BY TOPE FAYEHUN, Akure and Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
The governor of Ondo State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is coasting to victory at the Ondo State governorship election which held yesterday, early results from the senatorial districts have shown.
Although the results have not been officially announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there are indications that Akeredolu he won in his North senatorial zone and performed well in the Southern senatorial district where the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) candidate and deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi hails from.
While Akeredolu cleared the results in Owo and some units in Akoko, Jegede cleared the poll in Akure and some parts of Ondo and in some units in Akoko.
Ajayi came a distant third in the unit results received in Ondo Central and North senatorial districts.
Results from the 18 local councils of the state showed that Akeredolu had a lead over the other candidates.
Also, early results indicate that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) is poised to win in his Northern senatorial district in a race projected to be keenly contested.
However, the top candidates won their polling units.
Akeredolu, scored 413 votes to win at his unit, defeating PDP’s Jegede who scored 12 votes and ZLP’s Ajayi, who polled no vote at the governor’s unit.
Jegede also won his polling unit in ward 02, unit 09, in Akure with 158 votes, as against Akeredolu’s 43 votes and Ajayi’s 4 votes.
In the same vein, the deputy governor and ZLP candidate, Ajayi, won his polling unit in the Apoi Ward II, Unit 004, Idumado Quarters, Kiribo with
395 votes. Akeredolu, scored 13 votes while Jegede secured five votes.
Speaking to newsmen after casting his vote, Governor Akeredolu expressed optimism that he will win the election in the state.
Akeredolu, who spoke with newsmen on Saturday shortly after voting at
Ijebu 2 Unit 006 Ward 5, Ijebu-Owo in Owo Local Government Area (LGA)
of the state, said his confidence was in God.
He stated: “I am confident about winning this election. I have always said my confidence is about God, and God, in his infinite mercies, will give me victory.
“I don’t know what will happen. All I know is that when my victory is announced, everybody will be joyous, there will be clapping and
The governor, who described the voting at his unit as peaceful, urged voters to protect their votes.
“Cast your votes, move out of the place but don’t move too far, and ensure that you protect your votes so that your votes can be counted,” Akeredolu said.
On his part, Jegede expressed delight at the large turn out of voters when he arrived for accreditation and voting in company of his wife, Eno, and daughter at polling unit 9, ward 2 of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Primary School, Akure, at 8:45am.
Jegede who declined offers to vote ahead of those he met on the queue said, “I won’t vote ahead of the people I met here. These people left some other duties to come and perform their civic responsibility.
“Nobody is above the law and we must lay good examples to enhance the true democratic culture”.
However, the Card Reader machine developed a sudden fault when it was his turn to vote. The issue was later resolved by the INEC which eventually saw the candidate vote at about 11: 10am.
He however boasted that he would win the ongoing election despite some hitches allegedly creating by the INEC.
Jegede who accused INEC of “creating a problem”, wondered why the card reader stopped functioning when it was his turn to vote.
Smart Card Reader could not read his PVC and that of his wife, Eno, Jegede’s wife but his daughter voted without any hitch.
He was asked to step aside for other voters to vote before he later voted, after the INEC engineer resolved the issue with the Smart Card Reader.
Addressing journalists after voting, Jegede said, “INEC is creating a problem. Their machine stopped working when it was my turn to vote. I
had to protest and they said the machine was rectified. But despite all these hitches, there has not been major disruption. But I don’t know what is happening in remote areas.
“The turnout has been massive, voters conducted themselves well. I am aware that there is pocket of violence in Ijomu area. I also heard of an incident of vote-buying”.
The deputy governor, Ajayi, voted at
his polling unit in Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government at about 11.15 am. Ajayi, after voting, accused security operatives of compromise in
the ongoing governorship election.
According to him, the security arrangement was faulty and compromised. While accusing the security agencies of doing a bad job based on what he observed during the election, Ajayi lamented that the system had been compromised.
His words: “So far, so good. The procedure being adopted by INEC is okay, but from what I have seen, there appears to be a compromise on the part of security agencies.”
