From TUNDE RAHEEM, RAZAQ BAMIDELE and DUROJAIYE ADESEKO Akure
Yesterday, the long-awaited Ondo State governorship election held under a peaceful atmosphere with massive turnout of voters recorded in the ‘Sunshine State’. Early results showed that governor Olusegun Mimiko of Labour Party (LP) was coasting home to victory.
Though not without pockets of hitches, the exercise seemed an improvement to the last governorship election in Edo State. Many were full of praises for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a free and fair election. Sunday Sun reports that there was a heavy presence of security operatives who were positioned in strategic parts of the state to forestall breakdown of law and order.
Election peaceful –Mimiko Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, described the poll in the state as peaceful and expressed optimism that he would emerge victorious at the end of the exercise. Speaking to journalists after casting his vote in Ondo town, he said the reports he got confirmed that the election was peaceful. ACN alleges irregularities
The opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State raised the alarm that the election was marred by irregularities. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, ACN alleged delay in the distribution of election materials and acts of thuggery in the poll. The statement reads, “Inadequate security has been reported in many localities in Ondo State, with the worst-hit areas being Idanre and Okitipupa. In Idanre, for example, thugs on motorcycles are harassing voters and agents of the opposition. There are also reports of stuffed ballot boxes being moved to polling booths with the protection of Labour Party thugs.
In Owo, a state government Commissioner has been arrested by soldiers after he was found with weapons.” The party also complained that many agents of its agents whose names were forwarded to INEC were not given accreditation tags in several polling units across the state, raising fears that they may not be able to monitor the election. He also decried the late arrival of materials to the polling units, adding, “Though election materials have been distributed to many polling units across the states, they are yet to get to several polling units, more than one hour after the election ought to have commenced.” ACN misinforming Nigerians –Akinmade The first frightening sign that the governorship election in Ondo State would not be free of violence manifested at Owo where a commissioner was allegedly arrested with a pistol and a pump action by a team of vigilant soldiers. The reports had it the Commissioner for in company with a local government Caretaker Committee Chairman, were apprehended around 7.30am by the soldiers around Arigidi-Iloro junction within Awaluwa area of the town. A
s at the time of filing this report, it could not be ascertained where the duo were taken to as soldiers who were said to have made the arrest were not ready to entertain questions from any reporter. But when contacted on phone, the State Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade said through a text message that “you can only get that from ACN misinformation stable.” Improvement on Edo guber The INEC National Commissioner in charge of South-South and South West, Professor Layi Olurode, said the election was an improvement on Edo election. “Voting started early in Ondo East and Ondo West and there were no reported cases of violence. It is an improvement on the Edo election.
All the flaws noticed would be factored into our future plan,” he said. He added that security was so tight that electoral officers taking voting materials to their respective centres could not get to the polling centres early. Ondo South Senatorial district In Ondo senatorial district, accreditation exercise commenced about 8:30 a.m. in Ore, Okitipupa, Irele, Igbotako, Odeaye, Ilutuntun, Igbokoda and other towns. Sunday Sun which went round the zone witnessed an impressive turnout of voters, who came out early for accreditation.
As early as 8: 10 am, INEC officials had arrived many polling units with election materials. Many of the voters who spoke with our correspondents at different polling units, expressed satisfaction on the early arrival of INEC officials with electoral materials at various polling units. Sunday Sun also observed that there was no heavy presence of security personnel in most of the polling units compared to the large turnout of voters. Voting peaceful at riverine area
There was heavy security presence in the riverine area of Arogbo, Ajapa, Bolouwo and Ukparama area of the zone. It was alleged that an ex-militant leader, reportedly unleashed terror on presumed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders in the area, seizing their boats and maiming their followers, on the eve of the election. Some boats belonging to the special adviser to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku and that of a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Akpoebi Lubi were allegedly hijacked personally by the militant in Bolouwo town on Friday night. Sunday Sun observed that three gunboats belonging to the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operational Base, (FOB), Igbokoda and the Marine Police were parading the Igbokoda-Agadagba-Arogbo-Bolouwo waterways to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
The INEC officials and youth corps members used as ad-hoc staff for the election arrived Arogbo town, in Ese-Odo council area at about 8.15 am, but officials could not get to their respective polling units until 11: 00 am. The reason was due to late distribution of electoral materials at the collating centre at St. Peter F.A.C Primary School in the coastal town. But it was learnt that people in Arogbo came out in large number in their respective wards, waiting patiently for electoral officials and materials to arrive. Although, the weather was so hot because of the scorching sun, when materials and INEC officials arrived, the people were not deterred as they lined up orderly to check their names on the voter’s register. Voting commenced at about 12. 35pm, while those who were yet to be accredited, did so simultaneously when they were voting.
