GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu is on course to be returned to office for another four years after interim results from yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in Ondo State show him having an unassailable lead with just four of the 18 local areas to be declared.
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission has so far counted and published results from 14 of the 18 local government areas on Ondo State showing Governor Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), leading with a margin of 53,380 votes. He had amassed a total of 213,251 votes, with his nearest rival Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) getting 159,871 votes.
Only the results from Ondo East, Odigbo, Ilaje and Ese Odo local government areas yet to be declared, Governor Akeredolu is almost certain of victory. He won in 11 of the 14 local government areas that have been declared with Mr Jegede only securing victory in the three Akure ones of Ifedore, Akure North and Akure South.
Historically, the PDP has been strong in the south of the state but surprisingly, Governor Akeredolu coasted to victory in places like Okitipupa and Irele local government areas. With Mr Jegede unable to secure victory in his party’s traditional strongholds, only winning in Akure where he is from, the game is all but over.
Deputy governor Agboola Ajayi, who stood on the platform of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) looks set to come a distant third with 44,175 votes. Mr Ajayi has stood against Governor Akeredolu to clinch the APC ticket and having lost, defected to the PDP where Mr Jegede defeated him too, prompting him to stand on the ZLP platform.
Despite initial fears, the elections were devoid of violence, rigging, ballot box snatching and election irregularities. There were hardly any incidents of malpractices with observers describing the elections as free and fair.