As the hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Ondo State get set to pick their next governor, it is expected to be four-horse race despite having 28 governorship candidates.
Eyitayo Jegede of the state’s ruling PDP, Rotimi Akeredolu of Nigeria’s ruling APC, and Olusola Oke of the AD are the main challengers. Olu Agunloye of the SDP may also pull a surprise.
PREMIUM TIMES’ Oluwole Josiah and Nicholas Ibekwe bring you live updates from Ondo State.
7.46: INEC officials and electoral materials already at Oba-Ile Second Gate Unit 2, Akure. Security operatives are also available here. Few voters are trickling to do accreditation.
8.24: In Okitipupa, in Oktitipula Local GA eletoral materials have just started trickling in. Most units are yet to get materials.
Few units have begun setting up ttheir tables and pasting of registers as voters search for their names.
8.29: At Okitipupa Ward 1, Stella Maris College, electoral officers just arrived. But they seem to be confused about issues of materials. Security men arrived on time. There are no voters in sight as yet.
8.33: Ongoing accreditation is Akure South
8.45: Card reader down at Unit 2 ward 9 Oke Aro/ Uro by CAC Primary School. Electoral officials said they called the attention of the technical officer who promised to bring another card reader about 10 minutes. Voters are already getting agitated and asking the officials to use incident form if the replacement isn’t coming on time.
9.01: Heavy military presence at Igbokoda as voting commences.
9.11: Akure updates
The Ondo gubernatorial election took off on an encouraging note in and around Akure township. INEC officials arrived at polling units several minutes before the 8 a.m. start time for accreditation and voting.
Many of the electoral officials are seen educating voters on the rules and processes of casting their votes.
Party agents also appear to be having cordial working relationship with INEC officials.
There have been very little complaints of failing card readers and missing names on voters registers.
However, the card reader at Unit 2 ward 9 Oke Aro/ Uro by CAC Primary School failed to work. Electoral officials at the unit said they had already complained to the technical officer at about 8.45 a.m. who promised to bring a replacement.
However, voters are already getting agitated. Some of them were loudly asking the INEC officials at the unit to use the incident form, used in cases where the electronic card readers malfunction.
Security arrangement is working well. There are at least five police officer and operatives of other security agencies at every polling unit.
Police vans could be seen patrolling the town and checkpoints were mounted at strategic locations.
We haven’t heard or seen of cases of violence or ballot boxes or open manipulation or financial inducement of voters.
9.49: Card reader for Alagbon ward 2, unit 22, Ilaje LGA, malfunctions as voters remain stranded.
9.53: Military arrest polling officer at Ugbonla jetty on his way to change the accreditation machine. Released after explaining mission for travelling. Party agents complained.
10.28: The candidate of Alliance for Democracy Olusola Oke, during a phone-in interview on Alaba FM said he got reports of card readers preloaded with about 300 votes at Idi Ogba. Alagbon, Oke Igba. He said this is becoming a trend across the state.
10.32: Although the Ondo gubernatorial election took off on an encouraging note in most polling centres across the state, reports of card reader failure appear to be slowing down the voting pace.
INEC officials and voters arrived at polling units several minutes before the 8 a.m. start time for accreditation and voting.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that the card reader at Unit 2 ward 9 Oke Aro/ Uro by CAC Primary School in Akure failed forcing electoral officials to call the attention of the technical officer who promised to bring another card reader in about 10 minutes.
Voters became agitated and asked the officials to use incident form if the replacement isn’t coming on time.
Also, the card reader for Alagbon ward 2, unit 22, Ilaje LGA, developed faults not long after accreditation and voting began in the unit and voters remain stranded.
The Nigerian Military also arrested a polling officer at Ugbonla jetty on his way to change the card reader. He was however, released after explaining his mission for travelling. Party agents complained about his mission.
The Ondo election will produce the state’s next governor to replace outgoing Olusegun Mimiko.
Eyitayo Jegede, the Governorship candidate of the PDP queuing up to vote at his polling unit in the Cathedral Area of Akure.
