Aiyedatiwa's camp confident as INEC publishes candidates for Ondo poll Saturday

The camp of the Ondo State governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, is beaming with confidence ahead of the publication of the candidates list for the November 16 Ondo State Governorship by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC in a statement on Thursday announced that the personal particulars of the candidates and their running mates contesting the Ondo State governorship election will be published on Saturday, May 25, 2024.

Aiyedatiwa had scored 48,569 votes to defeat his closest challengers, Mayowa Akinfolarin who had 15,343 votes and Olusola Oke who polled 14,915 votes to emerge the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the governorship election.

But despite his emergence, uncertainty looms over the party regarding its candidate for the poll after a report by some INEC officials who monitored the party primaries alleged that the election was marred by irregularities.

Over 10 of the INEC electoral officers in the 18 local councils stated that the election did not take place in their respective locations.

A senior official in the commission had also confirmed the authenticity of the report to The Guardian.

One of the aspirants that participated in the primary Jimoh Ibrahim, had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, to seek the nullification of the exercise. Jimoh representing Ondo South in the Senate, claimed that sections 221, and 228 of the 1999 Constitution and 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 were grossly violated in the conduct of the primary election.

It is unclear whether INEC will publish Aiyedatiwa’s name as section 84(13) of the 2022 Electoral Act gives INEC the power to reject individuals submitted as candidates that did not undergo primary elections monitored by INEC and did not emerge from a valid primary. This however could be challenged either by any aspirant or a political party in the court.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, in the explained that 17 Political Parties uploaded their candidates’ nomination forms for the poll by the deadline of 6.00pm on Monday May, 20 2024 when the dedicated portal automatically shut down.

He said the personal particulars of the governorship candidates and their running mates will be published on Saturday May, 25 2024, one week from the last date for the submission of nominations as provided in Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and listed as item 4 on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election.

He said: The Commission shall publish the personal particulars by displaying copies of Form EC9 along with all academic credentials and other documents submitted by each candidate at our State Headquaters in Akure and the 18 Local Government offices across the State.

“We appeal to Nigerians to scrutinise the documents. Any aspirant who participated in his/her party primaries with reasonable grounds to believe that the information provided by a candidate or running mate is false can challenge the nomination in a Federal High Court as provided in Section 29(5) of the Electoral Act 2022.

A chieftain of the APC in Ondo state, told The Guardian on Thursday that there was no apprehension in the party ahead of INEC’s publication.

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