by Oluwole Josiah, Emmanuel Obe, Olusola Fabiyi, Femi Makinde, Sunday Aborisade, Akinwale Aboluwade, Olalekan Adetayo, Mike Odiegwu, Success Nwogu and Kunle Falayi
President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday congratulated Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State for earning a second term in office through his victory in the governorship election on Saturday.
Mimiko is a member of the Labour Party. He defeated the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olusola Oke; the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN); and others.
President of the Senate, David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, also congratulated Mimiko.
While the PDP commended the people of Ondo State for voting Mimiko for a second term in office, the ACN said it would make its position known after its post-mortem of the election.
Akeredolu, however, faulted the result of the election, saying it was not “a reflection of the people’s wish.” Spokesperson for his campaign organisation, Idowu Ajanaku, on Sunday, said through a text message to our correspondent, “The election was rigged in conjunction with security agents. There was no election in Idanre. The election in strongholds of ACN were cancelled.”
Ajanaku said that despite the cancelled areas, ACN’s outing on Saturday was impressive.
“The good showing of ACN in the election shows we are back in this state for good,” he said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s Returning Officer for the state, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, officially declared the election result at the INEC Office, Alagbaka, Akure at exactly 1.21pm on Sunday.
According to the final result by INEC, the ruling Labour Party candidate won the election, having polled 260,199 votes. The PDP and ACN candidates scored 155,961 and 143,512 votes respectively.
The ACPN candidate had 1806 votes; All Nigeria Peoples Party, 1,461; APS, 751; PNPP, 2949 and the CAP candidate polled 735.
The Congress for Progressive Change candidate scored 1931; NCP, 823; NSDP, 1103; PDC, 21,361; and PPA, 1652.
Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, also commended Ondo electorate, INEC personnel and security agencies for ensuring that the election was peaceful and successful.
The statement reads, “President Jonathan assures Mimiko that the Federal Government will continue to engage constructively and positively with the Ondo State Government in collaborative efforts to achieve faster socio-economic development and better living conditions for people in the state and all other parts of Nigeria.”
In separate congratulatory messages on Sunday, Mark and Tambuwal described the election as free and fair, saying it was democracy at play.
Mark, in his statement, said Mimiko “should be magnanimous in victory and should carry all along. The mandate is a challenge for greater service delivery to the people.”
He expressed satisfaction that Nigerians had come to appreciate democracy through free and fair elections.
Tambuwal, who pledged the cooperation of the House of Representatives to the governor, said Mimiko’s victory was a manifestation of the people’s trust in his leadership abilities.
Urging those who have grievances to pursue their cases according to the law, he stressed the need for them to accept the result in good fate and cooperate with the winner in the interest of the people.
Ekweremadu described the re-election of Mimiko as “people’s verdict and democracy in action.” He noted that the Ondo election, in many ways, indicated that the electoral reforms carried out by the 6th National Assembly through constitutional amendment was yielding greater results by the day.
He said, “In the end, it is not just about who won, but about a democratic, violence-free and mature electoral process where the people freely express themselves and realise their will that count above everything else.”
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Sunday said, “How better do Nigerians say no to the drumbeats of tribalism and political narrowness than what the people of Ondo State have just done with their votes?
“It is a quantum forward leap for those who understand the dangers of undue manipulation of national diversity for narrow political whims and a huge set back, utter rejection for the champions of ethnic politics.”
Metuh said though the PDP was not declared the winner of the election, the party was still happy with the performance of its candidate who, he said, joined the race late.
He also commended INEC and the security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the poll and urged them to learn from any observed loophole so as to continue improving in future elections.
But the ACN, in a statement by its National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, said it was scrutinising the result of the election.
The statement reads, “As a party of democrats, we in the ACN have always known that the choice of who governs has always been that of the people in situations where the electoral process is transparent and credible.
“Therefore, all politicians worthy of their salt must always expect victory or defeat.
“We recognise that it is the sovereign right of the people to decide what kind of government they want. This is the challenge of democracy.
“Our party believes that there was and still is need for change in Ondo State. Thus, our party will study carefully the general details of the result with a view to taking a final position.
“Our party will continue this post mortem analysis of the lapses in all the institutions involved in the conduct of the Ondo election.”
National Chairman of the Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, said Mimiko’s victory had established the fact that the LP had done well for the people of Ondo State in the last three-and-half years.
Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan(Delta); Seriake Dickson(Bayelsa); Peter Obi(Anambra); and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) also congratulated Mimiko for retaining his position.
Uduaghan said Mimiko’s victory was a testimony that free and fair elections were possible in our democracy.
He said, “He (Mimiko) should strive to continue to build on the path of development he started in his first term.”
In a statement, Governor Dickson described Mimiko’s victory’s as a clear reflection of the tremendous support, confidence and goodwill he enjoys from his people”.
Obi, who is the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum as well as the Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said, “The victory of Mimiko is yet another testimony that democracy is taking root in our country. The people have spoken; the best candidate has won.”
Ahmed in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, described Mimiko’s re-election as a demostration of steady but sustainable growth of Nigeria’s democracy.
He urged INEC to apply the lessons it learnt from the Ondo State election to deepen ‘its impressive records’ in the conduct of subsequent elections in the country.
Mimiko, who dedicated his victory to all lovers of democracy, described the election as free, fair and highly credible. He said the poll conduct had raised the hope of a better future for the country and urged his fellow contestants to join hands with him in the task of building the state.
When contacted on the ACN’s allegation of rigging using security forces, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Ndabawa, said the party should challenge INEC in court on the matter.
Ndabawa, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone, said, “I am a commissioner of police; that is not my problem. They should direct their question to INEC and challenge the result in the court.”
The returning officer in Saturday’s governorship poll, Daramola, said that while 1,638,950 people registered as voters, 624,659 votes were cast.
Giving the analysis of the votes, the returning officer said that 594,244 votes were the total valid votes while 30,415 votes were invalid.
He said, “I, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola certify that I was the returning officer for the Ondo State governorship election. That the election was contested and that the candidates received these result (stated above).
“That Dr. Rahman Olusegun Mimiko, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby certified as the winner and he is hereby returned as the governor.”
The LP candidate won in a total number of 13 local government areas. The PDP, which came second, won in Ilaje and Okitipupa LGAs and the ACN candidate won in Owo, Odigbo and Akoko South West LGAs.
Earlier, the Collation Officer for Ilaje LGA , Dr. Olayinka Oladele of the Federal University of Technology, said the results from 32 pooling units in the council were cancelled for various reasons, including mutilation and alterations on result sheets.
Mimiko, was first declared the governor of Ondo State on February 24, 2009 by the Appeal Court in Benin City, Edo State, which was presided over by former President of Court of Appeal, Justice Abdulahi Umar.
Mimiko had contested the April 14 governorship election of 2007 with former Governor Olusegun Agagu of the PDP, but Agagu was declared the winner by the INEC.
But Mimiko headed for the election petition tribunal. He was declared the lawful winner of the poll which the appeal tribunal also upheld.
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