Several hours after the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Rotimi Akeredolu, was declared as the winner of the Ondo State governorship poll, the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alliance for Democracy and Social Democratic Party have neither conceded defeat nor congratulated him.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, who is the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Returning Officer for the election, declared the Owo-born Akeredolu as the winner with 244,842 votes to beat 27 other contestants.
Ambali said the candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), the candidate of the AD, Olusola Oke, and the candidate of the SDP, Olu Agunloye, came second, third and fourth having polled 150,380, 126,889 and 10,147 votes respectively.
The vice-chancellor said, “Mr. Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, having satisfied the requirements of the law and having scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and returned elected.”
The returning officer said the state had 1,647,973 voters but 584,997 voters were accredited and 580,887 votes were the total vote cast.
He explained that 551,272 votes were the total valid votes while 29,615 were rejected votes.
My next line of action will be revealed soon –Jegede
Reacting to the declaration of Akeredolu as governor-elect, Jegede, on Sunday, said that he would soon make his next line of action known to the public.
Jegede, who spoke to journalists in Akure, the state capital on Sunday, neither commended nor condemned the conduct of the poll, but said that his reaction about the election would soon be made public.
The immediate former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo State said, “I should thank our people for their steadfastness. We are studying the situation and very soon you will know my position and my party’s position.
“You all know the event that led to the election, we were in court, I got judgment 48 hours to the election; our request for postponement was turned down for reasons not known to us.”
Corroborating Jegede’s views, the state Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Clement Faboyede, disclosed that the party would meet on Monday (today) to take a decision on the election.
“The party will meet tomorrow (today) to announce our decision.” Faboyede stated.
‘Oke studying election results’
The Personal Assistant (Media) to Oke, Rotimi Ogunleye, said Oke would meet with the Ondo AD’s stakeholders on Monday to decide on a line of action.
Ogunleye, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone, explained that the results of the election from all the local government areas would be studied with a view to making an official decision.
He said, “There will be a meeting tomorrow where a decision would be taken.”
We’re awaiting SDP’s action – Agunloye
Reacting, Agunloye, who decried the monetisation of the election, said he was awaiting the action that the SDP would take before he took his own line of action.
He said, “Reports indicated that there was distribution of money, cloths and other things at various polling stations. We will await the action of the party itself before we take our next line of action.”
My victory came from God –Akeredolu
In his acceptance speech in Owo, the governor-elect on Sunday attributed his victory to God even as he commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, the members of the party’s National Working Committee for their commitment to his ambition.
He said, “I wish to express my profound gratitude, first, to the Almighty God whose infinite grace has allowed us to see this day.
“This victory is of God through the people. It is not for me or the APC alone, it is a victory for the people of Ondo State, irrespective of which side of the divide you stood during the election. For me, it is a challenge to perform. It is a call to rescue our state and reverse it fortunes.
“I thank the people of my dear state for their steadfastness. I have heard their messages throughout the campaign to all the nooks and crannies of the state. Today, you have spoken with one voice. You have walked your talk. You have voted for me as your governor for the next four years.
“Today, change has come. I hereby make a solemn pledge that this collective mandate shall address all issues with keen determination. The welfare of our people alone shall be the directive policy of the government.
“I shall, in a few months, be saddled with the task of providing responsible leadership, a leadership that would take our people from poverty and stagnation to productivity and prosperity, from pains and lamentation to joy and laughter. It is the sole reason you have voted for me and by the grace of God I will not fail you.
“Today’s victory is a confirmation of the willingness and readiness of the people of Ondo State to change and seek a better life. I thank you for your faith and confidence in me. I thank all those whose uncommon sacrifice, contributed in no small measure to the success of the exercise. A special show of gratitude must be extended to our security agents for their patriotic duty.”
Buhari congratulates gov-elect
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday congratulated the Ondo State governor-elect, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN, describing his victory at the Saturday governorship election in the state as “a well-deserved victory.”
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President also congratulated the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the Chairman of the Campaign Committee, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, and all party faithful whom he said put in their best and braved the odds to ensure a successful outing for the party’s candidate.