10.49: Olusola Oke, the AD governorship candidate, votes. He said he is confident of victory because Ondo people have been yearning for genuine change.
His unit 5, at Ilowo Ilaje ward 3 was peaceful and the turn out was impressive.
11.00: There is chaos at Ilaje as Card reader at unit 13, Ido Ogba ward 2, Ilaje registers 300 voters before arriving polling unit.
Residents have ‘arrested’ the INEC officials there vowing to keep them until they rectify the anomaly.
11.26: “Buy and see” a practice of a voter displaying his/her ballot paper to a party agent for money caused a mild drama at unit 5, Ilaje ward 2 as an APC agent stood at a strategic position to view ballot papers as they were raised by some voters.
A supporter of another party raised the alarm and called on security officials to intervene.
But he was taken for a tout and was pushed away. Others later reasoned with him and a commotion ensued until the APC party agent was removed from the area.
Peace returned and voting continued.
11.51: The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo, Olusegun Agbaje, explains pre-voting registeration of voters at Ido Ogba, ward 2. He said it was due to card reader malfunction.
He said a technical personal is being dispatched to the unit to rectify the problem.
Also, soldiers arrested four persons for breaching no movement order at the river bank in Ugbonla. Three of them were moving from a distant community in the creeks to Ugbo on the pretext that they were going to vote.
PDP’s Eyitayo Jegede attacks INEC on faulty card readers
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of flooding his constituency in Akure with malfunctioning card readers in order to stop his supporters from voting.
Mr. Jegede who was speaking after casting his vote at his polling unit in the Cathedral Area of Akure, said he was glad that he was reinstated as a candidate but was unhappy that many of the card reader brought to his constituency in Akure were faulty.
He said he was concerned why it was taking INEC so long to replace the malfunctioning card readers.
He called on his supporter to stay on the queues and make sure they vote. He also called on them to escort their ballots until they are taken to the final collation centre.
“I have voted. In my polling unit, it has been peaceful so far. I give glory to God that I am here. I am glad.
“I have heard reports of the malfunctioning of the card readers. In substantial part of Akure South Local Government, the card readers have been malfunctioning. In some they have changed them, in some others they have not and our people are queuing and unfortunately they have not been able to cast their votes.
“I have spoken to INEC officials that please in the name of God, change those malfunctioning card readers that they have deposited in our constituency.
“They brought malfunctioning card readers to our constituency so that we will not vote.
“And I tell them, allow our people who have voters cards and have been register to vote to cast their votes. This is an opportunity in four years. Please for the sake of God allow our people to vote.
“Our people must be steadfast. They must remain steadfast and insist on casting their votes and they must stay there and let those votes to be counted and they most escorts the result to the next collating Centre.
“And from there to the local government centre and the final collation centre, people must accompany these results to the Collation Centre.
“We are just starting and I have told you what challenges we have facing. Card rendering are not working and our people are not allowed to vote. It is only when card readers are functioning that you can say you have conducted a credible election. Card readers are not functioning.”
INEC has said it has enough card readers to replace malfunctioning ones and is ensuring replacement is promptly done.
12.16: Voting has ended in many polling units in Ondo Town.
12.20: Voting still on-going at Unit 1 ward 11, Fumbi Fagun Junction, Ondo Town. There is a lady at the corner sharing rice and stew in take away packs to voters.
The police unit is just opposite the a police station.
OndoDecides: PDP accuses APC leader of campaigning during voting
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has alleged that a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State violated election laws by campaigning during voting.
The party said Tunji Light-Ariyo, a known chieftain of the APC, was recorded campaigning on behalf of and canvassing for votes for the APC candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, at PUs 28, 29, and 30 in Ward 2 of Akure South Local Government Area, in spite of the prohibition of such actions by the Electoral Act 2010.
The party in a statement by its spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, said “the recording of this event also clearly show several police officers and men of other security agencies standing by and doing nothing while this was going on.
“In fact the video shows that the police men were providing security cover for him.”
The PDP also complained that voters in several parts of the state have suffered several incidents of card reader failures.
