Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Monday ordered herdsmen to vacate all forest reserves in the state within the next seven days.
The Governor, who made the proclamation via Twitter, said the order had become imperative due to the increasing incidents of kidnap cases in the state.
“These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen,” Akeredolu said. “These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom, and carrying out other criminal activities.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a suit challenging the validity of the primary election that produced Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2020 election in Ondo State.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Iyang Ekwo, the court held that the suit instituted by Olajumoke Anifowose was statute-barred having been filed outside the 14 days allowed by law for a pre-election matter.
The plaintiff in the suit filed on her behalf by Adesina Oke, contended that section 87 of the electoral Act and article 20 of the APC Constitution were violated in the primaries by the state executive committee and local government committee that conducted the election.
Anifiwoshe had prayed the court for an order declaring the primaries null and void and to bar the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Rotimi Akeredolu as the governorship candidate of the APC in Ondo State.
Justice Ekwo, while dismissing the suit, noted that Mr. Akeredolu was nominated by the APC on the 20th of July 2020 and the plaintiffs filed the suit on the 29th of the same month which fell within 14 days required by law but the suit became incompetent due to the withdrawal of the initial originating summons and its substitution on the 20th of August 2020.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has defended calls for the regulation of social media and is advocating the use of gatekeepers to sieve content before they are published.
“There must be gatekeepers. Yes, you want to publish any news you like, there must be gatekeepers using technology that will be able to at least, sieve what is right and what is wrong,” the governor said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday while explaining part of the communique issued by the South-West Governors’ Forum after a meeting held last week.
The Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum blamed fake news for the destruction of properties by hoodlums in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests. He explained that no government would allow fake news to take over the cyberspace.
“When the hoodlums took over, a lot of fake news were fed to the public. People were reacting to it,” the former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, 64, added. “False news were fed to the public, they reacted to it. It led to the destruction of properties, Lagos, Akure, everywhere.”
According to him, “if we cannot be disciplined enough to be able to know that we don’t churn out news that can cause a lot of damage in the society, then the government itself must be proactive enough to find a way to control it.”
While explaining that the planned restrictions on social media would not affect personal conversations, the governor who recently secured a second term in office, said social media is already regulated in places like China and Russia.
“They won’t restrict my personal conversations, they would not restrict what I am saying to my friends but if I want to take out news and say that thousands have been killed in Lekki Toll Gate for instance, then before it comes out, I must have evidence of people who died on the ground,” Akeredolu noted.
“Show me and if it is not there, I will say to you cannot use my band to propagate such news item. That is what we are saying.”
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has defended the freezing of bank accounts belonging to #EndSARS promoters and believes the action is not a conclusion the accounts were used to sponsor acts of treason.
“Speaking very honestly, I don’t see anything wrong in it,” the governor who doubles as the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum said on Wednesday in the latest edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“If for instance, my account was frozen, what would I do? All I would do is go back to court to explain. Even politicians, their accounts are sometimes frozen. You have to go to court and explain. And at the end of the day, the court will say, ‘Leave the account. The account should be de-frozen’ and you take your money back.”
Although some social commentators and members of the public have described the action of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as an abuse of power, the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said the protesters must explain the flow of funds into their accounts.
“If your account is frozen, you justify why the money was there. You come to explain to what use you have put this money,” Akeredolu, who in October defeated Eyitayo Jegede to win a second term in office, explained.
“If it is that ‘Okay, we used this money to pay this caterer to give food to these boys when they were there. We spent money before the hoodlums took over,’ it will be explained, people will know and the accounts will be de-frozen.”
Akeredolu equally downplayed insinuations that the protesters are being charged for a treasonable offence.
“It is just that we (CBN) suspected this account then the owner of the account will explain,” he said, noting stressing that it “is not a conclusion that those accounts were used for acts of treason.”
The request, granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, was filed by the CBN on October 20.
Some of the affected individuals include Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.
Others are Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif. Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.
The court order addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank, directed the banks to freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as Exhibit A and all other bank accounts of the defendants/respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Gatefield Nigeria Limited had earlier sued Access Bank Plc for allegedly blocking an account used to promote media coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
In a similar vein, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who spoke on behalf of some ministers who were present to also commiserate with the Lagos State Government, said the Federal Government (FG) sympathizes with the people.
Fashola further stated that the FG supports an end to police brutality.
The former Lagos State Governor called for peace in the state and assured the youths that all will be well.
He urged everyone to come together and make Lagos great and habitable for all.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented certificates of return to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his running mate, Lucky Ayedatiwa, in last Saturday’s governorship election.
