…As APC cuts down Iroko

From Taiwo Amodu, Wole Balogun Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Chinelo Obogo (Akure)

THE All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday figuratively cut down the Iroko, as its candidate Chief Rotimi Akeredolu defeated the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Eyitayo Jegede, who was fully backed by Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko, popularly called the Iroko.
This is coming as the governor-elect has promised to banish poverty and stagnation in Ondo State, after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declared him winner of Saturday’s election.
Speaking from his home town of Owo,  the governor-elect described his victory as “an act of  God.”
Akeredolu, in an acceptance speech, shortly after INEC’s declaration, promised welfare and employment for his people and pleaded for the cooperation of all, irrespective of political platform and differences.
“For me, it is a challenge to perform. It is a call to rescue our state and reverse its fortunes.
“I thank the people of my dear state for their steadfastness. You have spoken with one voice. You have walked your talk. You have voted for me as your Governor for the next four years.
“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.”
He  further thanked the electorate for their resilience and patience. “This victory is a confirmation of the willingness and readiness of the people of Ondo to change and seek a better life. I thank you for your faith and confidence in me. I thank all those, whose uncommon sacrifices, contributed in no small measure to the success of the exercise. I appeal to everyone to embrace peace. The safety of lives and property of the people should be of paramount importance to all.’’
He restated resolve to accommodate and serve all indigenes, irrespective of  their individual political leanings.
“I shall, in 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.
(There is) no winner or loser, we are all winners, victory is God-given. We are going back to the basics, farming.”
Earlier, INEC Chief Returning Officer, Professor Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali, who announced the results, said Akeredolu polled the highest number of votes to defeatcandidates of 27 other political parties including Olusola Oke and Eyitayo Jegede of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  respectively.
Prof. Ambali said Akeredolu polled 244,842 votes while Jegede got 150,380 and Oke came a distant third with 126,889.
Giving a breakdown of  the figures, Prof. Ambali said total registered voters were 1, 647, 973,  accredited voters for the election were 584,997.  He said total votes cast was 580, 887 while total valid votes was 551, 272 with total rejected votes as 29, 615.
The results released by INEC showed that the APC won in 14 local government areas, while the AD won in two with PDP also winning in two local government areas. The  AD  candidate, Oke,  won in Ilaje and Okitipupa council areas, while his PDP counterpart also won in Ondo East and Ondo West council areas.
APC’s  victory cut across the three senatorial districts having won in Akure North, Akure South, Ile Oluji/Oke-Igbo, Ifedore, Ose, Akoko South West, Akoko South East, Akoko North East, Akoko North West, Owo, Idanre, Irele, Ese-Odo and Odigbo local government areas. Agents of all the governorship candidates who contested the election signed the results.
PDP kicks
Regardless, PDP agent, Ayo Fadaka, claimed INEC was too hasty in conducting the election,  as he noted that the election was conducted in less than 48 hours after Jegede was declared the PDP candidate by the courts. Fadaka  further alleged that “some individuals were used to truncate the future of the people of Ondo by teaming up to work against the common interest of the people of the state. He  accused  INEC of collaborating  with “the Judiciary to deprive the good people of Ondo good government which the Governor Olusegun Mimiko administration has ensured in the last eight years…”
But, Akeredolu’s agent, Dr Benson Enikuomehin insisted the election was free and fair and said the PDP and its candidate were only looking for excuses to cover up for their failure.
We are still consulting, says Jegede
But, Jegede has said he is still studying the election outcome.
“It is too early to decide on what to do, as a person. My party, the PDP, will decide what to do. We are still consulting with those who matter, so as to know the next line of action.”