Governor Olusegun Mimiko, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, seems to be comfortably in the Lead as most voters interviewed after casting their ballots particularly across big cities like Akure, Ondo, Ilaramokin, Idanre, Owo, etc said they cast their votes for the governor. Also, early results collated in many polling units across the state indicated that the governor is leading his closest rivals comfortably particularly in Ondo Central, his senatorial district where he was said to have won with a very wide margin. The governor’s main opponents in the election are Chief Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
Result from Akeredolu unit in Ward 5 Unit 2 in his Ijebu-Owo hometown indicated that he lost to Mimiko. In the polling unit. LP scored 144, ACN 139 while PDP scored 35. The ACN candidate, however, won his ward. Oke beat Mimiko and Akeredolu in his ward, Ilaje Ugbo Ward 3, scoring 178, ACN 13 while LP came distance third with three votes. In Mimiko’s Ward 7 Unit 20 in Ago-Itunu, Ondo town, LP scored 348 votes, ACN 16 votes while PDP scored 13 votes. In the build-up to Saturday’s poll, there were heated campaigns and the state was generally tensed up. The ACN backed by its National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu campaigned vigorously to unseat Mimiko whom it alleged broke an alleged pact with it to join the party. Tinubu is widely believed to have helped Mimiko in the court battle spanning two years before the governor eventually retrieved his 2007 election mandate. Mimiko, however, claimed he did not have any such agreement with the ACN leader.
Yesterday’s election came amid heavy presence of security provided by several security agents mobilized for the poll. A total of 11,000 policemen were deployed for the election. The election was, however, generally peaceful, except for unconfirmed reports of violence in Ido-Ani, Igbotakun, Ilutuntun, Idanre and Ifon as well as claims of sharp practices by some politicians in some areas. Voters trooped out to cast their votes for their choice candidate who will rule the state for the next four years. At most places visited in Akoko Area in Ondo North Senatorial District, election materials arrived polling units as early as 7.45am as accreditation of voters started immediately while voting commenced at exactly 12 PM. Though, other materials got to most polling units early in Akure, the state capital, the ballot papers got late to Ajipowo and Danjuma area due to reasons that is yet to be explained. In Ondo town, which is the hometown of Mimiko, voting was very smooth and orderly except for the arrest of one Oni Samuel, who was said to be an agent of PDP at Unit 22 Ward 7 behind Jolaco Filling Station, with about 100 voter’s cards. Also in Owo, the hometown of the ACN candidate Akeredolu, the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon. Niran Sule-Akinsuyi, was said to have been arrested by soldiers, who allegedly found arms in Akinsuyi’s vehicle. However, the Commissioner of Police deployed to the state for the election, Mr Ndabawa Mohammed, said that though he was aware of the rumor but could not confirmed the arrest, he said that if anybody was arrested, the soldiers are supposed to hand over the person to the police, saying nobody had been handed over to the police. At Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Government, PDP candidate Oke was said to have been detained for more than one hour for allegedly violating law on the restriction of movement. He was, however, later released by the soldiers. But responding, the Special Adviser to Olusola Oke on Media and Publicity, Mr Kunle Adebayo, said Oke was not arrested nor harassed by security forces. “This is a wicked story planted by desperate politicians liars, alarmist and confusionist who are trying to make sensational news out of an ordinary and harmless event which is not in breach of security protocols,” he said. According to him, “Chief Oke was early this morning passing through Igbotako en route Ilowo, Ilaje Local Government his country home, deep on the seaside. As legitimately expected, his convoy of security details and essential staff not more than three was stopped for routine security protocols which include questioning and identification. “This was thorough and professionally done by the highly civil and decent security men. “Nothing incriminating was found in possession of the convoy unlike the liars and enemies of common sense would like the world to believe. The PDP candidate dutifully proceeded later with his journey and arrived Ilowo, in the riverine area where he was accredited and voted accordingly. “Chief Olusola Oke was not detained, indicted, harassed or booked for any infraction. We challenge the fabricators of the sensational report to provide evidence to the contrary.” At Akungba, in Akoko South West Local Government Area, a middle age man was arrested while trying to go through the process of accreditation in two places at different time. In the riverine Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government in Ondo South Senatorial District, that there was no voting in some areas. In Ojigbobini/Igboran Arogbo Ward 2 Unit 10, it was gathered that voting did not take place because the INEC officials could not get speedboat to take them to the voting centers. A credible source also revealed that there was tension in the area, which might have accounted for non voting in the area. It was also gathered that there was no voting in Ugbo Ward 2 because INEC did not show up in the area despite the presence of security agencies at the place. At Igbaraoke and Ilara in Ifedore Local Government, accreditation and voting commenced as schedule in peaceful manner. After voting in Idanre, the state’s Commissioner for Information Kayode Akinmade commended President Goodluck Jonathan for living up to his promise that the Federal government would ensure free, fair and credible election in the state.