Deputy Governor. He was elected along with Akeredolu in 2016 but defected to the PDP in June 2020 to contest for the PDP ticket.

Ajayi lost the PDP ticket to Jegede in a keenly contested primary. Determined to contest the Gubernatorial Election, Ajayi moved to the ZLP and got the ticket of the party under substitution of candidate provision guideline of the INEC.

With just four days to the election, it is still an open contest among the three leading candidates.

Factors in favour of Akeredolu, a senior advocate of Nigeria, include the power of incumbency as governor and federal might as candidate of the ruling party, the cooperation he is currently enjoying among some former aspirants of the party, huge war chest and the fact that he has some notable projects to campaign with. Also, Akeredolu and the APC, has structures in all the nooks and crannies of the state as the party in power. Some policies of his government in the last four years, particularly in the education sector, where fees were increased at the tertiary level, may however have impact on his chances as this has continued to be an issue in the build up to the election

For the PDP, the personality of the candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, a senior advocate of Nigeria and former attorney general of the state, is a major advantage in the forthcoming election especially among the elites. Jegede may also benefit from the “No to Second Term” sentiment among some people and the fact that an indigene of Akure, the state capital, has not had the opportunity of becoming the governor under any democratic dispensation.

The PDP candidate may rely on the structure of the PDP in all parts of the state but may not be as strong as that of the APC for obvious reasons.

However, the fact that Jegede is from the Central Senatorial District of the state, where Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, immediate past governor who spent two terms, comes from, is a major sentiment that may affect the candidate’s chances.

For the ZLP, the grassroots outlook of the candidate and that of Mimiko, who is the National Leader of ZLP and the main backer of Ajayi, is a major strength of the candidate. Also, Ajayi was able to move some supporters from both the PDP and APC along with him to the ZLP, which may be of advantage to him in the election. In addition, some people have seen the emergence of Ajayi, who is from the Southern Senatorial District, as an opportunity for the people from the area to have the governor that can take up the development of the area with vigour. However, some elites may not be too comfortable with the candidature of Ajayi.

In a nutshell, this weekend’s election remains an open one, and anybody’s game.

Ondo Poll: APC Planning to Move Thugs in Buses to Hijack Ballot Boxes, Group Alleges

Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, a group, Human Rights Forum, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of plannibg to convey thugs around the state pn election day in vehicles branded with INEC  stickers to hijack ballot boxes.
Human Rights Watch made this allegation in a statement released by its president, Dr. Emmanuel Akinnagbe, in Akure, the state capital, on Tuesday.
According to the statement, the said thugs have already been distributed across the state and given a mandate to hijack ballot boxes and replace them with already thumb-printed ones in favour of the ruling party.
The statement said: “The plan is that the thugs will move about in unmarked Hilux vehicles and the buses will then be used to snatch ballot boxes.
The group alleged that APC had connived with a ruler in Omifunfun, Idanre and claimed that he was the one harbouring APC thugs meant to snatch ballot boxes in remote areas.
“The thugs have also  been posted to Omifunfun, Okosun and Iramuje. The chairman of the party, Ade Adetimehin, is (allegedly) behind the distribution of thugs, with many of them in his house in Idanre.
“APC thugs have been posted to remote areas and as a vigilant and responsible organization, we cannot allow politicians to turn our state into a  theatre of war.
“ In Ikare, thugs have been deployed to Ala,  and in Ondo, they have been taken to Bagbe, Laje and other remote villages while in Owo and Ose local government areas, all the villages have been filled with thugs. The focus is to hijack ballot papers and exchange them with already thumb-printed ones. From the eve of the elections, they would be shooting sporadically into the air to scare away voters.”
The group therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the international community to take note of the dastardly development.
According to it, the 1983 crisis that aborted Nigeria’s Second Republic started in Ondo State and Nigeria with all the security challenges facing it is now in a very precarious situation,  and could not afford fresh crisis.
“Nigerians must ask salient questions. How did APC thugs get INEC stickers? INEC must extricate itself from this web of conspiracy and demonstrate that the promise of free and fair polls on Saturday is not a fluke,” the statement warned.

Ondo Election: IG to Deploy 33,783 Policemen

•Vows to sustain FSARS reforms

By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado-Ekiti

Ahead of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, yesterday authorised the deployment of 33, 783 personnel for the purposes of election security.

