The Ondo governorship candidacy of businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, on the platform of the Ali Modu Sherrif faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, has been challenged by Olusola Ebiseni.
Mr. Ibrahim was declared winner of the party’s primary which held in Ibadan, but petitions arising from the exercise stalled his campaign activities.
Mr. Ebiseni’s challenge is coming a day after suspected hoodlums attacked Mr. Ibrahim’s campaign office, destroying posters, flags and banners bearing his portrait.
Speaking to journalists in Akure, Mr. Ebiseni said the exercise was fraught with irregularities.
He said the Ibadan primary was “a mockery of democracy”. He said he had petitioned the Appeal Committee of the party to address the issues.
But Mr. Ibrahim, through his campaign Director General, Olabisi Johnson, said Mr. Ebiseni was acting as a typical Nigerian politician who would discredit an election if he fails to emerge winner.
He accused Mr. Ebiseni of turning against the party, after he congratulated the winner and commended the election organising committee for a job well done.
Mr. Ebiseni, a former Commissioner for Environment in the state, pitched his tent with the Sheriff’s faction of the PDP after an alleged imposition of Eyitayo Jegede by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
Mr. Mimiko supports the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party.
Making the challenge, three weeks after the election, Mr. Ebiseni said what happened in Ibadan was an “illegal anti-democratic contraption that cannot stand”.
He said the candidacy of Mr. Jegede was also illegal even though he was handpicked by Mr. Mimiko.
“Our grouse is that what took place in Ibadan could not be referred to as any form of election by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.
“There was no means of identifying who really were delegates. No delegates’ list or register presented no accreditation of any form which faulted the entire process.
“How could an election which lasted barely an hour have involved accreditation of almost 1000 delegates.”
Mr. Ebisemi also expressed the concern that the faulty conduct of the Ibadan primary had made a mess of the desire for integrity which made him and others to seek correction under Sheriff’s faction.
“It was unfortunate that some people would, out of indiscretion, desecrate the altar of integrity on which the Sheriff group in Ondo State worship and for which we sought a separate tabernacle in the first place,” he said.
He also doubted that the nomination form allegedly issued to Jimoh Ibrahim by the Independent National Electoral Commission was genuine.
But Mr. Ibrahim’s spokesperson, Mr. Johnson, said Mr. Ebisemi was present at the primary, and accepted the defeat in the presence of all the delegates.
“He was present at the primary and participated in it,” Mr. Johnson said. “He took the microphone and congratulated the winner, commending the process and even saying it was better than the one conducted at the Dome.”