Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko has told President Muhammadu Buhari that the substitution of the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate in the state, Eyitayo Jegede, with Jimoh Ibrahim can lead to a breakdown of law and order in the state.
The governor disclosed this to State House correspondents on Friday in Abuja after he met with the president behind closed doors.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had on Thursday replaced Jegede with Ibrahim as PDP’s candidate for the November 26 gubernatorial election in the state.
When his reaction was sought, Mimiko expressed shock at the sudden change in INEC’s position even as he described it as injustice.
He said the president promised to look into the matter and rectify the injustice if any.
He said: “I’m shocked. In logic, in law and in politics, there is no basis for it whatsoever. The Jimoh Ibrahim factor in all of this is predicated on a court order given by Justice Abang. Incidentally, that court order is about zonal and state executives of PDP. That order is about 2019 election. Neither Ibrahim nor Jegede was party to the suit.
“When Ibrahim’s name was sent to INEC after a primary election was conducted in Ibadan without INEC monitoring it, without security agencies; when the name got to INEC and this Abang judgement was attached, INEC took the right decision initially by making it clear that it is not state or zonal executive that is empowered by the Electoral Act to conduct the election.
“Two, the Abang judgement on the basis of which they were putting pressure on INEC to accept Jimoh Ibrahim as a candidate was referring to 2019 election..
“Ab initio, INEC had refused and discountenanced Ibrahim’s name as a candidate. Then they went ahead and filed form 48 and from the blues, the same Justice Abang mandated INEC to replace Jegede who emerged through a primary process supervised by INEC and security agencies on live television with all delegates that were supposed to participate.
“Then, Abang ordered that Ibrahim should replace Jegede. Ordinarily, we should have disregarded the order, but we were advised that it was very important for us to appeal so that if anybody is up to a mischief, we would have taken the plank off the person.
“We don’t want to take chances because somebody in INEC told us that they obey the last order in the commission. Some went to court and obtained two different orders mandating INEC not to substitute Jegede.
“We served one on INEC around 10 am yesterday and we served INEC with the other one at the close of business around 3 pm. Only around 7 or 8 pm, we got to know that INEC, for no justifiable reason, had substituted Jegede’s name and replaced it with that of Ibrahim.
“The question to ask is: on whose order has INEC done that? Apart from the fact that we have two restraining orders on INEC, INEC knows full well that Ibrahim’s primary was in Ibadan. There was no report by any security agencies that the security situation in Ondo State warranted the Movement of the primaries to Ibadan or anywhere outside the state for that matter. Under INEC guidelines, the time for substitution of candidates has even elapsed.”