Before the April 11 governorship and state assembly elections in Ogun State, there was palpable fear in the air that the re-election bid of Governor Ibikunle Amosun would not sail through. The tension was so high and because of the political sophistication of Ogun people, not few people agreed that the election could swing in favour of anybody.
Though the incumbent governor and now governor-elect for second term, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was tipped to retain the coveted number one seat, the hullabaloo from the opposition’s quarters, no doubt, put the governor and APC on the edge.
Apart from that, the probable ‘gang-up’ between Ogun East and Ogun West which played out during the presidential and national assembly elections, was indeed a great concern for the governor’s camp. Having seen what’s likely to play out during the governorship poll, Amosun, not given to complacency, intensified his effort in selling his candidature throughout the state, while the opposition, especially PDP, trudged on to consolidate on its strength in Ogun East and West Senatorial districts.
The perceived grouse by the civil servants in the state – with their large population – contributed to the apprehension that Amosun would not be re-elected.
But when the election was eventually held, Amosun’s APC came out tops. Apart from winning convincingly in 11 LGs out of 20, the party also clinched 17 seats out of 26 seats in the state house of assembly. Though the speaker, Suraju Ishola Adekunbi, was re-elected, his deputy, Tola Banjo, from Ijebu Ode, did not make it back to the hallowed chamber.
The election held across the 20 local governments in the state, saw Amosun defeating Gboyega Isiaka of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by 306,988 votes to 201,440 votes.
In the results of the governorship election declared in Abeokuta, the State capital by Duro Oni, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and INEC’s Returning Officer for the state, 14 political parties, including APC, PDP, SDP, Kowa, LP, NCP, ID, DPP, CPP, APGA, PPA, PPN, UDP and UPN, took part in the contest and the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) had the highest number of votes cast.
According to the results of the poll declared at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Abeokuta, 1,759,754 voters registered in the state; 599,486 voters were accredited for the election; 578,378 people cast votes; 555,430 votes were valid, while 22,948 votes were rejected.
The breakdown of the results showed that Ibikunle Omolaja Amosun of All Progressives Congress (APC) received the highest votes, polling 306,988 votes; Gboyega Nasir Isiaka of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was the closest runner-up, polling 201,440 votes, while Akin Kamordeen Odunsi of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) emerged third, polling 25,826 votes.
After Amosun was declared winner on Sunday, people took to the streets in their thousands to celebrate the victory. The governor himself, joined by the people, walked around the state capital apparently to show his appreciation for their support.
In a state broadcast later, on Sunday, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said there was no winner and no vanquished in the election. He said Ogun people were the winners indeed having conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner during the poll. He, however, extended hand of fellowship to other co-contenders in his bid to continue his rebuilding mission.
“There are no losers. Our unity is our strength. We therefore have to continue to march forward together,” he added.
Amosun reassured the people of the state that his administration would continue with its policy of non -discrimination against any person based on ethnicity, gender, religion or party affiliation.
“The policies, programmes and projects of our administration in the next four years shall continue to be for the benefit of all. Indeed, we shall pursue with more vigour, determination, honesty of purpose and courage, our five cardinal programmes as contained in our administration’s Mission to Rebuild Ogun state.
“We shall build on the foundation we had earlier laid to make our state one of the most modern and one with the highest standard of living in our country. The focus of our administration will continue to ensure better service delivery to our people. This, I believe, is why you emphatically voted for continuity during the elections.
“However, for us to continue to achieve development for our people, we need all hands on deck. We therefore invite all the good people of Ogun state to continue to join this progressive team that will further solidify development, progress, security and peace in our state,” the governor stated.
Commending the people for performing their civic responsibility in the most peaceful, civilized and orderly manner, Amosun noted that the elections in the state were the best as no incidence of violence was recorded, except for a few incidents of malpractices in some areas.
He also thanked them for their resilience, determination and perseverance, saying “we have all demonstrated that we are truly of Ogun Standard.
“You have once again demonstrated why the entire world has always referred to our State as the “Gateway” to Nigeria’s civilization,” he said.
Amosun, who also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for doing a good job despite the obvious challenges, however said the ultimate gratitude goes to the Almighty God, who he acknowledged made all these feats possible.
Meanwhile, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka Campaign Organisation GNICO kicked against the result as declared by INEC claiming the election was fraught with grassroots irregularities. The organisation actually accused INEC officials of conniving with the winner to skew the outcome of the election in favour of the incumbent governor.
Addressing journalists in Abeokuta, the director of media and publicity of GNICO, Ifekayode Akinbode described the election as very unfortunate and a travesty staged to help the APC achieve victory.
“Whereas, INEC declared APC the winner with 307,008 votes and the PDP coming second with 201,440 votes, we are not oblivious of the clear manipulations, misrepresentations, underhand dealings and outright rigging by the APC; and most unfortunately with the culpability of INEC.
“Let us quickly state emphatically that we are displeased with the outcome of the governorship election particularly as being irregular in most aspects. It is clearly not a true reflection of Ogun people’s wish and it will be challenged as appropriate. However we must state a few facts here to support our preliminary position. Before the election, we alerted that huge numbers of uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were in the possession of APC stalwarts with the intention to give same to their party members for use with active the connivance of compromised corps members and INEC staffs. This was indeed what happened.”
Akinbode, submitted, that the GNICO legal officers and the party were studying the results noting they shall come up with a clear position on the election which according to him, was marred with gross irregularities.
All said and done, the election had taken place and winner emerged. In the spirit of oneness, Senator Ibikunle Amosun should rally all the people in the state to move it forward. He should also look at all grievances of the people especially the civil servants, who form integral part of any government. Also, if possible, members of the opposition (those who are willing) should be co-opted into state administration as a form of soothing balm for them. And like Amosun promised, he should focus his energy on completing the ongoing projects in the state, while people-oriented policies capable of alleviating the poverty level of the people should be espoused by SIA’s administration in the next four years. This is very key in order to justify the renewed mandate Ogun state people gave him.