The party said despite that INEC owns lots of card readers, in several locations, there were no back up card readers. The party said many voters were deprived of their right to vote for candidates of their choice.
“For instance, the Polling Unit of Governor Olusegun Mimiko suffered Card Reader failure at his Polling Unit – Ward 7 Unit 20 Ondo West Local Government Area – that has prevented voters from casting their votes,” it said.
PDP said its early observations from the conduct of the Ondo State gubernatorial election has shown several irregularities and poor preparations on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as well as officers of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.
“We view these incidents for what they are – violations of the law and evidence of the plots to rig the elections in favour of 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,” the party said.
12.26: Card readers failed many voters at Unit 10 Mahin Ward 3 Ilaje. INEC officials said sometimes the machine would read and the pictures would not display. Many voters filled incident forms to be able to vote.
12.27: Low turn out at Igbokoda, Ilaje LGA as voters trickle into polling units. At polling unit 11 and 12, college road, Igbokoda, under Mahin Ward 3, less than 400 persons had voted at 12.26 p.m. out of about 1000 registered voters.
Polling officials are hopeful that the turn could improve as the 2 p.m. deadline draws near.
12.52: Polling Unit 7 Ward 1 Omoniyi 2, Ondo West LGA: One card reader out of the two assigned to the unit malfunctioned. INEC officials resorted to using the only good one because the bad one was not replaced. They said the use of one card reader has not affected voting in any way.
The party agent of APC, Joseph Enimade, said they had problems with hoodlums who almost disrupted voting at the unit but police officers promptly arrived to quell the tense incident and arrested the culprits.
Akingbola Olusegun, the party agent of Hope Democratic Party said the voting process has been okay so far.
13.02: Hoodlums arrested by security agents at Igbokoda, Ilaje, for allegely snatching ballot boxes.
Police officials said the hoodlums were chased from interior communities to the Igbokoda jetty where they were arrested.
They were taken to a police station where the DPO would not speak to journalists.
However the state police spokesperson said he has not been briefed on the arrest, promising to get back to journalists on the matter.
13.14: The card reader at Unit 27, Ward 7, Ademulegun/Kola Rewire, has difficulty accessing many of the voters’ thumbs. This has slowed down the voting.
The INEC officials also complained that the battery of the one card reader they have is fast running out.
However, all party agents said they are okay with use of the incident form for voters whose fingerprints were rejected by the card readers.
OndoDecides: Ballot box snatchers arrested
Security agents keeping vigil in the ongoing governorship election in Ondo State have 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.
Although the election is progressing with little violence, unknown gunmen killed a chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, Afolabi Olaposi, on Thursday night in Owo town.
In preparation for the election, the Nigeria Police Force deployed 26,000 personnel, three helicopters, 12 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and 20 gunboats to Ondo State.
The civil defence corps also deployed about 15,000 of its personnel.
PREMIUM TIMES reporters in Ondo confirmed high presence of security officials in voting units and strategic locations across the state.
14.46: Result: Arakale/ Adam’s House, Akure South LGA Unit 1 Ward 7
14.56: Arakale Ward 7, Unit 4, PDP: 35 APC: 30 AD: 18
15.13: St Brendan’s Primary School, Akure. Eyitayo Jegede’ polling unit.
15.32: Unit 6, Ward 10, Akure South LGA. PDP: 100, APC: 115 AD: 63
OndoDecides: PDP’s Jegede wins polling unit, takes early lead in Akure
Eyitayo Jegede, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, won his polling unit with a wide margin as vote counting commenced across Ondo State.
Results from St. Brendan’s Primary School in Akure, where Mr. Jegede cast his ballot Saturday morning, show that the PDP candidate scored 184 votes to beat his major contenders.
APC’s Rotimi Akeredolu came in a distant second with 77 votes while the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Olusola Oke, scored 32 votes.
The result mirrors others that have so far come in from many polling units across Akure, the state capital and Mr. Jegede’s stronghold.