Adamu has also reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force especially as it concerns the activities of the Federal Anti-robbery Squad (FSARS) and other special tactical units of the force.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure ahead of the election, Adamu, said the deployment would comprise 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 special police units.

He said the police deployment would be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other security agencies.

The IG said the personnel would be deployed to secure the 3,009 polling units in 203 Wards spread over the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.

He said the security agents would provide protection for the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electorate, and the residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections.

“In order to mitigate the identified threats, we shall be deploying, aside from our intelligence assets, a total of 33,783 police personnel on election security duty in Ondo State.

“This will comprise of 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 special police units. The Police deployment will be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other security agencies”, he said.

Adamu said the military would be engaged for the purpose of securing the inter-state borders while the Nigeria Police Air Wing would provide air surveillance.

“These personnel shall be deployed to adequately secure the 3,009 Polling Units (PUs) in 203 Wards spread over the 18 local government areas of the state.

“They are to protect the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the electorates, and residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections”, he said.

The police boss said the measures were undertaken after security threat assessment and all the flashpoints and actors engaged in or planning to threaten the electoral process in Ondo State whom he said were identified and strategies emplaced to frustrate their criminal, unpatriotic and undemocratic intentions.

“As we are all aware, there have been pockets of violent attacks by political opponents against each other in some areas in the state particularly in Akoko and Ipele axis.

“As condemnable as these incidents are, because electioneering campaigns are avenues for the candidates to market their manifestos to the electorates and not arenas of conflicts”, he said, warning that “it would appear that those bent on causing political crises in the State are clearly testing our collective will to decisively deal with such threats.

“It is on that note that I hereby warn violence mongers to immediately desist from their uncharitable deviant activities” or be prepared to face the consequences.

He maintained that “political actors and law-abiding electorate that are desirous of a peaceful election in Ondo State can rest assured of optimal security as they exercise their electoral rights”.

The IG said the deployment was aimed at denying misguided political actors that might be bent on threatening the elections through acts that are inimical to the dictates of the Electoral Act, the pleasure of manifesting their ignoble traits.

“We are, by the deployment, sending a strong warning that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies are resolute to bring recalcitrant characters threatening the process to justice no matter their status in the society or political affiliation”, he said.

Meanwhile, Adamu, yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force especially as it concerns the activities of the FSARS and other special tactical units of the force.

The IG spoke during a courtesy call on him by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

A police statement said the IG called on the citizens to exercise patience as the reforms in FSARS and others were in progress, noting that all the already announced measures aimed at checkmating a future occurrence of extra-judicial activities by some personnel of FSARS and other tactical units of the force would be followed to the letter.

He said some of the officers found to be unruly and unprofessional in their dealings with the citizens, particularly the youth were arrested and facing disciplinary action.

In his remarks, the minister commended the IG for his prompt response in tackling the issues and called for stronger collaboration and mutual understanding between the police and the youth.

Ondo Guber Election: 11 Political Parties Adopt PDP’s Candidate, Jegede

By Janes Sowole

Eleven out of 17 political parties contesting in the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State yesterday adopted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, promising to work towards his electoral victory at the poll.

The political parties disclosed their intentions at a news conference held in Akure, the state capital.

At the ceremony which took place at the PDP state secretariat, chairmen and some candidates of the political parties adopted the PDP candidate.

The political parties that adopted as well as the merged their structures with that of the PDP are Accord Party (AP); Action Alliance (AA); Action Democratic Party (ADP); Action Alliance Congress (AAC), and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Other political parties that adopted the PDP candidate are All Progressives Movement (APM); All Peoples Party (APP); New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP); National Reformation Movement (NRM), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of the SDP in Ondo State and the spokesperson of the parties, Mr. Oladele Ogunbameru, said the decision to adopt the PDP candidate was reached last Sunday when it was resolved that Jegede should be supported.

He said the parties took the decision out of their desire for good governance in the state.

Ogunbameru said: “We are committed to good governance in Ondo State, which we believe can only be offered by the PDP at this austere time. There is no gain saying that the present political leadership in the state can best be described as nothing but just an antenna in the face of things.

“The collaboration is an organised effort to save the state from political quagmire and undesirable social economic predicament of our people.”

Ogunbameru said it is the parties that fielded their candidates for the election, and that any candidate that does anything contrary to the decision of the party, does not respect the party.