He disclosed that the Ondo election would have been a replica of Edo election. “ I think that things were gradually going back to normal but it appears we are going back to the era of ballot box snatching
The deputy governor called on INEC to cancel the result of the units in Owo where an video making the rounds on social media suggested that there were electoral malpractices.
Meanwhile, the election which was relatively peaceful, witnessed impressive voters’ turnout in some areas of the state, even as electoral materials and officials of the INEC arrived on time in most of the voting booths across the state.
In all the local governments visited by LEADERSHIP Sunday, accreditation and voting commenced by 8am and ended by 2: 30pm when the last person on the queue most have voted.
Sorting and counting of ballots took place thereafter in the presence of the party agents, security agencies and the media.
However, the election was said to have been highly monetised as voters were induced with money before voting.
LEADERSHIP Sunday investigation revealed that politicians gave out between N7000 and N10,000 to each voter, in spite of the presence of security agents.
However, a non-governmental organization has called on INEC to beef up security at the collation centers to prevent political miscreants from disrupting the electoral process.
Addressing newsmen in Akure, the state capital, Dr. Aisha Abdulahi, co-chair of the organization, revealed that “armed political thugs
made attempts to disrupt elections in some polling units in the state.”
The NGO said, “We received and verified a critical incident in
Ijomu Ward 4, Polling Unit 7 in Akure at St. Stephen’s Anglican
Primary School where a suspected thug attempted to disrupt the
election and was stabbed by another rival thug. Sporadic gunshots by
unknown armed men also occurred in Oba-Ile, Ward 9, Unit 007, Akure
She advise that “as the voting process comes to end, INEC should ensure that the ballots are counted openly and that all polling units have the Forms EC60E posted at the polling unit for the public.
“INEC should 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.
“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 strict compliance with the application of the election guidelines in the result collation process.
“INEC should ensure that effective security is provided as collation commences across the state. And accredited observers and media reporters should be granted access to observe the collation process,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Yiaga Africa have
decried incidences of vote buying across several polling units during the election.
Yiaga Africa also noted that 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.
A statement signed by the co-chairman Yiaga Africa, Dr Aisha Abdullahi and made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja said
these electoral offenses occurred in the presence of security personnel who made no attempt to reprimand the culprits.
Yiaga Africa, however, lauded the effective deployment of election materials and personnel which remains crucial to the conduct of
Yiaga Africa said sensitive materials like the Smart Card Readers and Register of Voters were observed in 100 per cent of polling units.
In addition, the group said voting cubicles were present in 96 per cent 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.
“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.
“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,” the statement said.
On compliance with COVID-19 protocol, the commencement of polls, Yiaga Africa observed compliance with INEC COVID-19 protocol on the 2-tier queuing system in 88 per cent of polling units, the presence of infrared thermometer and disinfectant/sanitizers in 74 per cent of
“However, there was a minimal observance of social distancing across all the polling units observed,” the group said.
Also, a frontline pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in a statement signed by its director, Idayat Hassan, outlined the generally timely arrival of INEC to the
polling across the state.
The group, however, pointed out that the positive effect the early arrival would have had on the process was affected by the morning
rains, which disrupted voting, and upended the resolve to adhere to
The group said, “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 commended INEC for going the whole hog to ensure materials arrived early at most of the polling units.
It said in general INEC officials and security agents arrived most of the Polling Unit across between the hour of 7 am and 8 am.
CDD also pointed out that towards the end of voting there was an upsurge in attacks targeted at INEC officials.
The statement reads in part: “As the time of reporting CDD has been receiving reports of attacks targeted at INEC staff and personnel. In Akure South LGA, CDD observers reported cases of hoodlums chasing away Registration Area Centres technicians. If RAC techs are chased out of
the polling units and prevented from carrying out their duties, it compromises the transparency of the process because the upload of results unto the INEC Results Viewing Platform.