INEC National Commissioner for Ondo State, Adekunle Ogunmola while presenting the certificate at the INEC office in Akure reiterated the commitment of the commission to conducting credible elections.
Governor Akeredolu after receiving his certificate commended INEC for the successful conduct of the election.
He said the conduct of the Ondo election is an improvement over the recent Edo Election.
The INEC had on Sunday announced Akeredolu, the candidate of the APC winner of the governorship election, polling 292,830 votes to defeat his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had 195,791 votes.
A non-government organisation, Yiaga Africa has aligned itself with the outcome of the Ondo State governorship election.
At a press briefing on Sunday in Akure by the group’s Executive Director, Samson Otodo, and other senior officials, Yiaga backed the result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to them, the percentage of votes scored by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu falls within the range it estimated.
“Based on reports from 97 per cent – 291 of 300 – of sampled polling units, Yiaga Africa’s statistical analysis shows that the APC should receive between 48.9 per cent and 54.1 per cent of the vote; the PDP should receive between 31.2 per cent and 36.6 per cent of the vote; ZLP should receive between 10.5 per cent and 13.3 per cent of the votes, while no other party will receive more than one per cent of the vote share,” one of the officials told reporters in the Ondo State capital shortly after INEC returned Governor Aekeredoku elected for another term in office.
As announced by the electoral umpire, Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 292,830 votes, while Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) came second and third with 195,791 and 69,127 votes, respectively.
The incumbent governor sailed to victory after securing 51.12 per cent of valid votes cast in the election, leaving the remaining 48.88 per cent for the other candidates.
Similarly, Jegede had 34.18 per cent and Ajayi scored 12.06 per cent of the total valid votes put at 572,745.
“Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the Yiaga Africa WTV estimated ranges.
“Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, governorship contestants, parties, and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official results for the 2020 Ondo gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units,” the Yiaga official added.
The group insisted that the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the three major political parties that received the most votes.
They also noted that INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots also fell within their estimates.
Yiaga, therefore, called on Governor Akeredolu and his supporters to be magnanimous in victory.
They asked those candidates who did not win to accept the results, saying they reflected the votes cast.
The group appealed to all candidates, parties and Nigerians to show political maturity and maintain the peace.
They commended INEC for its efforts to improve the election day process and efforts to comply with the COVID-19 protocol.
Mr Rotimi Akeredolu has been re-elected as Governor of Ondo State on the back of a campaign in which he promised to provide composed and focused leadership marked by economic growth and improved security for people in the state.
The incumbent governor, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, swept to victory by winning 15 of the 18 local governments.
Governor Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress got 292,830 votes, while Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party and Mr Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party came second and third in the election with 195,791 and 69,127 votes, respectively.
“Having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, I hereby declare Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu of the APC as the winner, and he is hereby returned elected,” Chief Returning Officer for the election, Professor Olayinka said.
Professor Olayinka, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, announced the winner on Sunday at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Akure, which doubles as the final collation centre.
It is the second time the governor is defeating the PDP candidate. In 2016, Akeredolu, with Ajayi as his running mate, defeated Jegede to win his first term as governor. Ajayi fell out with Akeredolu and chose to go against his boss this time around.
Residents of the state came out on Saturday, across 3,009 polling units of 203 electoral wards/ registration areas in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state, to choose their leader for the next four years.
The poll, the second major election to be conducted since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was preceded by a dramatic campaign featuring 17 political parties and their candidates, all racing for the top political office in the south-western state.
Up to 11 contenders pulled out of the race in favour of other candidates just in the final days of the campaign with the trio of Akeredolu, Jegede and Ajayi emerging as the leading contenders.
Ajayi’s conflict with Governor Akeredolu was one of the intriguing issues that provided drama in the months preceding the election in the state.
After surviving an attempt by the State Assembly to impeach him, the deputy governor dumped the APC for the PDP. But after failing to secure the PDP’s governorship ticket, he joined the ZLP – the platform on which he contested.
Governor Akeredolu’s first tenure as governor will expire on February 23, 2021, with victory in the bag, he is on course to govern the state for another four years.
In the coming hours and days, it is expected that the opposition parties that fielded candidates in the poll will make their position on the outcome known.
Under the Nigerian Constitution, the outcome of a governorship election can be contested at the Election Petitions Tribunal and should aggrieved parties be dissatisfied, they can proceed to the Court of Appeal.
Any party who is still not satisfied with the decision of the appellate court is at liberty to approach the Supreme Court, which has the final say.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is confident of winning the Ondo Governorship election, pinning his hopes of securing another four-year term on divine backing.