AAC Condemns Political Violence in Ondo

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The African Action Congress (AAC) has condemned the recent political violence in Ondo State ahead of the Saturday governorship election in the state.

It described the incidents as outrageous and a step backward in the progress made in the September Edo State gubernatorial election generally adjudged as free, fair, credible and peaceful.

In statement issued by the National Chairman of AAC, Mr. Leonard Nzenwa, the party warned political parties, their candidates and supporters to desist from thuggery, brigandage and garrison politics as the era of do-or-die politics has gone.

He urged political parties and their candidates to imbibe issue-based campaigns to enable eligible voters to choose the best candidate that will effectively govern the state and provide essential dividends of democracy that will improve their standards of living.

According to him, the good people of Ondo State demand and deserve a peaceful environment to carry out their civic responsibilities of choosing the next governor of the state.

Nzenwa who also speaks for a faction of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), urged security agents to be decisive and proactive in safeguarding lives and property in the state, and to promptly arrest perpetrators of violence and their sponsors to face the full wrath of the law.

“The lives of Nigerians matter and should not be cut short to gratify the inordinate ambitions of political buccaneers masquerading as democrats.

“AAC demands a credible, transparent, acceptable and nonviolent governorship election in Ondo State this weekend as obtainable in Edo State. Council will be in Ondo State this week to further sensitise the people on the forthcoming election and mobilise them to come out en masse to vote for their preferred candidates and ensure their votes are counted and count in the overall result. This is the beauty of democracy.

“The people’s mandate is sacrosanct; any attempt to thwart it must be resisted by all lovers of constitutional governance in Nigeria. The days of Wild-wild West of electoral robbery and violence are gone,” he said.

Nzenwa enjoined INEC to be neutral and provide a level- playing field to all political parties and their candidates and ensure that all electoral materials needed for the poll are ready and in good condition, bearing in mind that the credibility of the commission as an unbaised umpired is at stake.

According to him, the life of ordinary Ondo person is very important, adding that politicians should desist from toying with it.

Ondo Election: IG to Deploy 33,783 Policemen

•Vows to sustain FSARS reforms

By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado-Ekiti

Ahead of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, yesterday authorised the deployment of 33, 783 personnel for the purposes of election security.

Adamu has also reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force especially as it concerns the activities of the Federal Anti-robbery Squad (FSARS) and other special tactical units of the force.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure ahead of the election, Adamu, said the deployment would comprise 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 special police units.

He said the police deployment would be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other security agencies.

The IG said the personnel would be deployed to secure the 3,009 polling units in 203 Wards spread over the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.

He said the security agents would provide protection for the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electorate, and the residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections.

“In order to mitigate the identified threats, we shall be deploying, aside from our intelligence assets, a total of 33,783 police personnel on election security duty in Ondo State.

“This will comprise of 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 special police units. The Police deployment will be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other security agencies”, he said.

Adamu said the military would be engaged for the purpose of securing the inter-state borders while the Nigeria Police Air Wing would provide air surveillance.

“These personnel shall be deployed to adequately secure the 3,009 Polling Units (PUs) in 203 Wards spread over the 18 local government areas of the state.

“They are to protect the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the electorates, and residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections”, he said.

The police boss said the measures were undertaken after security threat assessment and all the flashpoints and actors engaged in or planning to threaten the electoral process in Ondo State whom he said were identified and strategies emplaced to frustrate their criminal, unpatriotic and undemocratic intentions.

“As we are all aware, there have been pockets of violent attacks by political opponents against each other in some areas in the state particularly in Akoko and Ipele axis.

“As condemnable as these incidents are, because electioneering campaigns are avenues for the candidates to market their manifestos to the electorates and not arenas of conflicts”, he said, warning that “it would appear that those bent on causing political crises in the State are clearly testing our collective will to decisively deal with such threats.

“It is on that note that I hereby warn violence mongers to immediately desist from their uncharitable deviant activities” or be prepared to face the consequences.

He maintained that “political actors and law-abiding electorate that are desirous of a peaceful election in Ondo State can rest assured of optimal security as they exercise their electoral rights”.

The IG said the deployment was aimed at denying misguided political actors that might be bent on threatening the elections through acts that are inimical to the dictates of the Electoral Act, the pleasure of manifesting their ignoble traits.

