The Ondo State governorship election held on Saturday was a tight race between the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr Rotimi Akeredolu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.
Some of early results from some units and ward in the state indicated that the two candidates ran neck-to-neck in some areas and held on to their domains.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is expected to announce the winner today.
The PDP won in Ondo Unit 20 Ward 7, where the state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, cast his vote, with 176 votes, APC with 40 votes and AD with 25 votes.
The PDP also won at Unit 009, Ward 2 where the party’s candidate cast his vote, winning with 184 votes, APC 77votes and AD, 32 votes.
The AD candidate, Olusola Oke, also won in most of the units in the southern senatorial district but lost in the northern and central senatorial districts.
Though the election was peaceful, there was alleged heavy financial inducement by some agents of the party who openly induced voters to vote for their parties.
One of the party’s supporters said, “Over N450,000 was sent to each units in the state at the wake of this election. But people were ready to take the money because of the hunger in the land.”
Most voters in Owo, where the APC candidate hails from, cast their votes for Akeredolu while the party was able to gather some votes in the Central Senatorial district, especially in Akure, the stronghold of the PDP candidate.
The election recorded large turnout of voters across the state,with voters arriving the voting units as early as 7.00 a.m while accreditation and voting commenced by 8.00 a.m and ended by 3:00 p.m.
Heavy presence of security agents was noticed across the state, while some towns were heavily secured, apparently to forestall violence.
The smart card readers were said to have malfunctioned in many areas which included Akure South, Ilaje, Ifedore, Ondo West and some other parts of the state.
But the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Segun Agbaje, said the commission addressed the development.
Oke alleges pre-loading of card readers, inducement of voters
In Ilaje Local Government Area, Oke, who voted at the Unit 5, Ugbonla Ward III, at his Ilowo country home, reported the malfunctioning of card readers, and alleged that the machines had been pre-loaded.
Oke specifically alleged that most of the SCRs were pre-loaded with over 300 votes in some of the units, while eligible voters were denied accreditation.
But the INEC boss said his men were sent to the areas to correct the error.
Agbaje said the SCRs were not pre-loaded but were not properly punched, explaining that nothing was designed to perpetrate any electoral fraud.
Speaking further, Oke accused APC of intimidating, manipulating and monetising the whole process before and during the election.
Speaking through the spokesperson of the Olusola Oke campaign organisation, Bisi Kolawole in a release, Oke said it was unfortunate that the APC, whose mantra of a complete change to a corruption free Nigeria, was now the very apostle of corruption, intimidation and outright manipulation of votes by heavily monetising the voting processes in the election.
Olabimtan denies being arrested with thumbprinted ballot papers
Meanwhile, the Director of Campaign of Akeredolu Campaign group, Honourable Victor Olabimtan, who was reported to have been arrested by security operatives for allegedly being in possession of bags filled with thumpprinted ballot papers, has denied the report
Speaking after voting in his unit in Supare Akoko, the former speaker of the state House of Assembly described the report as malicious and figment of imagination of the promoters.
He said the story was concocted by those afraid of their imminent doom in the election, saying there was no iota of truth in the report.
“I don’t believe in rigging. APC doesn’t believe in rigging too. But we are sure of victory in this election,” he boasted.
Ballot box snatchers arrested at Igbokoda
Security agents on Saturday arrested some suspected hoodlums at Igbokoda, Ilaje, for allegedly snatching ballot boxes.
Police officials said the suspects were chased from interior communities to the Igbokoda jetty where they were arrested.
They were taken to a police station where the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, declined to speak to journalists.
However, the spokesperson of the police in the state said he has not been briefed on the arrest, promising to get back to journalists on the matter.