A second term in office seemed assured for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State with early results of Saturday’s election in Ondo North and South going heavily in his favour.
He was also running neck and neck in Ondo Central with his main challenger, Dr.Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at press time.
Jegede is from the Central Senatorial District.
Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), who was tipped to give Akeredolu and Jegede a run for their money, appeared lost from the results so far released.
His performance in his South Senatorial District fell short of the expectations of bookmakers.
Each of the candidates won his polling unit easily.
Akeredolu got 413 votes at his polling unit 6, ward 5, Isokun,Ijebu-Owo.
He was trailed by Jegede with five votes. Ajayi got no vote at all.
Jegede secured 220 votes in his Igbigin/Isikan ward unit 9 polling centre in Akure while Akeredolu got 60 and Ajayi 7.
Ajayi got the backing of 395 voters in his Apoi ward 11, unit 4 at Idumado, Kiribo in the Ese Odo Local Government Area. Akeredolu came a distant second there with 13 votes and Jegede 5 votes.
Akeredolu was the preferred candidate in Akoko North East, Akoko North West, Akoko South East, Akoko South West, Ilaje, Odigbo, Owo, Ile Oluji, Irele, Idanre and Ondo West local government areas.
He won by a landslide in Akoko South East with over 9,000 votes, leaving Jegede with 3,881 votes and Ajayi 1,960 votes.
It was also a landslide victory for Akeredolu in Akoko North East where he polled 16,572 votes against 8,380 for Jegede and 3,532 for Ajayi.
Other LGAs results available last night are as follows:
Results from 2704 polling units had been released at press time.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it had uploaded 90 per cent of the results on its portal last night.
It is expected that the remainder of the results will be made public later today and the winner formally declared.
The PDP camp was all quiet last night as the results trickled in while All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters went into jubilation.
Stakeholders in Ondo State generally believe that yesterday’s governorship election was an improvement on previous ones in many respects.
There were improvements in the area of logistics, particularly with regards to arrival of electoral officials on time at their assigned stations and the setting up of polling units.
In many places, however, particularly in the riverine areas, the process of accreditation and voting started late in spite of the early arrival of electoral officials and materials.
Electoral officials came out on time and were prepared to do their work, but prospective voters took their time in coming out to exercise their duties.
Yiaga Africa, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to reforming Nigeria’s elections, noted that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arrived at their stations at 7.30 am in 77 per cent of the polling units.
Its preliminary report on the election by the co-chairs, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi and Ezenwa Nwagwu, described the development as a significant improvement on the September 19 Edo governorship election, where officials arrived at the same time in 38 per cent of the polling units.
It rained heavily, particularly in the riverine areas of Ilaje and Ese-Odo local government areas, but voters defied the weather to exercise their franchise.
Yiaga Africa enjoined INEC to extend the voting period in polling units where election commenced late due to late deployment of election materials and personnel and in the location where elections were delayed due to rainfall.
It added: “As the voting process comes to an end, INEC should ensure that the ballots are counted openly and the Form EC60E containing polling units’ results are posted at the polling unit for the public.
“To ensure that the polling unit result sheet; form EC8A for each polling is uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal and also post information on polling units where elections did not hold or results were cancelled on the results viewing portal.
“We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws. Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs.
“INEC should ensure due diligence and oversight on the result collation process in blind spots in the riverine communities of Ilaje and Ese-Odo.”
Generally, the process of voting was peaceful and organised, but there were reports of irregularities in several places.