“Mine [confidence] is about God and that God in His infinite mercy will give me victory,” Akeredolu said after casting his vote at Ward 05, Unit 06, Ijebu 2, Owo, Ondo state. “So, my confidence is in God and I know God will give me victory.”
When asked what he would do if the poll does not turn out in his favour, Akeredolu noted that he has never thought about that but reiterated that he would be victorious.
“Let me tell you something, I don’t ever think about that. So, I don’t know what will happen,” the governor admitted. “All I know is that when my victory is announced, everybody will rejoice.”
While commenting on the conduct of the election so far, he admitted that though the early morning rain may have affected the exercise, he expressed satisfaction that “We have voted in a peaceful manner.”
All is now set for the debate between some of the candidates taking part in the Ondo State Governorship election billed for Saturday.
Two out of 17 candidates were selected and they will take to the stage tonight in an encounter that hopes to unearth the plans of the candidates and how they hope to achieve them.
The candidates are the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede.
The debate is being organised by Channels Television, in partnership with the Civil Society Elections Situation Room and UK AID with support from UK foreign commonwealth development office.
7:03 pm: Governor Rotimi Akeredolu arrived at the venue of the debate but the candidate of the PDP is yet to arrive at the venue.
7:04 pm: The time of the debate has been shifted to 7:30 pm
7:30 pm: The debate has commenced as hosted by Seun Okinbaloye.
7:39 pm: We need a very composed and focused leadership – Akeredolu
7: 39 pm: Things will change for the better in Ondo – Akeredolu
7:41 pm: What I will do within my first 100 days if re-elected – Akeredolu
7:43 pm: PDP candidate has arrived at the debate
7: 48 pm: In his opening remarks, he decries the increase in school fees by the state government and other challenges faced by the people
7:49 pm: Now on break
7:50 pm: Return to debate
7: 51 pm: Focus now shifts to economy
7:55 pm: Jegede speaks on his plans to increase government revenue without increasing taxes.
He says residents would be encouraged and would pay their tax joyfully.
7: 57 pm: Akeredolu, on his part, plans to leverage existing efforts and offers robust internal revenue services.
8: 06 pm: Jegede plans to Improve Bitumen exploration through public-private partnerships.
He said Cocoa output has failed to improve in the state.
8:08 pm: Akeredolu says his administration improved bitumen exploration in the whole of Nigeria, says Jegede failed to give him credit for that.
8:08 pm: Jegede responds saying all Akeredolu said were lies.
8:09 pm: But Akeredolu insisted that the figures are out there to verify, saying he pitied Jegede.
8:12 pm: On OSOPADEC, Akeredolu says his government has done well in the areas of infrastructural development and basic amenities for people of the oil-producing communities, he mentioned power, portable water, and street-lightening to mention a few.
8:13 pm: Again, Jegede disagrees with the Akeredolu on the purported achievements of his administration.
8:15 pm: On his part, Akeredolu says the people are being cared for, especially the vulnerable group who are enjoying free medical care among others.
8: 18 pm: On pension, Akeredolu blamed the two immediate past governors of Ondo State.
8: 20 pm: He alleged that the former governors did not give the pensioners any sense of belonging.
8:27 pm: I am not pleased with Nigeria’s security architecture – Akeredolu
8: 28 pm: There must be deliberate policies to stem security challenges – Jegede
8:31 pm: Why Amotekun Security Network will never fail – Akeredolu
8: 36 pm: On SARS, Akeredolu says personnel should be retrained to curb excesses.
8: 37 pm: For Jegede, SARS must operate within the ambit of the law.
8: 42 pm: Jegede speaks about a fallout with ex-principal, confident of victory.
8:54 pm: On education, Akeredolu gives a breakdown of the efforts so far to improve the sector. He believes it is work in progress and is part of the plans if re-elected.
8: 55 pm: Jegede disagrees with his APC counterpart, saying the hike in education fees, especially at the tertiary level, should be condemned.
8: 56 pm: Akeredolu, in his response, justified the action of the government, he said the government runs two universities and the intention was to provide good education.
8: 58 pm: “Eyitayo, have you not seen the impact of good governance in Ondo?” Akeredolu asks the PDP candidate.
8: 59 pm: “Unfortunately, I have not seen,” I will do more than you sir, Jegede replies
9: 00 pm: Both candidates were left alone to engage one another without the moderator interfering.
9:01 pm: Akeredolu and Eyitayo exchange pleasantries before the end of the debate.