With his comfortable and unassailable lead from yesterday’s governorship election, Ondo State Governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is on the cusp of victory to a second term in office.
Out of the 18 local governments in the state, results from 12 of the council areas have already been announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with him clinching nine of the local governments, representing about 67 per cent of the total net results, Akeredolu is leading with a comfortable margin.
And with results from 2895 polling units of the 3009 total polling units in the state uploaded on INEC result website, representing 96.2 percent of the total result as at 3.30am Sunday morning, the governor looks increasingly out of reach of his opponents.
However, in a show of strength in their respective strongholds, all the three leading candidates in the election – Rotimi Akeredolu of APC, Eyitayo Jegede of PDP and Agboola Ajayi of ZLP – won their various polling units for their political parties.
Akeredolu, who voted together with his wife at Ijebu 2 Ward 5, Unit 6, won with a landslide victory. He polled a total of 413 votes while PDP’s Jegede scored 12 and the African Democratic Party had nine.
Jegede, on his part, won in Igbogin/Isikan Ward 2, unit 9, where he voted, polling 220 votes against the 60 votes recorded by Akeredolu, while Ajayi got only seven votes.
At his unit too, Ajayi won with 395 votes to defeat Jegede, who polled 5. Akeredolu scored 13 as AAC and LP polled one each.
Although the election started on a promising note, it initially put Jegede and supporters into a panic mode, when the card reader at his poling unit could not read his details, a development, which allegedly kept him waiting for about three hours before it was eventually rectified for him and wife to vote.
Curiously, allegations of vote buying, pockets of violence and other electoral malpractices also marked the election process in some parts of the state, a situation that forced Yiaga Africa, a civil society group to list the affected polling units, where incidences of vote buying and other electoral malpractices allegedly took place.
Meanwhile, a major tragedy was averted early yesterday in Ilaje part of the state, when a boat conveying some officials of INEC and election materials capsized. But there were no casualties.
So far, results coming in from the various polling units put the governor in a sure-footed lead above Jegede and Ajayi, even though the governorship contest had begun to look more like a straight contest between Akeredolu and Jegede, with Ajayi coming a distant third.
According to the local governments by local governments results released, the APC candidate has since maintained a comfortable lead such that suggested that his re-election might have been sealed.
For instance, in Ifedore Local Government Area, the APC scored 9350, while the PDP had 11,852 and the ZLP, 1863. In Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo Local Government Area, APC polled 13278, PDP, 9231 and ZLP 1971.
Results from Irele Local Government Area saw the APC with 12643, the PDP with 5493 and ZLP with 5904. The Akoko North East Local Government Area gave the APC 16572 votes, PDP, 8380 and ZLP, 3532.
In Akoko South West Local Government Area, APC had 21,232, while PDP scored 15,055 and ZLP, 2775. In Akoko North West, APC polled 15,809, PDP, 10,320 and ZLP, 3,447, while result from Ondo East Local Government Area gave the APC 6485, PDP, 4049 and ZLP, 3221.
From Owo Local Government Area, the APC had 35,957, PDP polled 5311 and ZLP scored 408. Akure North Local Government Area voted for the APC with 9546, while the PDP had 12263 and the ZLP, 1046.
The Idanre Local Government Area result scored APC with 11 286, the PDP, 7499 and the ZLP, 3623. Also, in Akoko South East Local Government Area, the APC led with 9419, while the PDP scored 4003 and the ZLP, 2004.
However, in Akure South Local Government Area, APC scored 17277, the PDP polled 47627, while the ZLP came third with 2236.
But, generally, there was low turnout of voters for a period of time even though a majority of voters wore facemasks without observing strict physical distancing.
INEC’s members of staff and their ad-hoc counterparts were on ground as early as possible, while voters also arrived in time to confirm their eligibility to participate in the process from the names pasted on the wall at the various polling units.
Observers from the European center for electoral support monitoring the governorship election in Ondo State were equally on ground to observe the process.
Complying with Covid-19 protocols, INEC officials checked temperatures of voters using the infrared thermometers as well as ensuring that voters sanitised their hands before proceeding with the election processes.