The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) Returning Officer, Professor Abdul -Ganiyu Ambali, yesterday announced the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Rotimi Akeredolu, (SAN) as the winner of the Ondo State governorship election.
In the final results, the APC candidate polled 244, 842 to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, who scored 150,380 while the Alliance for Democracy, (AD) candidate, Olusola Oke came a distant third with 126, 889.
The final results of the election made mockery of the prediction of political analysts as what was expected to be a three- horse race turned out to be an easy fight for the APC. The PDP and AD candidates were at the receiving end of the ruling party’s awesome structures .
The APC candidate won convincingly in his traditional stronghold of Ondo North senatorial district and also stunned his main rival, Eyitayo Jegede in Ondo Central, which was perceived as the political base of the latter. Akeredolu pulled a similar feat in Ondo South senatorial district, of the Alliance for Democracy candidate, Olusola Oke.
According to the final results, the APC candidate won in 14 local councils of Odigbo, Akoko North-east, Ifedore, Irele, Ose, Akure North, Akoko south, south-west and North west local governments .
Others were Owo, Idanre, Odigbo, Akure south and Ese-Odo local councils. The PDP candidate won in two local councils: Ondo-east and West local. The AD candidate equally won in two local councils of Ilaje and Okitipupa in his Ondo south senatorial district.
While bookmakers are amazed over the feat of the APC candidate, discerning observers are not bemused over the final outcome, particularly the dismal performance of the PDP which is currently the ruling party in the Sunshine state.
So many factors were responsible for the defeat of the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede and conversely, the victory of the APC standard bearer and governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu.
PDP war of attrition / discontent The polarization of the PDP into factions at its national secretariat, also took its toll on the Ondo State chapter of the party, as it was polarised into Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi loyalists. The outgoing governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko accorded recognition to Clement Faboyode as chairman of the party in the state, while Biyi Poroye ably supported by Jimoh Ibrahim pitched his tent with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
While Eyitayo Jegede emerged as candidate at the primary election organized by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Jimoh Ibrahim emerged as the standard bearer at the parallel primary poll conducted in Ibadan, organized by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction. The claim to legitimacy led to sustained litigations until last week when a three man panel of justices of the court of appeal led by Justice Ibrahim Salauwa pronounced Eyitayo
Jegede as authentic candidate.
Addressing newsmen in Akure last Friday, Governor Mimiko acknowledged the fact that the several court cases arising from parallel primaries and leadership tussle were enough distraction which he noted undermined his candidate’s capacity to galvanise support across the 18 local councils in the state.
While justifying his earlier call for postponement of the election, Governor Mimiko submitted that his candidate needed ample time to raise fund and embark on campaigns. He said: ‘’48 hours to election, we are just saying election must go on willy-nilly when we have not adequately prepared for the election. Are we saying that money is not part of this election, or is he expected to raise money within the next 48 hours? The question is why the stubborn insistence on going ahead tomorrow knowing full well that and INEC knows this that they still have up to January , 2016, under the law to conduct this election. ‘’
But while the Ondo State governor was not responsible for the leadership tussle at the national secretariat of the PDP, his party faithful continue to point fingers of scorn at him for creating discontent within the state chapter. Mimiko who dumped the Labour Party, (LP) for the PDP in 2014 was accused of foisting his loyalists who came with him from LP as party leaders in wards and council areas and in the process hijacking the party structures. The opportunity for the aggrieved party chieftain to take their pound of flesh came handy in the just concluded election and they openly indulged in anti-party activities .
Daily Sun gathered that just before the 2015 general elections, former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan intervened in the Ondo State PDP crisis and impressed it on Mimiko to harmonise the party structure by accommodating aggrieved stalwarts, but Jonathan’s admonition was ignored. It was the outgoing governor’s overbearing posture that pushed the likes of the Olusola Oke, the 2012 governorship candidate and AD candidate in the just concluded election out of the erstwhile ruling party.
Awesome Presidency and 2019
The Ondo election can be adjudged as a free and fair exercise, as there was no reported incident of open manipulation of the process.
But Daily Sun gathered that the presidency which wanted to make a statement in the South West, ahead of 2019 general elections deployed its foot soldiers to the Sunshine state.
A party source who craved not to be named revealed that financial inducement played a crucial role in galvanizing support for the winner of the election.
‘’ It will be an insult to say the electorate sold their votes, but here is a state where civil servants are being owed over six months salaries by Governor Mimiko . So, when you talk about stomach infrastructure, it was very easy to sway them to vote for the candidate with the largest cash.’’
Daily Sun gathered that on ground to do the needful on the eve of the weekend election were certain APC governors: two from North Central states and one from North West.