Akeredolu Defeats Jegede Again, Re-Elected As Governor

 

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.

A file photo of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (file)

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.

 

Ondo Poll: Yiaga Advises INEC, Security Agencies On Way Forward

 

As the people of Ondo State await the outcome of the keenly contested governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies have been advised on the way forward.

The non-profit organisation, Yiaga Africa gave its suggestion in preliminary recommendations after voting in the election ended on Saturday.

The Chairman of the group’s board, Dr Abdu Hussaini, as well as the co-chairmen of Yiaga Africa ‘Watching The Vote’ (WTV) for the poll, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi and Ezenwa Nwagu, and the group’s executive director, Samson Itodo, jointly addressed a press conference in Akure, the state capital.

They urged INEC to ensure that the ballots were counted openly and that the Forms EC60E were posted at respective polling units.

Yiaga also asked the electoral umpire to upload the polling unit result sheets on its viewing portal, as well as post information on polling units where elections did not hold or results were cancelled.

“We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws.

“Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs,” the group said.

According to them, there is a need to ensure strict compliance with the application of the election guidelines in the result collation process.

Similarly, the group asked the security agencies to ensure their personnel remains professional and non-partisan throughout the election.

They also called for effective security as a collation of results commences while accredited observers and journalists should be granted access to observe the process.

On finding from the election, Yiaga, however, decried the disruption of the voting process and stuffing of ballot box in some areas.

They decried that political thugs stormed an open space polling unit at Idale-Logbosere Ward in Idanre Local Government Area with dangerous weapons, forcing voters to run for safety while the hoodlums allegedly thumb-printed ballot papers and stuff them into the ballot box.

The group also noted the case, which was reported by Channels Television, involving a young man who was stabbed at Ijomu Ward 4 in Akure.

They added that there were reports of voting buying from Akure South, Ose, Ondo West, Ilaje, and Akure North LGAs.

Yiaga, however, commended INEC for the substantial level of compliance with the protocol on voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the photos below is a full communique put out by Yiaga Africa as regards the way forward for all players in the electoral exercise.


On Saturday, October 10, 2020, Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote deployed 600 carefully trained stationary observers and 28 mobile observers in all 18 local government areas (LGAs) of Ondo state to observe the voting process and share reports on the conduct of the election at the polling units’ level. Yiaga Africa WTV is leveraging the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for the Ondo election. As noted in our pre-election statement, this is the second governorship election to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yiaga Africa recognizes the patience and resilience of the people of Ondo to cast their vote despite the rainfall that occasioned delays in some polling units. The security agencies, especially the police, displayed professionalism and civility during the setup and opening of polls. Yiaga Africa hopes that this conduct will be maintained throughout the counting, collation, transmission, and announcement of election results.

This election day situational report provides information and data on the commencement of polls, availability of election materials and critical incidents that may impact on the quality of the election. These are preliminary findings as of 3:00 pm on election day. It is based on reports from 278 of 300 sampled polling units across the 18 LGAs.

Preliminary Findings

Improvement in the Management of Election Logistics: Yiaga Africa notes the improvement in the arrival time and set up of polling units. As at 7:30 am, Yiaga Africa reported that INEC officials had arrived in 77% of polling units. This is a significant improvement compared to the September 19 Edo governorship election, where officials arrived at 7:30 am in 38% of polling units. Although polling officials arrived early in most polling stations, only 3% of polling units had commenced voting, and accreditation at 8:30 am. However, the numbers increased to 89% by 9:30 am and 94% at 10:30 am. The early arrival may not be unconnected with the new policy introduced by INEC requiring all National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) drivers to deploy their cars to the Registration Area Camps (RAC) 24hrs before the commencement of polls. This policy aligns with Yiaga Africa and other civil society groups’ recommendations on transparent and efficient management of election logistics for the election.

Deployment of Election Materials and Personnel: Effective deployment of election materials and personnel remains crucial to the conduct of elections. Yiaga Africa’s WTV observers reported an average of four (4) polling officials in the polling units. Sensitive materials like the Smart Card Readers and Register of Voters were observed in 100% of polling units. In addition, voting cubicles were present in 96% of polling units, and ink pads (in voting cubicles) in all the polling units observed. However, in Atijaye community in Ilaje LGA with five polling units, INEC officials deployed to two polling units. This led to the late commencement of polls as community members insisted that voting would not commence until the materials and personnel for the outstanding three polling units were deployed. Yiaga Africa escalated this incident to INEC, and the issue was resolved. Voting began at 12:15 pm in the affected community. Yiaga Africa expects that INEC will extend the voting time in that community to enable the voters to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right.

Election Security: As predicted in the Yiaga Africa Pre-Election Observation reports (PREO), armed political thugs made attempts to disrupt elections in some polling units. Yiaga Africa received and verified a critical incident in Ijomu Ward 4, Polling Unit 7 in Akure at St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School where another rival thug stabbed a suspected thug attempting to disrupt the election. Sporadic gunshots by unknown armed men also occurred in Oba-Ile, Ward 9, Unit 007, Akure North, LGA.

