Mr. Biodun Oyebanji of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the next governor of Ekiti State.
He will take over the affairs of the state from incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi after he was declared the winner of yesterday’s governorship election early this morning by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Oyebanji, according to the election’s Chief Returning Officer, Professor Kayode Adebowale, polled a total of 187,057 leaving his closest rival, Engineer Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) a distant second with 82,211 votes. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Bisi Kolawole came third with 67,457 votes.
In addition to his total votes, the APC candidate won in 15 of the 16 local government areas. The exception was Efon which was won by Kolawole who hails from the LGA.
Oyebanji, who until recently was Secretary to the State Government (SSG) , was ahead in most of the local government areas where the results had come in last night including Ido-Osi, the local government area of Oni, and Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA where former governor Ayo Fayose hails from
Each of the three leading candidates won his ward handsomely with Oyebanji recording 296 votes in his Polling Unit 003, Ward 6 in Ikogosi. Kolawole had only one vote there while three votes were voided. Kolawole also won in his Efon LGA.
Oni got 218 or 90 percent of the total votes cast in his Polling Unit 6, Ward 4 at Ogbon Iro in Ifaki, leaving only 15 for Oyebanji and two for Kolawole.
Kolawole had his own pound of flesh in his Ward 8, Unit 1, Efon Alaye, in Efon Local Government Area, garnering 98 votes, while Oyebanji got 13 votes and Oni two votes.
Governor Fayemi delivered his Polling Unit at Ogilolo Ward in Isan-Ekiti, Oye LGA to the APC candidate with 154 votes to SDP’s 4 and PDP’s 3.
Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi also won his ward in Ado Ekiti for the APC with 109 votes to SDP’s 86 and PDP’s 14.
The APC deputy governorship candidate, Mrs. Mojisola Afuye fared well in her Atiba Aafin Ward in Ikere Ekiti, delivering 165 votes .
But it was a disappointing day for the senator representing Ekiti South, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi. Her party polled 110 votes while APC got 141 and SDP 46.
The results were transmitted electronically and that seemed to have aided their comparatively early release for by 7.46 pm yesterday INEC had uploaded results from 2273 out of the 2445 polling units in the state.
Collation subsequently moved to the local government areas.
Following is the standing of the candidates in some of the LGAs at press time:
Irepodun/Ifelodun (Fayose’s LGA):
Ido/Osi LG (Oni’s LGA):
Oye LG (Gov.Fayemi’s LGA)
Ikere LG (ADC candidate Wole Oluyede ‘s LGA):
Ekiti West (Oyebanji’s LGA)
The election was generally peaceful despite reports of alleged vote-buying in some areas.
Voters also turned out in large numbers.
There were pockets of complaints about the malfunctioning of the BVAS machines.
Ballot snatching was recorded at two polling units in Ilawe-Ekiti, Ekiti South West Local Government Area.
The Spokesman of the Ekiti State Police, Abutu Sunday, confirmed the incident but said normalcy was restored immediately
He stated the Command arrested four people for disruption of the voting exercise.
Oyebanji, who voted around 10.40 am, exuded confidence as he walked to the polling centre.
He wore a white Buba, with his trademark green Awoist cap to match.
He was calm, as he alighted from his utility vehicle. His presence was electrifying. A homeboy, he walked majestically, with charisma and dignity, bowing to elders and shaking hands with youths.
He beamed an infectious smile as he advanced to the polling unit in front of the residence of a local chief, Ejisun Oyebanji, elder brother of his father, Pa Ezekiel Oyebanji, a foremost educationist.
Accompanied by security agents and aides, Oyebanji posed as a populist as he trekked many meters, waving his hands at the crowd of rural dwellers. As he exchanged banters with the natives in the rustic town, shouts of ‘Bao, Bao’ filled the air.
Although it was drizzling in the morning, heaven withheld the rain. Indeed, nature was kind and the weather was benevolent.
Electoral officers came very early. The machines never malfunctioned. Security agents policed the polling materials. There was no unruly behaviour.
Oyebanji expressed satisfaction with the process, saying there was no cause for alarm.
He hailed the performance of the electoral agency, noting that polling officers prepared well for the exercise.
Oyebanji dismissed the allegation of voting buying in some locations, saying that APC members were not involved.
Asked to assess the exercise, he said:”I cannot assess the entire exercise. I can only assess the exercise in my polling unit. It has been seamless. I must commend INEC for a job well done.”
Oyebanji urged his supporters to remain orderly and avoid unpatriotic behaviour.
He said:”I will encourage them to be orderly, to be non-violennt, to persevere, to cast their vote and defend it.”
Oyebanji said he expected total compliance with the Electoral Act.
Asked to clarify if there was a case in court against him, he said:”I am not aware of any case in court.”
Many people in Ado Ekiti said they voted for APC because of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose intervention in the electioneering motivated them to rekindle faith in the ruling party.
PDP candidate, Kolawole, votes, rates INEC high
Chief Bisi Kolawole, the PDP candidate commended INEC for making adequate arrangements for the election.
Kolawole made the remarks in his hometown, Efon-Alaaye in Efon Local Government shortly after casting his vote.
He said though, there was still room for improvement by INEC, the national electoral umpire must continue to work toward perfection.
He said: “So far, so good, I have just finished casting my vote, I think INEC’s preparation for this election is commendable.
“However, I will urge INEC to continue to improve.”
On security for the election, he said: “ I want to tell you that there are enough security men on the ground to ensure peace, but if there is any chaos, I believe the security should be held responsible.
Also commenting, Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi, representing Ekiti North Senatorial District, expressed satisfaction with the presence of heavy security in Ifaki-Ekiti, his hometown.
“This is not a new phenomenon; at every election, we should expect the presence of security agents.
“I am satisfied with what I’m seeing; you can see that Ifaki is peaceful.
“I must say that the large presence of security men has enhanced the peace of this community.
“Any technological innovation that would enhance the digitization of the electoral process is welcomed,” Adetunmbi said.
Election in Ido-Osi is generally free, fair
Historian and Odofin of Ido-Ekiti, High Chief Victor Olawoye described the conduct of the election in the town as generally free and fair, with no incidence of violence.
“Contrary to fears that heavens would fall and that lighting would strike, the election was largely peaceful in Ido-Ekiti where I monitored the developments during the contest,” he said.
He added: “People defied the early morning dew to come out to exercise their franchise.
“Initially, there were complaints about the slow pace of the voter verification process because the machine was malfunctioning. But, within one hour, INEC rectified the fault.”
Chief Olawoye said he did not witness the reported threat of violence in Ido-Ekiti but only heard about it. He said: “Apparently, it was a case of two fighting, which had nothing I do with the electioneering prices proper.”
Credit: The Nation Photo Credit: The Nation