“The same RAC techs are the ones who have the responsibility to maintain Smart Card Readers. Preventing them from doing their duty
also creates problems in the area of maintaining card readers, which develops fault in the course of the election.
“These and similar incidents occurred in Ward 05, PU 008, Odigbo LGA, Arogbo II, PU 001,
Ward 7, Ese Odo LGA, Ward 06, PU 007, Ward 02 PU 16 in Idanre LGA, and Ward 4 PU 09, 11, 12 and 13, Ilaje LGA.”
CDD added that despite the challenges encountered in the process, voters deserve praise across Ondo State, whom it noted demonstrated resilience to exercise their franchise and in many cases
defend the sanctity of the ballot in very challenging conditions.
“CDD observers documented cases in which voters insisted on going ahead with the process in the rain. In Ose LGA, despite the heavy
rain, voters defied the weather to exercise their franchise. In Akure
North LGA, materials arrived on time, but the rain held up the
process, and officials attempted to move voting to an enclosed space.
“This move was however resisted by voters. CDD commends the resilient disposition of voters and their resolve to protect the sanctity of the vote. In Ward 5, Polling Unit 07, Akure South LGA, observers reported that the accreditation and voting process was going on smoothly until it began to rain. Even though no canopies were available to provide shelter, party agent, and several voters remained under the rain to keep a close watch on the ballot box alongside security personnel and INEC officials,” he said.
On the issue of vote buying, the Centre highlighted positive trends where voters resisted 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 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. In the end 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.”
Notwithstanding these few cases where citizens pushed back against vote buying, CDD lamented that political actors still devised structured ways to engage in vote buying.
“We observed a consistent pattern of vote buying, wherein those engaged in this electoral offence adopted tactics to induce voters, while evading the watch of security officials and election observers.
“CDD observers documented attempts by political actors to outspend one another by making available large sums disbursed to community leaders
for onward distribution to voters. CDD observation showed that where in the past the modus operandi has been to distribute cash discreetly
at points close to the polling unit, the new found tactic is to create outposts where voters can go to collect cash after providing they
voted for the vote buying party,” the Centre said.
Other vote buying trends as highlighted in the preliminary report by the group includes earmarking of bulk sums ranging from N150,000 to
N600,000 for each polling unit across the LGA.
The group said during the election, the monies handed were distributed
to popular figures, especially leaders of youth groups to share to
voters in their areas.
“Our observers reported that party agents largely stayed away from
coordinating vote buying. CDD observed that political parties
designated someone, who is not a party agent, but appears to be
neutral to direct voters to an outpost where cash could be
distributed,” the group said.
However, INEC has
confirmed the waterway accident when a boat conveying electoral
materials and ad hoc
staff of the commission to the riverine area of Ondo State.
The boat was ferrying the staff and materials to Ilaje Local
Government Area of Ondo State to ensure hitch-free conduct of the
governorship election before it capsized.
A statement signed by INEC director, Voter Education and Publicity,
Mr. Nick Dazang, made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday yesterday said that the
officers of the Nigeria Navy were at hand to rescue the victims.
According to him, “There was an incident last (Friday) night during
the movement of personnel and materials to the riverine Registration
Areas of Ilaje LGA of Ondo State for today’s governorship election.
“Fortunately, all personnel and election materials were rescued when
the boat capsized. This was made possible by the officers and
personnel of the Nigeria Navy who escorted the boats.
“The movement was eventually concluded and voting commenced as planned
in all the polling units today. INEC commends the resilience and
professionalism of the Nigerian Navy as well as those of all other
personnel involved in the exercise.”
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the wooden boat reportedly carrying
no fewer than 15 persons capsized owing to overloading, with personnel
and some election materials, apart from strong wave and current.
Some of the ad-hoc staff were seen in videos of the incident swimming
to safety or to join other boats on the mission.
Local divers nearby also made efforts to rescue the victims.
Speaking on the matter, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary
(CPS) to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that the
the commission got a report of the incident and that there was no
casualty as all the victims were rescued