BUSINESS mogul, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, on Thursday, emerged as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for thr Novemebr 26 governorship poll in Ondo State, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), last night, released the final list of candidates for the poll.
According to the final list signed by the national secretary of the commission, Mrs Augusta C. Ogakwu, Ibrahim was named based on court’s order along with his running mate, Alabi Omotayo Ebenezer, while the name of Mr Eyitayo Jegede, earlier recognised as PDP candidate by INEC, was dropped.
Also, INEC named Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Agoola Ajayi as his running mate, while Olusola Alex Oke clinched the ticket of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), with Dauda Oluwadare as his running mate.
There have been anxieties on the candidatures of the trio – Ibrahim, Oke and Akeredolu – due to litigations hanging on the necks of Ibrahim and Akeredolu, while some members of the AD were against the choice of Oke.
According to a letter by the secretary of commission to the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), the number of candidates for the governorship election is 28.
Ibrahim and Jegede had emerged candidates of the party from its two factions, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker of the party and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction.
While the camp of Sheriff produced Ibrahim, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee produced Jegede.
The recognition of Ibrahim came barely 24 hours after the Sheriff’s leadership had warned officials of the commission that they risked contempt of court and consequent imprisonment if they rejected their candidate.
Other candidates are Adeuti Stephen Taye, Labour Party (LP); Olu Agunloye, Social Democratic Party (SDP); Aidi Bolarinwa Elijah, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN); Oluwadare Bada, New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP); Famusipe Rufus Idowu, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA); Daniel Ogungbemi (KOWA) and Oluwasegun Odidi, PDC, among others.
In a swift reaction, the acting national publicity secretary of the Sheriff-led faction of PDP, Bernard Mikko, said, “INEC’s recognition of Ibrahim is not only a victory for the people of Ondo State, but also a victory for the rule of law and diminishing impunity in our electoral system.
“The PDP NWC under the leadership of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is pleased with this development and hereby congratulates the people of Ondo State as they go to polls on November 26 to vote PDP and elect Ibrahim as their next governor.”
Reacting to the development, the Ondo State publicity director of the party, Ayo Fadaka, said the party would challenge the decision at the Appeal Court today.
“It is a sad development and I want to say that there is no way the party is going to agree with such a decision. It is a mockery of democracy and it shows that the APC that currently controls the country has no respect for the political desire of the people of this country,” he said.
Fadaka lamented that the faction that organised a free congress to elect its standard-bearer, held within the state and monitored by INEC officials and other security agencies, was rejected by INEC over a parallel congress held outside the state.
Speaking on the next line of action, he said “we are in the Appeal Court and the court is sitting tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday to hear the case and we hope to reverse the travesty of justice initiated by a group of fifth columnists within our party.”