Voting buying and Secrecy of the Ballot: Yiaga Africa received reports of voting buying from Akure South LGA, Ose, Ondo West, Ilaje, and Akure North. Across several polling units, the secrecy of the ballot was severely compromised despite attempts by polling officials to prevent voters and party agents from showing how ballot papers were marked. These electoral offenses occurred in the presence of security personnel who made no attempt in some cases to reprimand the culprits.

Compliance with COVID-19 Protocol: At the commencement of polls, Yiaga Africa observed compliance with INEC COVID-19 protocol on the 2-tier queuing system in 88% of polling units, the presence of infrared thermometer and disinfectant/sanitizers in 74% of polling units. However, there was a minimal observance of social distancing across all the polling units observed.

Participation of Persons with Disabilities: In assessing the electoral process’s responsiveness to the needs of persons with disabilities, Yiaga Africa tracked the presence of disability-sensitive election materials. Yiaga Africa observers reported the presence of the Braille ballot guide in 59% of polling units, magnifying glasses in 27% of polling units, forms EC 40H (PWD Voter information and statistics) in 93% of polling units and the PWD posters Form EC 30E in 90% of polling units.

Presence of Party Agents: As indicated in the Yiaga Africa PREO reports, the Ondo governorship election will be a keen contest between three political parties. This is supported by the Yiaga Africa findings on the presence of party agents with reports showing that the All Progressives Congress (APC) party agents were seen at 100% of polling units, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) party agents at 100% of polling units, Social Democratic Party (SDP) party agents at 10% of polling units, and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) party agents at 89% of polling units.
Details of Critical Incidents

As of 3:00 pm, Yiaga Africa has received a total of 13 verified incident reports. They include the following;

Late Commencement of Accreditation and Voting in Atijere Community: WTV Observers reported that voting commenced late in Atijere Community in Mahin IV ward of Ilaje LGA because community members protested the non-deployment of essential voting materials. Two (2) ballot boxes were deployed to the community instead of five (5). The community members refused to allow INEC polling officials to set up polling units until all five ballots boxes were available. Voting in the community commenced at 12:15 pm.
Vote Buying and Interference by Party Agents: In St. Paul’s Primary School, Oluwu, Arewa III, Code 015, of Lodasa Iparuku/Likoja Ward in Ondo West, votes were traded for money as voters showed how they voted to party agents before casting their ballots. In St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, 001 of Ifon 1 ward in Ose LGA, party agents accompanied voters to the voting cubicle to see how they marked their ballots. In Ajegunle Erumana LA School 012 of Aheri Ward, Ilaje, voters showed how they marked their ballots to polling agents that were stationed at the polling unit. Vote buying was also reported in Polling Unit 007, Ward 9 in Oba-Ile, Akure North LGA.
Voting Suspended: In open space polling unit 021 of Olufemisoro Street of Okelisa Okedoko / Ogbodo Ward – Code 11 of Ondo West LGA, voting was suspended because the Smart Card Reader malfunctioned and was not replaced.
Disruption of the Voting Process & Stuffing of Ballot Box: Party thugs stormed Odoewu/Onipanu, Open Space Polling Unit (PU 009) of Idale-Logbosere Ward (04) in Idanre LGA with Machetes’, Axes and Guns, voters ran for safety as the thugs thumb printed ballot papers and stuff them into the ballot box. Ballot box stuffing was also reported in Surulere PU (003) in Oke-Igbo II ward of Ileoluji / Okeibo LGA

Preliminary Recommendations

INEC

INEC should extend the voting period in polling units where election commenced late due to late deployment of election materials and personnel and in the location where elections were delayed due to rainfall.
As the voting process comes to an end, INEC should ensure that the ballots are counted openly, and the Form EC60E containing polling units’ results are posted at the polling unit for the public.
To ensure that the polling unit result sheet; form EC8A for each polling is uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal and also post information on polling units where elections did not hold or results were canceled on the results viewing portal.
We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws. Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs.
INEC should ensure due diligence and oversight on the result collation process in blind spots in the riverine communities of Ilaje and EseOdo LGA.
Security Agencies

Ensure adequate security is provided as collation commences across the state. Accredited observers and media reporters should be granted access to observe the collation process.
Security personnel should remain professional and non-partisan throughout the election.
Investigate cases of election malfeasance and ensure the prosecution of electoral offenders.
Yiaga Africa commends the good people of Ondo State for their peaceful conduct during the voting process and pleads they remain patient and peaceful through the voting and counting process. Yiaga Africa will provide updates as the process comes to an end, and collation commences. Yiaga Africa restates our commitment to sharing accurate data and information on the election and results based on its deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology.

