The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Sunday, declared the candidate of the All Progressives Party (APC) Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, as winner of the last Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
The Returning Officer, Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka, the Vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan, who declared the Akeredolu as winner said Akeredolu polled 292, 830 to beat his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who garnered 195,791, while Agboola Ajayi of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) polled 69,127 to come third in the contest.
He said: “Having polled the highest number of votes and having satisfied all requirements, I hereby declare Oluwarotimi Akeredolu the governor-elect of Ondo State.”
He said Akeredolu was declared winner, having secured more than 25 per cent of votes cast in all the 18 local government while all the cancelled votes were lesser than the margin between him and the his
The Returning Officer put the total number of votes cast at 572,E745 out of which 18,538 votes were rejected while 16,709 were cancelled across the 18 local government areas of the state.
Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, will be returning as the governor of the state for his second term in office as the governor of the state in February 24, 2021.
Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association also defeated Jegede in 2016 to win the governorship seat of the state to take over office from former governor Olusegun Mimiko.
Akeredolu won in 15 out of the 18 local government areas in the state to emerge as a winner in the governorship race while Jegede of the PDP won in three local government areas
Jegede who won in Akure South, Akure North and Ifedore Local Government Area hailed from Akure, the state capital
The second runner-up, Ajayi, the embattled deputy governor of the state was a member of the APC until he parted ways with his principal and pitched tent with the PDP before contesting the governorship election on the platform of ZLP.
Ajayi who hailed from Kiribo in the southern senatorial district of the state did not win in any of the local government area, securing 69, 127 votes to come third in the contest.
Speaking after being declared as the winner, Akeredolu said the renewal of his mandate was a testimony to the confidence the people of the state reposed in him and his administration, saying the victory is a reward for hard work
Akeredolu however, expressed his desire to set the state on the path of greatness and real development with a promise not to relent in his mission to bridge the huge infrastructural deficit inherited on his assumption of office as the state governor.
He described his victory given to him by the people of the state as “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.”
“We are determined to set our state, progressively, on the path of real development.
“We are determined to set our state, progressively, on the path of real development. Self-reliance is attainable.
“Our state has no business with poverty. Sincere, purposeful and focused leadership should have little difficulty in harnessing the vast resources, both human and natural. We will put in everything to justify the trust reposed in us.
“We set out on the first leg of this political adventure with the determination to make the whole state our constituency. We have not relented on our mission to bridge the huge infrastructural deficit inherited on assumption of office.
“We hold the axiom as evident that the welfare of the people should be the only justification for the existence of government. We have allowed this admonition to be the guiding principle of governance. We are elated to receive a scorecard through this state-wide plebiscite.”
He said: “The resounding victory of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), throws an open challenge to all stakeholders not to choose the path of complacency. We have noted the few dissenting voices of protest in this referendum.
“We heard them loud and clear. We intend to address genuine grievances. We shall continue to focus on the development of our God-given space, the Sunshine state.
“This Administration will not be distracted in the discharge of our sacred mandate. The people will continue to be at the centre of all decisions. We will proceed with our administrative style which promotes transparency and accountability”
He commended the good spirit of sportsmanship of Jegede saying his 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.”
He commended the electoral umpire and the security agents for ensuring a free, fair and credible election.
However, the PDP candidate, Jegede, while reacting to the declaration of Akeredolu as winner of the contest as announced by the INEC, said he would be studying the result and make his position known very soon.
Speaking through the PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Kennedy Peretei, urged the party supporters to be hopeful while the party and candidate make their position known on the election.
The PDP Publicity Secretary alleged that there were pockets of violence in Owo, Ese-Odo and other parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the Eyitayo Jegede Campaign Organisation, in a statement issued by its Spokesman, Gbenga Akinmoyo, commended and appreciated the people of the state for their support and conduct during the exercise.
Akinmoyo 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.”
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