The national campaign council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ondo State Governorship Election, on Sunday, disagreed with reports by opposition parties and civil society organisations that Saturday’s governorship election in the state was heavily riddled with vote buying.
The election was won by the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
The council said instead, the victory was an attestation to the people’s confidence in the incumbent government and its performance in the last four years.
Organisations, such as the Centre for Democracy and Development and YAIGA, stated in their election reports that there were widespread acts of vote buying and selling during Saturday’s election.
The groups also observed the refusal of security agencies and INEC officials to contain the practice during the election.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state collation agent, Debo Ologunabga, also accused the APC of inducing voters with huge sums of money, alleging that the APC “weaponise poverty” by inducing poor voters with money.
But the secretary of the APC national campaign council, Mustapha Saliu, debunked the report, saying that the candidate of the party was able to win the election because of his performance in his first term in office.
Mr Saliu said that members of the PDP were using the allegation of vote buying as an excuse for their defeat in the election.
“The problem is that we have bad losers,” he said while speaking to journalists in Akure on Sunday.
“We just finished an election in Edo State and the party congratulated the governor. That is the spirit of sportsmanship and that is responsibility to the populace. But they are looking for flimsy excuses to just explain their poor performance.”
He said people came out to vote willingly and not because of inducement, adding that Saturday’s election was one of the best elections he had witnessed in the country.
Mr Saliu also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies for their efforts in ensuring that the election process went smoothly.
“The INEC did wonderfully. At some of the polling units, materials were available as early as 7:00 am. I was at the riverine areas and I saw how fast they were able to deliver. Security agencies also contributed immensely to the success of the exercise,” he said.
“I am surprised that this type of election was able to hold in Ondo State, given the history and gladiators involved in the election.”
Mr Akeredolu polled 292,830 votes to win the election, just as Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP came second with a total tally of 195,791 votes. The Zenith Labour Party candidate, Agboola Ajayi, came a distant third with 69,127 votes.