AS protesters take over the streets on Ondo State, the state Governor Olusegun Mimiko, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the resolution of the political crisis that has enveloped the state.
Mimiko on Friday met with President Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa Abuja, to intimate the President on the unfolding events in the state, seeking his urgent intervention.
He blasted the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) for recognising the business mogul , Jimoh Ibrahim as substantive candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in the state.
He described INEC’s substitution of Eyitayo Jegede’s name for Ibrahim as an impunity taken out of proportion that would not be allowed to stand.
Political situation ahead of the election became tensed up on Thursday, when Ibrahim, allegedly loyal to Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of the PDP was declared the bonifide candidate for the November 26th governorship election.
Meanwhile, Jegede who is of the Ahmed Markafi’s camp was produced after a primary election conducted by the party which INEC was said to have duly monitored.
Sheriff’s faction had conducted its primaries in Ibadan, where Ibrahim emerged the party’s candidate but INEC officials were reported to have been absent when the primaries was conducted.
Mimiko who could not hide his displeasure over the crisis in the state,heaped most of the blames at the door step of Justice Okon Abang.
He said,”I am shocked. In logic, in law, in politics, there is no basis for it whatsoever. The Jimoh Ibrahim factor in all of this is predicated on a court order given by Justice Abang.
“Incidentally, that court order is about zonal and state executives of PDP. That order is about 2019 election. Neither Ibrahim nor Jegede were parties to the suit. So, when that judgement suddenly came because when the name of Ibrahim was sent to INEC after a primary election which was conducted in Ibadan without INEC monitoring it, without security agencies, SSS or police.
“When the name got to INEC and this Abang judgement was attached, INEC took the right decision initially by making it clear that to start with, it is not state or zonal executive that is empowered by the electoral Act to conduct election.
“Secondly, the Abang judgement on the basis of which they were putting pressure on INEC to accept Ibrahim as a candidate was referring to 2009 election. There is nothing about 2016 election in it”.
Mimiko who said he was not in support of the protests in the state,however said his fears was that INEC’s action was capable of jeopardising credible electoral process as well as truncating existing peace in the state.
“INEC finds it difficult to obey court orders, a credible election starts with a process like this but we do not want to take chances because somebody in INEC told us that they obey the last order in the Commission.
“Some went to court and obtained two different orders mandating INEC not to substitute Eyitayo Jegede. We served one on INEC around 10am yesterday, and we served INEC with the order one at the close of business around 3pm. Only around 7 or 8 pm, we got to know that INEC for no justifiable reason had substituted the name of Jegede and replaced it with that of Ibrahim.
“The question to ask is on whose order has INEC done that? Apart from the fact that we have two restraining orders on INEC, INEC knows fully well that Ibrahim’s primaries was in Ibadan.
“There was no report by any security agencies that the security situation in Ondo state warranted the movement of the primaries to Ibadan or anywhere outside the state for that matter. Under INEC guidelines, the time for substitution of candidates has even elapsed.
“This action potentially can cause a breach of peace. In Ondo state in the last seven and half years, we have done everything possible to put good governance on the table. We see this action as potentially dangerous. It can cause conflagration in the state and that is why as the chief security officer of the state, I have come to alert Mr Presidnt of the potential danger of this injustice so that we can nip it in the bud,”Mimiko told State House reporters.
Asked how the President responded to his plea for intervention, he said Buhari promised to look into it and that if there was any injustice, Ondo citizens should be rest assured that it will be rectified.
He said since the protest in the state erupted he has been trying to calm the nerves of stakeholders and electorates in the state.
“The whole day from 5am, I have been on phone with stakeholders to ensure they keep the peace in the state. The extent of the protest you have seen has been reduced by our intervention to ensure that there is no preach of peace.
“For the people of the state, it is just from the blues. I have assured them that this injustice will not stay. We will continue to explore all avenues to make INEC see reasons why this impunity must not stand,”he said.