The declaration of Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of last Saturday’s Ondo state governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) further demonstrates the sincerity of purpose and commitment of Nigeria’s chief electoral umpire towards the enthronement of a transparent electoral process in the country.
The Returning Officer and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, said Akeredolu scored 292,830 votes while his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), secured 195,791 votes. Akeredolu’s deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), could not muster a win in his local government area of origin, Ese Odo. The PDP, has, however, said it would study the result of INEC, declaring Akeredolu as the winner of last Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Akeredolu won in 15 out of the 18 local government areas in the state.
With over 97,000 votes between Akeredolu and Jegede, the Ondo state governor won, beating
Jegede for the second time. The two SANs squared up in the 2016 governorship election, which brought in Akeredolu, as the governor, for the first term.
In his address to the people of the state on his victory, Akeredolu described his main challenger, Jegede, as a worthy adversary.
Akeredolu said Jegede’s participation in the electoral process was historic.
“Jegede’s patriotism is not in doubt. His love for the people is unassailable. He is indeed a worthy adversary. Our state is indeed blessed for having people of his quality.”
Akeredolu said the renewal of his mandate was an eloquent testimony to the degree of acceptance the people of Ondo state have for him. “It affirms that the confidence reposed in our administration remains unshaken. It is a statement on your assessment of our performance in the last three and a half years.
It is unequivocal, direct, inspiring and soul lifting. It is awesome. It is a reward for hard work, dedication, focus, honesty and patriotism. It is also a challenge to us for rededication to service in the interest of our people. On this, we shall not relent.”
He said the administration has not relented in the promises made when he was elected for the first term, adding that the achievements in various sectors are testimonies for the dedication to serve the people. He promised that the administration shall continue to make people its priority.
Though Jegede was not available for comments on the outcome of the election, the spokesman of his campaign organisation, Mr. Gbenga Akinmoyo, commended the people that voted according to their conscience.
He said: “We use this medium to thank the good people of Ondo state who voted yesterday according to their conscience; thanks to the loyal members of PDP at local, state and national levels who took ownership of this project and executed it. This is God’s project and since it remains so, “We wait, eyi ni ise Oluwa.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Akeredolu on his re-election as governor of Ondo state for another four-year term, saying his victory shows that one good turn deserves another.
In a statement issued on Monday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the president lauded the resounding victory of the governor at the election, noting that the votes garnered show that one good turn surely deserves another.
The president urged the governor to be humble and magnanimous in victory, and serve the people of Ondo state even better than how he did in the first term.
“When you serve with heart and might, the people respond in like manner, and we can easily get to where we are headed as a country”.
The president commended INEC for organising a credible, free and fair election, and saluted the security agencies that ensured that orderliness was enthroned and maintained.
He commended the people of Ondo state and the APC for keeping faith with their governor, noting: “The people know the person and party that truly serve them, and have spoken in clear voice and unmistakable terms.”
While the PDP in Ondo state said it would study the outcome of the election, the APC, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Ekiti state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and Kwara State Governor, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, have lauded Akeredolu on his victory.
Blueprint joins Mr President and other well-meaning Nigerians to congratulate Governor Akeredolu for his victory in last Saturday’s election for a second term in office. We also commend all the stakeholders, including the electorate, the political parties and their candidates, the media, security agents and the local and international election monitors for their roles at ensuring that the election was devoid of violence.
Of particular mention, however, are President Buhari and the Professor Mahmoud Yakubu led INEC. Mr President’s policy of non-interference and the use of ‘federal might’ to sway elections for the governing party had gone a long way to make the election free and fair while INEC chairman’s insistence on making each vote count has given credibility and acceptability to the election.