The Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has called on his supporters to resist an alleged attempt by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, and the All Progressive Congress, APC, to subvert the will of the people and rig Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state.
Mr. Mimiko, who was speaking during a press conference at the Dome in Akure, the state capital, on Friday said INEC has perfected plans to “deliver ill-fated results for the APC candidate.”
He alleged, as did the spokesperson for his Peoples Democratic Party, Banji Okunomo, that they have uncovered an arrangement by the INEC to use “the same team of election ad-hoc staff which masterminded the controversial Edo election” to rig the election in the state.
“I have to say this here and now that our people will not accept the rigging of the process unleashed on Edo. We reject unequivocally the mission of this team on our state,” said Mr. Mimiko, looking very agitated.
“In Edo State, they did not only call off collation (early), party agents, observers and journalists were ordered out of the collation centres allowing for final subversion of the will of the electorate. We shall not allow such ungodly process to be repeated in our state,” he said.
The governor alleged that INEC violated its own laws to make sure that its preconceived plans for the election come to past.
“Effort has been concerted by INEC and forces within the APC to prevent the emergence of a credible and electable candidate in Ondo state. For the avoidance of doubt, this ungodly process started when INEC in flagrant violation of extant laws governing elections removed the name of Eyitayo Jegede on the basis of a Justice Okon Abang order that has since been declared as a fraud at the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
“We wonder why INEC would remove the name of a man who emerged from a party primary that was conducted in a free, fair and open environment and by legitimate organs of the party where INEC itself was represented, with another name from a process that was illegal and by people not known to law.
“INEC discarded all legal advice not to substitute Eyitayo Jegede by its own chosen consortium of lawyers because Eyitayo Jegede was the legal and proper candidate of PDP.”
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday stating that Mr. Jegede was the legitimate candidate or the PDP.
Mr. Mimiko said INEC only replaced the name of Jimoh Ibrahim, the factional candidate of the PDP with that of Mr. Jegede, after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
He added that the PDP has not been given the opportunity to submit the names of its party agents or even the opportunity to raise funds to campaign.
He questioned why INEC insisted on going ahead with the election on Saturday when it still has up to January to conduct the election. He said INEC’s insistence showed that it was working with powers with the APC to rig the election.
“Several other hurdles were placed on the way of the PDP candidate Eyitayo Jegede to the extent that he did not become a candidate until about 48 hours to his own election.
“INEC did not release the list on the voters register to PDP until yesterday in clear infraction of its own laws. In a free and fair contest, INEC is supposed to have released the electoral register so that the candidate should actually know and the party should properly organise. Under the electoral act and INEC guideline a nominated candidate should have his name published at least 30 days to the election.
“INEC denied Eyitayo Jegede to submit the names of his party agent which according to Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2010, is supposed to submit it at least 7 days before the election. Two days to the election, Eyitayo Jegede’s supporters are not sure of those parading themselves as agents of the party. In fact, we got the information yesterday that some so called party agents of the PDP held a meeting in Akoko and agreed to work with the APC.
“Those are agents of candidates that have been described as an impostors in our party. A day to the election, many of our units and wards have not received agent cards from INEC. The agents with INEC were submitted by a man who has been exposed as a fifth columnist in the election. We were expected to run a race with our arms tied behind our back. While INEC goes ahead to foist a wururu to the answer result. We would not accept.
“Forty-eight hours to the election you are saying that the election must continue willy-nilly, how does the candidate raise money for the election? Are we saying that money is not part of this process or is he expected to raise the funds within 48 hours.
“The question is why the stubborn insistence on going ahead with tomorrow. Knowing full well that they still have up to January under the law to conduct this election. We shall not take it. In this instance, injustice stares us in the face and we are being treated by INEC and all the agents and the powers that control them, the power that sent them obnoxious phone calls to act outside the law, we are being treated like slaves and a conquered people in our own country, we will no longer take it. INEC is being forced to subvert its own process.
He, however, called on the people of the state to remain peaceful but to be firm in resisting any attempt at rigging the election at the polling unit or the collation centres.