TVC E. Mimiko, who was visibly angry, spoke in Akure at a press conference he addressed at the State International Event Centre (The Dome) stating that, several measures had been put in place by the electoral body and some political players to the advantage of the APC candidate.
The governor said one of the ploys to realise the mission of those who were bent on manipulating the process in favour of the APC was the deployment of Professor Kayode Soremekun, who was the returning officer for the September election in Edo State to perform the same function in Ondo State.
“We have just been told that the same team of election ad hoc staff, which masterminded the largely controversial Edo election, has been sent to our state to deliver a pre-conceived result for Rotimi Akeredolu, the APC candidate.
“I have to state this here and now, that our people will not accept the method, men and process unleashed on Edo. We reject unequivocally the mission of this team to our State.
“The Edo team did not only call off collation by 9pm on election day, party agents, monitors and journalists were ordered out of the collation centres allowing for final subversion of the will of the electorates. We shall not allow such an ungodly process to be repeated in our dear state.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this ungodly process started when INEC, in flagrant disregard of extant laws governing elections, removed the name of Eyitayo Jegede on the basis of a Justice Okon Abang order that has since been declared as a fraud by the Supreme Court.
“We wonder why INEC could remove the name of a man who emerged from a party primary that was conducted in a free, fair and open environment and by legitimate organs of the party, where INEC itself was represented, with another from a process that is illegal, and by people not known to law and logic.
“INEC discarded all legal advice not to substitute Eyitayo Jegede by its own chosen consortium of lawyers”, he said.
The governor said INEC was being forced to subvert its processes, and imperil the Ondo election saying that the team it sent to Edo, which it is also sending to Ondo, is peopled by rabid supporters of APC who have displayed their brazen disdain for justice and fair play in the Edo election.
“I am by this asking you the good people of Ondo State to be vigilant and insist on the sanctity of the ballot. We must not allow any alteration of result either at the Ward Collation Centre or anywhere along the line.
“We are a proud people; we can make our choices for the good of our state. We need no manipulation of any kind to exercise our inalienable right to choose our leaders. We also do not want anything to remind us of the inglorious past of violence and bloodshed precipitated by injustice and impunity”, he said.
The governor said he as the Chief Security Officer of the state had met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the past two weeks to call his attention to the peculiar challenges being foisted on the state.
“I have also at all times called on our people to carry out their activities according to the laws of the land. I have discharged my responsibilities in the above direction to the best of my ability and want Nigerians to hold those who want to subvert the electoral system responsible for any negative development that may attend the planned rigging of tomorrow’s election,” he said.
INEC: We Have No Interest in Ondo Poll
Meanwhile INEC yesterday said that it has no interest in any of the candidates in today’s election contrary to Mimiko’s allegation.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, Mr Segun Agbaje who denied the allegation, said: “INEC is not protecting the interest of anybody or any political party contesting the election.”
Agbaje who spoke at the state headquarters of the commission said: “I don’t know any of the candidates contesting the election. I don’t know Rotimi Akeredolu, neither do I know Olusola Oke or Eyitayo Jegede. I am not from Ondo State and I have nothing to gain if the election is rigged.”