“We are, by the deployment, sending a strong warning that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies are resolute to bring recalcitrant characters threatening the process to justice no matter their status in the society or political affiliation”, he said.

Meanwhile, Adamu, yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force especially as it concerns the activities of the FSARS and other special tactical units of the force.

The IG spoke during a courtesy call on him by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

A police statement said the IG called on the citizens to exercise patience as the reforms in FSARS and others were in progress, noting that all the already announced measures aimed at checkmating a future occurrence of extra-judicial activities by some personnel of FSARS and other tactical units of the force would be followed to the letter.

He said some of the officers found to be unruly and unprofessional in their dealings with the citizens, particularly the youth were arrested and facing disciplinary action.

In his remarks, the minister commended the IG for his prompt response in tackling the issues and called for stronger collaboration and mutual understanding between the police and the youth.

Ondo Guber Election: 11 Political Parties Adopt PDP’s Candidate, Jegede

By Janes Sowole

Eleven out of 17 political parties contesting in the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State yesterday adopted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, promising to work towards his electoral victory at the poll.

The political parties disclosed their intentions at a news conference held in Akure, the state capital.

At the ceremony which took place at the PDP state secretariat, chairmen and some candidates of the political parties adopted the PDP candidate.

The political parties that adopted as well as the merged their structures with that of the PDP are Accord Party (AP); Action Alliance (AA); Action Democratic Party (ADP); Action Alliance Congress (AAC), and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Other political parties that adopted the PDP candidate are All Progressives Movement (APM); All Peoples Party (APP); New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP); National Reformation Movement (NRM), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of the SDP in Ondo State and the spokesperson of the parties, Mr. Oladele Ogunbameru, said the decision to adopt the PDP candidate was reached last Sunday when it was resolved that Jegede should be supported.

He said the parties took the decision out of their desire for good governance in the state.

Ogunbameru said: “We are committed to good governance in Ondo State, which we believe can only be offered by the PDP at this austere time. There is no gain saying that the present political leadership in the state can best be described as nothing but just an antenna in the face of things.

“The collaboration is an organised effort to save the state from political quagmire and undesirable social economic predicament of our people.”

Ogunbameru said it is the parties that fielded their candidates for the election, and that any candidate that does anything contrary to the decision of the party, does not respect the party.

AAC Condemns Political Violence in Ondo

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The African Action Congress (AAC) has condemned the recent political violence in Ondo State ahead of the Saturday governorship election in the state.

It described the incidents as outrageous and a step backward in the progress made in the September Edo State gubernatorial election generally adjudged as free, fair, credible and peaceful.

In statement issued by the National Chairman of AAC, Mr. Leonard Nzenwa, the party warned political parties, their candidates and supporters to desist from thuggery, brigandage and garrison politics as the era of do-or-die politics has gone.

He urged political parties and their candidates to imbibe issue-based campaigns to enable eligible voters to choose the best candidate that will effectively govern the state and provide essential dividends of democracy that will improve their standards of living.

According to him, the good people of Ondo State demand and deserve a peaceful environment to carry out their civic responsibilities of choosing the next governor of the state.

Nzenwa who also speaks for a faction of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), urged security agents to be decisive and proactive in safeguarding lives and property in the state, and to promptly arrest perpetrators of violence and their sponsors to face the full wrath of the law.

“The lives of Nigerians matter and should not be cut short to gratify the inordinate ambitions of political buccaneers masquerading as democrats.

“AAC demands a credible, transparent, acceptable and nonviolent governorship election in Ondo State this weekend as obtainable in Edo State. Council will be in Ondo State this week to further sensitise the people on the forthcoming election and mobilise them to come out en masse to vote for their preferred candidates and ensure their votes are counted and count in the overall result. This is the beauty of democracy.

“The people’s mandate is sacrosanct; any attempt to thwart it must be resisted by all lovers of constitutional governance in Nigeria. The days of Wild-wild West of electoral robbery and violence are gone,” he said.

Nzenwa enjoined INEC to be neutral and provide a level- playing field to all political parties and their candidates and ensure that all electoral materials needed for the poll are ready and in good condition, bearing in mind that the credibility of the commission as an unbaised umpired is at stake.

According to him, the life of ordinary Ondo person is very important, adding that politicians should desist from toying with it.