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Akeredolu: I’ll not betray people’s trust

…votes sold for N1,000 to N7,000 —YIAGA

Exactly 3.03 pm, yesterday, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State was handed another four-year mandate to oversee the affairs of the Ondo State. With 292,830 majority votes, securing out right victories in 15 of the 18 local councils of the state and scoring 25 per cent of the votes in all councils, the Chief Returning Officer for the Ondo 2020 Governorship election held on October 10, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, the vice chancellor of the University of lbadan,UI, returned Akeredolu as the winner of the poll.

The governor, who ran on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, trashed his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, challenger, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede with 97,039 votes. Jegede polled 195,791 votes in the election. Akeredolu’s estranged deputy, Hon Agboola Ajayi, who contested on the platform of Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, came a distant third with 69,127 votes. He trailed Akeredolu with 223,703 votes Supporters of Akeredolu, yesterday, savoured what they deemed a well-deserved and sweet victory as the governor’s vote tally is more than the other 16 candidates put together. Collectively, the 16 candidates got 279,915 of the 572, 745 valid votes, which is 12,915 votes less than Akeredolu’s 292,830 tally. Apart from Akeredolu, Jegede and Ajayi the remaining 14 candidates scored less than 3,500 votes each. The results are as follows: Martin Olateru- Olagbegi, ADP (3,464); Fasua Oyeleye, SDP (3,053); Adelegan Oluwaseyi, ADC (2,440); Okunade Taiwo, LP (1,977); Adeleye Peter, AAC (814); Babatunde Alli, PRP (669); Adesanya Olaoluwa, APP (527); Funmilayo Ataunoko, NRM (468); Ojon Dotun, YPP (398); Aminu Olarenwaju, APM (309); Rotimi Akindejoye, Accord (292); Olowoloba Dele, APGA (271); Ojajuni Eniola, NNPP (222); and Joshua Adewole, AA (93). The election, which was marred by vote-buying and pockets of violence witnessed 41.12 per cent voters turnout as 607,892 out of the 1,478460 voters that collected their Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVCs took part. There were 18,438 rejected ballots and 16,709 cancelled ballots. Local councils won by Akeredolu were Owo, Ose, ldanre, Okitipupa, lrele, Ondo West, Ondo East, Odigbo, Akoko South-West, Akoko South-East, Akoko North-East, Akoko North-West and Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo.

Meanwhile, a civil rights organisation, YIAGA Africa, has condemned the high incidence of vote-trading recorded in the October 10 Ondo State governorship election.

The organisation said it was disturbing that the criminal act of vote-buying happened under the nose of security agents.

The Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, made this known while speaking on a television programme in Abuja on Monday morning.

Itodo, who stated that YIAGA Africa deployed 646 observers for the election, said, “The vote-buying that we saw in this election is quite disturbing. Nigeria needs a national campaign and a national discussion around vote-buying.”

He said a situation “where elections are determined by the highest bidder or the highest spender makes a mockery of our democracy, it diminishes human dignity but most importantly, it also questions the legitimacy of election outcomes.

“For Saturday election, votes were traded between N1,000 and N7,000 in the state.”

Continuing, Itodo said, “What is disturbing is the level of impunity of political actors who engaged in this illegal and corrupt act. You go to polling stations and polling stations have become market places, where, in the full glare of security agents who are deployed to the polling stations, people were just buying votes and nobody reprimanded or arrested them.

“What that tells you is that it appears we have accepted this as a norm and as part of our electoral process and it is very sad.

“The menace of vote-buying is a governance problem, it is an indictment on the political class that they failed to lift people out of poverty, to provide the dividends of democracy and so they use that against the people.”

The YIAGA Africa boss, however, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for the successful conduct of the election.