Ondo 2016: Protests in Akure over Jegede’s replacement by INEC
Ondo State has been plunged into crises following the substitution of the Ahmed Makarfi-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim of the Ali Modu Sheriff faction for the governorship election.
The Akure people in the old Akure Division, who had hoped for the realisation of “Akure Agenda” to produce the next governor through the candidacy of Jegede, became irked by the serial judgments of Justice Okon Abang.
The monolithic people in Ifedore, Idanre, Akure South, Akure North councils decried Thursday’s ruling again by Justice Abang, dismissing the Makarfi-led faction’s application in favour of Jegede for lack of merit.
Major roads in Akure were blocked by the protesters, who mounted barricades along Oba Adesida Road, Alagbaka and other major roads in the metropolis, burning tyres and bonfires to halt free flow of traffic.
Members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other unions led the angry crowd, while some thugs were spotted at some points harassing commercial road users from plying the major roads.
It took strident measures among the market women and big shops in Akure metropolis, as all shops were under heavy keys and lock, except security operatives, who promptly stepped in to forestall violence.
The angry protesters, whose other contingents gathered in Ondo, Ondo West Council and hometown of the incumbent governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, marched to the state INEC headquarters to register their grievances.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Sina, said: “There are two courts that can hear Jegede’s application. The court that gave the earlier ruling, which has disapproved it, and a higher court, Appeal Court, where the matter is still pending.”
Despite the shock and unexpected decision by INEC, Sina said there was still much hope for a reversal, adding: “The last has not been heard on the matter.”
However, Jegede, a former attorney general and Justice Commissioner, appealed to the aggrieved party members and supporters to embrace peace, while protesting the list released by INEC.
He made the appeal in a statement personally signed by him, saying he shared in their pains of having to contend with a miscarriage of justice, which he described as a temporary setback.
He expressed optimism that the appeal court would “correct the anomaly and restore the mandate” he got freely from a democratic process conducted under the watch of INEC and security agencies.
“I am confident the Appeal Court will do the needful in addressing this anomaly. My mandate remains intact and irreplaceable by any conspiracy, as we fulfilled all legal requirements that brought us to where we are today.
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