He rejoiced with the people of the state whom he said aligned with his belief that Akeredolu, with his pedigree, possesses the qualities to transform the state into the Ondo of their dreams.
“From the beginning, this election set out to be a different kind of election. The unity and resilience of the party was tested. I am happy we came out of this victorious.
“This is a huge win. The mood today is against corruption, insecurity and for the restoration of the economy and the creation of jobs. This is where the party stands and I am happy that the electorate has read the situation correctly,” said the President.
Tinubu congratulates Akeredolu, Buhari
The National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, has congratulated Akeredolu on his victory in the governorship election.
A statement by Tinubu on Sunday commended the perseverance and persistence of Akeredolu in seeking the governorship office.
The statement said, “Following the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission with regard to the governorship elections in Ondo State, I extend congratulations to Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) on the outcome of the election and for his perseverance and persistence in seeking that office.
“I must also congratulate the people of Ondo State for their generally exemplary conduct on election day and for demonstrating their will to shun the regressive politics of yesterday by returning to the progressive brand of politics that has been the trademark of the people of the state.
“I congratulate all party members in the state, particularly the party’s leadership in the South-West.
“Finally, I must express profound congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari, the national leader of the party, whose stature and dignity helped guide the APC to another victory that should advance the progressive aims of the party and the people.”
He urged the people of Ondo State to support Akeredolu towards developing Ondo State.
Akeredolu’s victory conforms APC’s popularity – Okorocha
The Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has said that the victory of Rotimi Akeredolu in the Ondo State governorship election confirmed the popularity of APC in the South-West and the love of South-West people for President Muhammadu Buhari.
He spoke in Owerri, the state capital, on Sunday, saying that the wide margin with which the APC candidate defeated the candidates of other political parties also showed that Nigerians understood the circumstances that gave rise to the current recession the nation was witnessing.
Okorocha, however, thanked the people of Ondo State for voting wisely and explained that the way they had voted only indicated how highly intelligent they were in interpreting political developments in the country.
He said, “The people of Ondo State have spoken with their votes and they spoke well. Their decision to be part of the APC government at the centre is commendable.”
INEC rigged Ondo election in advance for APC –Fayose
But the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, said the outcome of the Ondo State governorship election was a reflection of a collusion between INEC and the APC to rig the election before it was conducted.
Fayose said as much as he would have loved to congratulate Akeredolu, the role of INEC in awarding victory to him in the election left much to be desired.
The governor, who reacted to the outcome of the election in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Sunday, said INEC gave the APC victory in the election by deliberately replacing the name of Jegede as the PDP candidate, thereby creating a legal logjam that lasted till three days to the election.
According to him, the PDP went into the election with its hands tied to the back because of the actions of INEC, which had no doubt “become an arm of the APC”.
He reiterated that political parties in Nigeria were now contesting elections against INEC and the APC.
The statement said, “To sustain the ‘see and buy’ strategy and legalise money politics, the APC-led Federal Government deliberately created poverty in the country so as to continue to enslave the minds of Nigerians with peanuts to get their votes on the day of election.”
“Although INEC allowed what appeared like a free and fair atmosphere on the election day, the election had been won and lost before it was held.
“For instance, INEC that witnessed the PDP primary that produced Mr. Eyitayo Jegede succumbed to pressure from the APC cabal to replace him with Jimoh Ibrahim, who did not take part in any primary known to the Electoral Act.
“What could anyone have done under 72 hours in an election that was heavily monetised by the APC?
“The whole process was a deliberate sabotage by INEC, which has totally bastardised the electoral process.”
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has said that the result of the Saturday governorship election in Ondo State is an indication that the country is sliding towards anarchy.
It said the situation needed to be arrested now before it would be too late.
PDP stated this on its official twitter handle.
It said, “This is very sad and a sign of a nation sliding aggressively into anarchy under the APC if nothing is done now before it is too late.”
Story by: Tunde Odesola, John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Femi Atoyebi, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Femi Makinde, Olalekan Adetayo, Toluwani Eniola, Peter Dada and Gibson Achonu
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