The Backstory: Between Prof Ayo Soremekun, the returning officer and the PDP

There’s a very scathing statement out there today by Ayo Fadaka, publicity secretary Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Ondo State rejecting the appointment of Professor Soremekun as the Chief Returning Officer for tomorrow’s gubernatorial elections in Ondo State.

“He is NOT WELCOME here and INEC will only incur our wrath if it makes any attempt to IMPOSE him to superintend over our election considering the fact that we are REJECTING this attempt to bring him here. We again declare that INEC is free to RECRUIT ANY OTHER PERSON to serve as the Chief Returning Officer as we will certainly and vehemently refuse to allow Soremekun to compromise our election …We also wish to remind that in Ondo State we have a culture of vehement resistance to election manipulation, thus we warn stringently that we will refuse Soremekun’s appointment as our Chief Returning Officer.”

(emphasis ours)

Reading through the statement, a few things became very clear and unmistakable: There’s a history -a not very pleasant one – between the PDP and the Professor. Luckily we have the gist of it.

Enjoy. Or just catch up.

The Professor

Professor Ayo Soremekun is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti in Ekiti State. Before his appointment at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, he was at the National Open University of Nigeria. He obtained most of his background education from the Obafemi Awolowo University where he studied International Relations up to doctorate level in 1984. With an extensive knowledge in International relations and authorship of several governance books to booth, it is no surprise that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will have him on its radar a supervising officer for elections across the country. If two recruitments count as such.

Chief Returning Officer

Professor Kayode Soremekun was recruited Chief Returning Officer by INEC during the just concluded Edo gubernatorial elections closely contested by PDP candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and the candidate of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) Godwin Obaseki who was returned as the winner of the elections on the 29th of September. The Edo State elections are being seriously contested.

According to Professor Kayode Soremekun, as the Chief Returning Officer for the Edo State elections, the APC polled 319, 483 votes, as against 253, 173 votes garnered by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Godwin Obaseki was returned as the winner of 13 out of the 18 Local Government Areas in the state.

Immediately these results were announced, the PDP rejected the election results on account of their submission that the details of the results released by INEC are all fake.

According to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the election results announced by the Professor for INEC did not tally with voter turnouts nor did they correspond with results collated at the various polling units across wards throughout Edo State. Essentially, PDP’s allegation is that the results as announced by Professor Soremekun were re-written by the INEC.

Parallels between the Ondo State Elections and the Edo Elections

There is need to disclose that Ondo State is very different from Edo State in terms of political eco-system. The ruling party has almost no advantage beyond being the ruling party. Never has an APC (that includes the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria that merged with CPC to form APC) candidate been an Ondo State governor.

In Edo State, Governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki enjoyed the privilege of having Adams Oshiomole of his party as the seating governor.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who seats as the incumbent governor has gone from being a Labour Party adherent to the PDP and has the benefit of having been governor in the State for 8 years. Therefore, there is almost no fear of an APC win in tomorrow’s elections.

Well except a certain academic who may or may not have aided the doctoring of Edo’s gubernatorial election results also helps doctor tomorrow’s results. And this seems to be the crux of the Ondo State PDP’s public outcry today.

Sufficiently caught up?

Good. It’s what we live for.

 

 

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