1.4m voters to pick Ondo governor

Ondo Governor Akeredolu, Eyitayo Jegede and Agboola Ajayi have been cleared by INEC to contest the election
Governor Akeredolu, Eyitayo Jegede and Agboola Ajayi have been cleared by INEC to contest the election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that 1,478,460 voters will decide Ondo governorship election across 3,009 polling units.

INEC also noted that election will hold in 203 electoral wards across 18 local government councils in Ondo State.

Although 17 candidates are eying the Alagbaka Government House, Akure, the state capital, eyes are only on three standard bearers.

The three major candidates are Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is seeking re-election, Eyitayo Jegede(Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi(Zenith Labour Party).

On poll day, the remaining 14 candidates running on the platforms of mushroom parties will pale into dignified spectators. Some of them have been endorsing either Akeredolu or Jegede.

Zoning may not be a core factor to shape the poll. The big three hail from the three zones: Akeredlu, a native of Owo, is from the North Senatorial District. Jegede, from Akure, is from the Central Senatorial District and Ajayi is from the South Senatorial District.

The analysis of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) collection across the councils shows voters’ enthusiasm. The 1,478, 460 cards collected represent 81 per cent of the 1,822, 346 total voter population.

There are 343, 886 uncollected PVCs, representing 19.9 per cent of the total registered voters.

Akure South, which comprise of Akure city, has the highest number of PVC collection put at 207, 238. The lowest is Akoko Southeast, which has 32, 763.

Yesterday, the umpire begun the distribution of sensitive materials.

INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmud Yakubu urged electoral officers to stick to ethics and maintain neutrality.

But the PDP rejected the appointment of the Obafemi Awolowo University ( OAU) Vice Chancellor Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede as Chief Returning Officer, saying he may not be neutral.

The Chairman of PDP Campaign Council, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, said Ogunbodede, who hails from Owo, is a crony of the governor.

The APC, in a statement by its Deputy National Secretary, Yekini Nabena, urged security agents to protect voters from violence threats by the PDP and ZLP.

He said the threats were aimed at causing voter apathy since they know that Akeredolu enjoyed popular support because of his unprecedented achievements.

Nabena, who listed 10 reasons why the governor deserved a second term, said his unparalleled and multi-sector achievements, cross-partisan support and widespread acceptance by the people has led to defections from the PDP and ZLP to the APC.

Flaying the the oppositions parties for planning violence, he said their plots will fail as the will of the people will prevail.