Polling units visited by our correspondent included; St. Peter R.C.M Primary school, Ojogo unit 001,Gbamila unit 006, R.C.M 2 unit 5 and R.C.M unit 004, all in Arogbo Ward I. Accreditation started as early as 8:am in Idanre, in the Central Senatorial District, as INEC officials and election materials arrived before eight. In Irowo Ward (Ademulegun unit), large crowd of voters were seen on the queue, waiting to cast their votes in an atmosphere devoid of rancour, violence or uncultured behaviour as everybody as conscious and eager to play his or her civic responsibility and right to elect the leader of their choice.
Security Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in-charge of operation, Philemon Leha, described security arrangement in Ondo yesterday as an improvement on the Edo election. Speaking with journalists in Owo, he said that, “Apart from the efforts of other security agents in the country, the police posted two policemen to every polling booth,” adding that, “with this arrangement, anybody who plans to misbehave would just be making a fool of himself.” He, however, expressed delight that “politicians themselves have learnt that any attempt to behave funny would be an exercise in futility.” On the arrest of a commissioner, who was allegedly caught with arms,
Leha, who said he was in Ondo to supervise the election, said he was yet to be briefed. He said, “If he was caught by another security agent, he will surely be handed over to us for prosecution.” While commending the electorate for conducting themselves well so far, he warned trouble makers to keep away from the state, assuring that “my officers and men are solidly on ground to ensure there is no breach of the peace.” Soldiers detain Oke at Igbotako Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusola Oke, and his entourage were detained at Igbotako town for over an hour by men of the Nigerian Army for allegedly contravening electoral law. Oke and his entourage were detained about 6:30 a.m. while soldiers ordered hefty men that accompanied Oke to the town to sit on the ground.
He put several calls to some people believed to be in high places before he was eventually released at 7:35 a.m. Oke, according to the electoral law, was supposed to be in his home town, Ilowo, in Ilaje Local Government Area or within his local government area at the time he was detained at Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Government. In a telephone chat, Oke confirmed that he was at Igbotako and had an encounter with soldiers, but denied that the soldiers ordered his men to sit on the ground. The PDP candidate, who did not disclose his mission at Igbotako, said he met some people sitting on the ground on the order of the soldiers, but they were not his men. Akeredolu loses booth Ondo State governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday lost his polling booth to Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party. LP party polled 144 votes against AC N’s 139 votes while PDP polled 35 votes. 20 votes voided. Akeredolu along with his wife, Betty, voted at Ijebu 2, Ward 5 of Unit 6 in his Owo home town at about 12.55 pm having been accredited earlier at about 10.08am. The total number of voters on the register was 958 while only 378 turned up for accreditation.
The voting that started around 12 noon ended by 3.20 pm and sorting and counting followed immediately in the presence of the party agents, security agents, journalists and a handful of the residents that cared to stay back.
Okitipupa, Ward – Erekiti, Oriola/
Surulere unit 1 – LP-48, PDP-34,
Victoria Nur & Pry Schl Unit 18
Okitipupa market unit
Okitipupa unit 17 ward 2
Ijapo High Schl unit, Ward 4
Yakubu compound (Hon. Jide
Polling Unit 10, ward 5, Oka
Owo L.G.A, ward 9, unit 8
St. Paul Pri. Sch., Ondo
Agunloye unit Akure
Okitipupa ward 8
Oyin Akoko unit 2,
Supare 2 unit 10
Okitipupa, Erekiti ward/oriola/
surulere unit 1
Ifedore LG ward Igbaraoke
Ako Isa unit 2 Ugbe
Ward 006/unit 008
ACN 37. Void 19
Akoko S/W ward 12 Ibaka vs Aud
PDP 38. LP 17
Okitipupa Ilutitun LP 42. PDP 81.
Owo LG/Iyere ward 10/
Igbaraoke ward 1/unit 2
PDP ACN 1
Oka PU10 ward 5
PDP 43, void 17
Futa Akindeko unit 24
Supare 2 Akoko SW
PDP 28, ACN 19
Akure South LG/Oke-aro Idile area
LP-1,100, PDP-39, ACN-12
Ondo west LG,Akinjagunla
Akindeko LP 103, ACN 36,
PDP 28, PDC 1, BNPP 1, CPC 1
LP 240, ACN 63,
PDP 34, PDC 10, BNPP 1, CPC 1
LP 197, PDP 12, PPC 16,
LP 276, ACN 117, PDP 34
ACN 63, PDP 35
Erusu Akoko Ward 10
ACN 676, PDP 108
Majokolasan Unit in Okitipiupa LG
Victoria Nursery Primary School Unit 18