If INEC’s official results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated rate, then the public, political parties, and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast at the polling units; however, if the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the polling units’ results, Yiaga Africa will expose it.

“Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”

— End —

Dr. Aisha Abdullahi

Co-chair, Yiaga Africa 2020 Ondo Election Observation Mission

Ezenwa Nwagwu

Co-chair, Yiaga Africa 2020 Ondo Election Observation Mission

 

Ondo Election: Pro-Democracy Group Slams Frontline Parties Over Vote Buying

 

A pro-democracy group, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has taken a swipe at some political parties that engaged in vote-buying in the Ondo State governorship election.

CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, made the criticism while presenting the group’s report on the poll to reporters on Saturday in Akure, the state capital.

She, however, noted that the CDD, in its preliminary findings, observed that a majority of the electorate resisted the attempts by political actors to induce them to sell their votes.

“CDD observers documented instances in which voters revolted against political actors trying to induce them to sell their vote. This was documented in Idanre (Ward 3, PU 6; Ward 8, PU 1,2 and 3; and Ward 5 PU 1).

“In all those cases, voters insisted they wished to vote for a person of their choice; there was a debate, and some were of the opinion that the money should be collected while the voters should vote their conscience,” Hassan told reporters.

She added, “In the end, the majority of voters rejected the money and chased the ‘voter buyers’ away from the polling unit. All these, CDD observers reported, happened in the presence of security personnel.”

The group’s director was worried that despite the resistance from the electorate, some political actors still devised structured ways to engage in vote-buying.

According to her, a consistent pattern of vote-buying was observed, wherein those engaged in such an electoral offence adopt tactics to induce voters while evading the watch of security officials and election observers.

Hassan decried that the situation was worrisome such that political actors attempted to outspend one another by making available large sums disbursed to community leaders for onward distribution to voters.

Away from the challenges faced in the election, she highlighted a number of laudable developments that characterised the electoral process.

The CDD chief commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the timely arrival of its personnel and electoral materials at the respective polling units in the state.

“Our observation of the effectiveness of logistics deployment for the election indicated a general trend of timeliness in the arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“CDD commends INEC for going the whole hog to ensure materials arrived early at most of the polling units. In general INEC officials and security agents arrived most of the polling unit across between the hour of 7am and 8am,” she said.

Ondo 2020: Man Stabbed At Polling Unit

 

A man has been stabbed by unknown hoodlums at a polling unit in Ondo State where the gubernatorial election is holding.

The victim whose name is yet to be disclosed was found bleeding on the floor few metres away from where he was supposed to cast his vote.

He was quickly whisked away from Ijomu Ward 4 where the incident took place and was taken to a police clinic in Akure.

READ ALSO: Drama As Card Reader Malfunctions At Jegede’s Polling Unit

Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of investigations, Lanre Bankole, said the victim is now stable, adding that two suspects have been apprehended in connection with the attack.

He denied that the gunshots heard within the time of the attack on the individual were not from police guns and assured that in due time investigations will reveal what really transpired.

‘God Will Give Me Victory’: Akeredolu Confident Of Securing Second Term

 

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.

READ ALSO: ZLP Candidate, Agboola Ajayi Denies Withdrawing From Race

“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.”

Governor Akeredolu casting his vote during the election.

 

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.”

READ ALSO: Drama As Card Reader Malfunctions At Jegede’s Polling Unit

– ‘Protect Your Vote’ – 

Governor Akeredolu urged voters to cast their ballot, and ensure they defend their votes and make them count.

“Go, stay, cast your vote and move out of the place but don’t move too far and make ensure you protect your vote so that your vote can be counted,” he added.

READ ALSO: [Ondo 2020]: Steps For Accreditation At The Polling Units

The Ondo leader will be battling the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s Eyitayo Jegede, Agbola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) among others for the position.

READ ALSO: [Ondo 2020] Seven Election Offenses To Stay Away From At Polling Units

 

 

 

Ondo 2020: Steps For Accreditation At The Polling Units

 

The Ondo State governorship election scheduled for today is already underway.

For those who will be partaking in the electoral exercise, below are steps for accreditation at the polling units as laid down by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

READ ALSO: Ondo 2020: Seven Election Offenses To Stay Away From At Polling Units

The Presiding Officer (PO) at the polling unit will:

1. Allow voters into the polling unit in an orderly queue.

2. Where culture disallows men and women mingling in a queue, create separate queues for men and women.

3. Introduce polling agents and poll officials present, including the Asst. Presiding Officer (APO) I who will:

Request the voter to present his/her PVC,

Read the PVC using the Card Reader, and

Request the voter to place the appropriate finger on the Card Reader for authentication.

On being authenticated, the voter will present himself/herself to APO II who will request for his/her PVC,

Check the Register of Voters for the records of the voter,

Tick as appropriate on the Register and apply indelible ink on the specified finger of voter’s left hand, and

Issue the voter an accreditation tag.