Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was about to bring injustice on the people of the state by preparing to declare preconceived results in the governorship election.
Gathering a press conference in Akure, on Friday, the governor accused INEC of doing the bidding of some All Progressives Congress (APC) bigwigs, to prevent the emergence of a credible and electable candidate for PDP in the state.
Mimiko further alleged that some ad hoc staff of INEC had been imported into the state to perpetrate illegalities in the election, allegedly in favour of the candidate of APC, Rotimi Akeredolu.
“We have just been told that the same team of election ad hoc staff, which masterminded the largely controversial Edo election, have been sent to our state to deliver a preconceived result for Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, the APC candidate.
“I have to state this here and now, that our people will not accept the method and process unleashed on Edo. We reject unequivocally the mission of this team in our state.
“The Edo team did not only call off collation by 9pm on election day, party agents, monitors and journalists were ordered out of the collation centres, allowing for final subversion of the will of the electorate. We shall not allow such an ungodly process to be repeated in our dear state.
“But we must say that the above is not all that INEC and those who want a particular candidate to emerge have done. Efforts have been concerted by INEC and forces within the APC to prevent the emergence of a credible and electable candidate for the PDP in Ondo State”, he said.
Recalling the genesis of the said plans, the governor alleged that the APC forces connived with the party to edge out the PDP candidate “in flagrant disregard 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 by the Supreme Court.”
He said there was no justification in seeking to substitute the name of the PDP candidate by INEC in the first instance, saying Jegede, who emerged through a party primary conducted under a free, fair and open environment and witnessed by INEC, was removed as the candidate of the party and substituted his name with Jimoh Ibrahim.
Mimiko said, this was done despite all the advice from the consortium of lawyers in the legal department of INEC, and urged the commission not to substitute Jegede’s name.
“Several other hurdles were placed on the ways of the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, to the extent that he did not become a candidate until about 48hrs to election, on the directive of the Court of Appeal”, he alleged.
Mimiko said the voters register in the election was presented to Jegede some 48 hours to the election, contrary to the Electoral Act which stated that the register should be presented to all candidates 30 days before the election.
“INEC did not release the list of voters register to PDP until yesterday (Thursday), in clear infraction of its own laws and against its advertised ‘Time Table and Schedule of Activities’ for the Ondo election. INEC refused to publish Eyitayo Jegede’s name for 30 days as stipulated in Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010”, he said.
Mimiko, however, urged the people of the state to monitor their votes and should not allow APC and INEC to perpetrate illegalities in the state, adding, “We shall not take this injustice staring at our face. We have been treated like slaves in our own country. INEC is being foisted to subvert its own electoral process.”
He said the electoral commission was empowered by the Electoral Act to postpone or shift the election, adding that the commission can conduct the governorship election a month to the expiration of the current administration in order to assuage the feelings of those who had been injured.