*Laments Absence of Fair Play
Almost one week after the Ondo State gubernatorial election held last Saturday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, on Thursday, in a statement, recounted the series of events that sign-posted the poll.
He lamented the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to postpone the poll even in the face of overwhelming evidence for such.
While congratulating the eventual winner and fellow Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, he noted that although “the outcome was not what we expected but we are proud to have won the hearts of the people.”
It would be recalled that Jegede, who had emerged as candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP to which also belongs outgoing Governor Olusegun Mimiko, had his name substituted by INEC with that of Jimoh Ibrahim of the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction, following a ruling by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court. This was despite the fact that the primary that produced him held in Ibadan, Oyo State, instead of Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Jegede also recalled that he was only officially recognised officially as candidate around 9pm, on Wednesday November 23, 2016, for the election holding on Saturday, 26th.
This followed the ruling by the Court of Appeal, describing Justice Abang’s Judgment as a ‘fraud’ and subsequently upturning it.
The PDP, he continued, had wanted the poll shifted because, according to him, “the Voters Register for all the 3009 poling units in the state was not released either to myself or the authentic officials of the PDP as provided for by the Electoral Act.
“My name was not displayed for 30 days before the date of the election as provided by section 34 of the Electoral Act, my name haven been previously removed and replaced on the 27th October 2016
“The list and particulars of my party agents was not received by INEC within the prescribed period of 7 days before election.
“Regrettably, INEC proceeded with the election, rebuffing our request and call for postponement that would have allowed fair play and level playing ground considering the fact that we had 24 hours only, to campaign,” he added.
Despite all of these challenges and the refusal of INEC to postpone the election, he continued, “the PDP was able to garner more than 150,000 votes with only 24 hours of campaign and thus placed second by INEC.
Jegede expressed gratitude to the PDP leadership under Makarfi, as well as Dr Mimiko and his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayodele Fayose, PDP governors, Ex-PDP governors who were always in court, among others.