The PDP candidate said he had the full backing of his party during the elections
The Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the October 20 governorship election in Ondo State, Olusola Oke, hasdescribed as malicious a newspaper publication which stated that his candidature was not supported by the presidency and the national executive of the party. Mr. Oke, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Akure, noted that newspaper publication was designed to create unnecessary acrimony between the Ondo State Chapter of the party and its national leaders.
The Ilaje-born politician said he received enough support from President Goodluck Jonathan and his party’s National Chairman, BamangaTukur, before, during, and after the election. He also dispelled the insinuation that his resolve to challenge Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s re-election was not supported by the party’s national leadership.
Mr. Oke said it was wrong for any newspaper organization to allow its medium to be used to publish such cruel report. “I am highly surprised when my attention was directed to a newspaper publication which stated that my ambition was not supported at the beginning by the presidency and the PDP National leaders. I want to state unequivocally that my choice received the blessing of Mr. President and other party leaders. In fact, I was given enough moral and financial support before the election. “The report is designed to paint me and our members in Ondo state as ingrates. As a former member of the national executive of the party, I was given the necessary support. In fact President Goodluck Jonathan was personally at one of our rallies while the National Chairman attended all our rallies,” the candidate stated.
Mr. Oke, the first runner up in the election, explained that his decision to challenge Mr. Mimiko’s victory was borne out of the need to show that the election was a charade. According to him, the election was rigged for Mr. Mimiko by the Independent National Electoral Commission in connivance with security agencies.
The PDP candidate had on November 11 filed a petition at the election petition tribunal urging it to declare him winner or in the alternative cancel the election and order for a fresh one.
Mr. Oke, who deposed to a 1,480 –paragraph statement on oath contained in a 248- page petition, averred that the election of Mr. Mimiko was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
He also said that Mr. Mimiko, who is the first respondent, was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the election just as he alleged that the election in most polling units and wards in 15 out of 18 local government areas in the state, where elections took place at all was marred with violence, intimidation, harassment, ballot box stuffing, and ballot paper snatching.
The local governments mentioned are, Ese-Odo, Irele, Odigbo, Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo, Ondo West and Ondo East. Others are Akure South, Akure North, Idanre, Ifedore, Ose, Owo, Akoko North East, Akoko South East, and Akoko North West.
The PDP at the national level had conceded defeat and publicly congratulated Mr. Mimiko shortly after the results were announced.