In Arakale/Adam’s House, Akure South LGA, Unit 1, Ward 7, the PDP had 50 votes, APC, 38 and AD, 24,
In Arakale Ward 7, Unit 4, PDP had 35 votes, APC, 30; and AD, 18.
An estimated 1.3 million residents are registered to vote in today’s exercise, where the candidates are expected to show their strength in their respective strongholds.
Mr. Akeredolu and his APC are believed to have a strong presence in Ondo North, especially in Owo while Mr. Oke is expected to poll strongly in Ondo South, particularly in Ilaje and Okitipupa. Results from those parts of the state are still being expected.
15.57: Unit 13, ward 4 Akure South LGA
Unit 009 Ojo’s compound, Akure South LGA, PDP: 83. APC: 115. AD: 44
16.00: Unit 17 voting point 2 Ore ward 1 Odigbo LGA
16.21: Ward 5, Unit 27, Abiodun Street, Akure South LGA
Thugs and malfunction of card readers plagued Omotoso, units 18 and 19, ward 3, Okitipupa Local Government Area.
Officials said for two hours, the machine refused to read the cards. The voters waited for hours until INEC deployed a technical personnel to fix the problem.
Thugs came troubling the units, but the police was called in to ward them off.
Just as counting was about to start, the thugs returned and the police had to be called in again.
Despite Court rulings, I remain PDP candidate but want my supporters to vote APC – JImoh Ibrahim
The controversial Ondo State politician, Jimoh Ibrahim, said on Saturday that he remained the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, even as he campaigned for the APC candidate.
Mr. Ibrahim urged Ondo residents to vote en-masse for Rotimi Akeredolu, who is currently locked in a keenly-contested three-way race with Eyitayo Jegede and Olusola Oke.
Mr. Jegede was confirmed as the authentic bearer of the PDP’s campaign flag in the state earlier this week by both the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court, following weeks of intense political and legal faceoff with Mr. Ibrahim.
Speaking with reporters shortly after casting his ballot, presumably for Mr. Akeredolu, on Saturday, Mr. Ibrahim said he was unaware of his defeat at the court.
“There is nowhere the court gave any order that my name should be removed, so I remain the candidate,” Mr. Ibrahim said after voting at his unit in Igbotako in Irele Local Government Area.
Mr. Ibrahim aligns with the Ali Sheriff faction of the PDP while Mr. Jegede is of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction.
Earlier in a press statement on Saturday, Mr. Ibrahim said voters should give their mandate to the APC.
“Having considered all the candidates asking for the job of Governor of Ondo State, I have come to the conclusion that only Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of the APC possess (sic) the right mentality, competence, readiness and moral amplitude to lead Ondo State.
“I am therefore directing all our PDP party leaders, ward evangelists and unit canvassers, supporters as well as all the non-politician society leaders who are working with us, including Kabiyesis, civil servants, workers union, religious leaders to work hard for and mobilise votes for our brother and friend Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of APC,” he said.
Mr. Jegede and his faction of the PDP had accused Mr. Ibrahim of being an agent of the APC who is meant to destabilise their party’s campaign.
20.40: Results are still being collated in various local governments. No local government result has been announced at the INEC headquarters in Akure where party representatives, officials and journalists are gathered.
22.30: At the INEC headquarters in Akure, there are no signs that collation officers from the various local governments have arrived despite the conclusion of voting several hours ago.
Officials have started to set up the venue for possible announcements of results this night.
Journalists are also having a hectic time getting into the venue as a result of the stringent screening by security operatives. PREMIUM TIMES correspondents were stopped at the entrance because the newspaper was not on the list with the operatives despite the fact that they had an easy pass at the main gate.
One of the accreditation officials eventually brought another list which had PREMIUM TIMES on it and our reporters were allowed in.
22.36: The Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, told PREMIUM TIMES a while ago that the announcement of results will begin after some results have come in.
He said at the moment, none of the collation officers from the local governments had reported.
“We may not have the result for Ilaje until tomorrow morning, because as we speak, out of the seven wards, I am aware, only three have been concluded,” Mr. Agbaje said.
He assured that once a sizable number of results from the local governments arrive, the announcement of results will commence.