Home Features Ondo Election 2020: The Countdown Begins

Ondo Election 2020: The Countdown Begins

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…As INEC Expresses Concern Over Violence

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.

Credit: ThisDay

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