- Ondo Election: Akeredolu, Jegede, Oke Lead in Strongholds
The leading candidates in yesterday’s governorship election in Ondo State retained their traditional strongholds in the three senatorial districts of the state, as early results showed them scoring victories in the areas where they hail from.
The All Progressives Congress candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, maintained a comfortable lead in many of the polling units in his native Owo, in Ondo North senatorial zone, just like the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede, in Akure, Ondo Central. The candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Oluwole Oke, equally won in majority of the polling units in Ilaje and Okitipupa areas, Ondo South senatorial district, where he comes from.
The election was largely peaceful across the state. There was virtually no major security breach, contrary to fears that the widespread pre-election tensions might give rise to violence in many areas.
Voting started as early as 8am in many polling units and electoral materials got to the polling centres early. However, what looked like an impressive turn-out of voters in many places in the early hours of the day did not translate to massive votes in the results released after the completion of voting in many of the polling units.
There were isolated reports of card reader malfunction in some units, including the unit where the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, voted. The card reader deployed to Unit 20 Ward 7, Ondo West Local Government Area, could not recognise Mimiko’s fingerprint. He was consequently given the incident form, which he completed before he was allowed to cast his vote about 11.30am.
The governor lamented the failure of the card reader.
Mimiko also alleged monetary inducement of voters, saying the people of the state would resist any manipulation of the electoral process.
In Ondo South, there were reports that the card readers in some communities were not functioning well, particularly in Ilaje Local Government Area. It was gathered that the machine in some instances started counting from 200 or 300, instead of counting from 001, an indication that such numbers of people had voted. This case was said to have occurred mainly at Constituency II in Ilaje Local Government Area.
The matter was reported by the candidate of AD, Oke, who quickly called on the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, to intervene. Oke alleged that the card readers were preloaded to give the impression that some people had voted at Alagbon, Idi Ogba Ode Ugbo, and some other places in the constituency.
Jegede also said card readers deployed to some units in Akure South malfunctioned.
A major feature of the election was allegations of financial inducement of voters by some candidates. It was gathered that each voter was given as much as N6,000 while about 450,000 was said to have been given to units in some senatorial districts. THISDAY gathered that some governors and a minister had been in the state since four days before the poll to help their party’s candidate.
AD alleged that both the APC and PDP had engaged in rigging through intimidation, heavy monetisation and outright manipulation of the ballot materials in a bid to win the election at all costs. Spokesperson of the Olusola Oke campaign organisation, Mr Bisi Kolawole, said in a release that it was unfortunate that the APC had become an instrument of corruption, despite its change slogan.
Kolawole stated, “They have threatened to win this election at all cost and today they have demonstrated their willingness to make their prediction come true. Our leaders were brutalised and hounded out of their homes in order to scare them and their supporters from the polling booths. They have brought in loads and loads of money to buy votes due to the pangs of hunger which they brought unto the people.
“Yet, they say they are fighting corruption. Again, the PDP too have been attacking us, including our candidate, Chief Olusola Oke. They are now buying votes in the full glare of all shamelessly to continue pillaging the state.
“From all over the state reports have it that cases of electoral manipulations are on-going. The PVC card readers are not functioning properly and appear to have been compromised as they show figures different from what were usually recorded in the accreditation exercise.”
Meanwhile, according to the results from some polling units, at Unit 20 Ward 7, where Mimiko voted, the PDP scored 176 votes against 40 and 25 scored by APC and AD, respectively. Also at Unit 021 in the same ward, PDP polled 92 votes as against the 31 and 23 scored by AD and APC, respectively.
The PDP candidate, Jegede, won at his Unit 009 located at Sacred Heart School, Akure. The results indicated that PDP polled 184 votes, APC got 77, and AD polled 32.
Akeredolu won at his Unit 6 Ward 5 at Oke Ijebu Owo. He polled 413 votes; PDP scored 13 votes, and AD got four votes. He was leading other candidates in the entire local government, which has 83, 639 voters with permanent voter cards.
The Secretary to the State Government, Aderotimi Adelola, lost his own unit to APC at Unit 007, Ayesan Ward, located at St Peter’s Primary School, Araromi Obu, Odigbo Local Government Area. The APC got 113 votes, AD had 79, and PDP had 73 votes.
But PDP alleged that it observed early irregularities in the conduct of the election and poor preparation on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies. A statement by the party’s spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, Saturday morning also alleged widespread card reader failure.
According to PDP, “Despite the fact that INEC owns more units of card readers, in several locations there are no back up card readers. As such, many voters are already being deprived of the right to cast a vote for the candidate of their choice.
“For instance, the polling unit of Governor Olusegun Mimiko suffered card reader failure at Ward 7 Unit 20, Ondo West Local Government Area – that has prevented voters from casting their votes.
“In Ward 2 of Akure South Local Government Area, Tunji Light-Ariyo, a known chieftain of the All Progressives Congress was recorded campaigning on behalf of and canvassing for votes for the APC candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, at PUs 28, 29, and 30, in spite of the prohibition of such actions by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”
PDP said the police and other security agencies did nothing to stop the alleged breach of the electoral law. “We view these incidents for what they are – violations of the law and evidence of the plots to rig the elections in favour of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu. We reiterate our earlier warnings that we will not stand by and watch anyone tamper with the democratic process and subvert the will of the Ondo people,” PDP stated.
As at 2am today, reporters gathered at the INEC headquarters in Akure for the announcement of the official results by the commission, but the exercise was yet to begin at the time of filing this report. Many of the results were still being awaited from the various local government areas.
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari
In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”
Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.
This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.
He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.
Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.
The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.
“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force
Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.
The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.
The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.
As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.
It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.
Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.
“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.
Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.
Ezekwesili Presents Research Findings on Fixing Nigeria’s Politics
She stated this at the public launch of #FixPolitics, where she presented findings from her fellowship research on how to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.
Ezekwesili invited 124 Nigerians from diverse fields of endeavour and geopolitical zones to collaborate on designing the research findings over the last one year as a Work Study Group. The group is the co-leadership organ responsible for an integrated citizens-led actions to fix the broken political system.
She pointed out that politics in Nigeria was not fulfilling the core requirement of a democratic system, which was to provide good governance for the common wellbeing of citizens.
“My research findings primarily reinforce that the poor state of affairs in Nigeria is the consequence of the quality of politics at play. Politics is at the heart of everything any society can or will become. The essential process of democracy is not complete without politics,” the 2019 Nigerian Presidential candidate said.
In her study, she established primarily that in a democratic system, “there are three triangular pillars which determine the kind of outcomes that politics will produce for the people.
Explaining the concept, the former World Bank vice president said, “On the right angle or demand side of the triangle is the electorate; on the left or supply side is the politicians, political class and parties; and at the top is the regulatory – constitutional, legal, electoral and institutional context within which the politics happen.”
According to her, these tripod pillars create an interconnecting network of actions that determine the outcomes of every political system.
“Every pillar or angle of the triangle must function effectively and concurrently with the other two to enable the right quality of politics that will deliver strong economic performance for a people.
“In evaluating the outcome of politics in Nigeria and Africa, my study established that the quality of the electorate, quality of political class and quality and lack of independence and capacity of political institutions constitute a structural and systemic problem for democracy and must therefore be fixed by citizens,” Ezekwesili said.
She also said, “The research found that Nigeria is ridden with politicians without competing ideas of how to solve the problems of citizens, who lack a culture of public service and subordinate the common good to their personal and narrow interests.
“The constitutional, legal, institutional and regulatory environment is compromised by the political class to more frequently act without independence, fairness and adherence to the rule of law. The political space is thus completely monopolised by the supply side of governance, that is the political class, thereby causing political, economic and social stagnation for the nation and people.
“Currently in our politics, voters generally lack the level of influence necessary to compel the right political processes and good outcomes that serve the good of all in society.
“The bright prospect is that evidence from the #FixPolitics research shows that citizens are the only angle of the triangle that can act and propel systemic change by collectively and decisively acting for their common good.”
To alter the status quo, Ezekwesili said only the electorate “have the incentive to correct the abnormality in a political system.”
She added, “It is the collective effort of citizens that can change the quality of political class and compel the kind of constitutional and electoral changes required to achieve good governance.”
Delivering a keynote address, former President Felipe Calderon of Mexico said there was an enormous gap between the interests of the citizens and that of the politicians, which he saw as a major problem to a democratic setting.
“To fix politics in Nigeria, the citizens and the politicians must work together and represent the same in practical life,” he said.
Calderon further said that “citizens must change their perception of politics and political participation rather than holding to a view that politics is for corrupt and dishonest people.”
According to him, corrupt people are quite the opposite of what politics stands. “To fix politics is what happens when the people participate and take responsibility to provide political participation with ethical sense and ethical parameters,” Calderon added.
In a goodwill message, former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said politics should be seen as an inclusive love affair and if institutionally implemented, “Africa will witness a great change in its democratic system.”
While dissecting the dynamics of democracy, three intergenerational panels with discussants like Prof. Atahiru Jega, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga(also known as M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Samson Itodo, among others, agreed that there was an emerging consensus to fix politics in Nigeria as the status quo was untenable and unsustainable.
Speakers like Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Ayo Sogunro, Ndi Kato, Adewunmi Emoruwa, and Dr. Usman Bugaje highlighted that “there is a need for young people and women to fully engage in partisan politics, create platforms for political engagement, use politics as a tool for framing a shared vision based on a new dominant value orientation of public service, connect the elite with the grassroots and mobilise the Nigerian public to mount pressure on the legislature for the right constitutional and electoral changes.”
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