Twenty four hours after the poll, tension was still very high last Sunday, until the INEC’s Returning Officer for the Ondo governorship election, Prof. Abdulganiyu Amballi declared Akeredolu as the winner of the poll, having polled 244,842 votes to defeat Jegede of the PDP who scored 150,380 votes. Oke scored 126,889 votes to come third while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Dr. Olu Agunloye, came fourth with 10,149 votes.
Amballi, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, said the winner had satisfied the requirements and was therefore declared the winner of the poll. The margin of victory, he said, was 94,462 votes.
The results released by INEC showed that the Akeredolu won in 14 local government areas, while the Oke won in two – Ilaje and Okitipupa Local Government Areas, just as PDP came top in the two local governments of Ondo East and Ondo West.
Surprisingly, Jegede marginally lost the election in his own local government area, Akure South to Akeredolu, scoring 25,005 as against 25,797 scored by the APC candidate.
Other local governments won by APC were Akure North, Ile Oluji/Oke-Igbo, Ifedore, Ose, Akoko South West, Akoko South East, Akoko North East, Akoko North West, Owo, Idanre, Irele, Ese-Odo and Odigbo.
The poll tsunami, according to analysts took two major casualties – Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC and Olusegun Mimiko, the incumber state governor and patron of Jegede, the PDP flagbearer.
The victory of Akeredolu is seen as a trump card for loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari in the All Progressives Congress some of whom are cabinet members, who might have delivered on their first political assignment in the lead up to the 2019 elections, with the election of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the Ondo State governor-elect.
The poll was also an indication of the power tussle within the ranks of the APC for the South-west geopolitical zone, with loyalists of the president, on the one side, and those loyal to a National Leader of the party, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the other.
Tinubu, who backed Dr. Olusegun Abraham to secure the ticket of the APC to contest in the Ondo poll, had opposed Akeredolu’s emergence as candidate of the party, alleging irregularities during the party’s primary.
Those believed to have taken part in the execution of the plan to deliver the state and are now regarded as “Buhari’s Boys” are the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN); the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai; and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Curiously, Akeredolu too, who is now in the opposing camp to Tinubu was his (Tinubu’s) candidate in the 2012 governorship election in Ondo State, but in which he came a distant third.
According to sources, with a majority of Tinubu’s former allies executing a brilliant campaign against their erstwhile principal, the stage has now been set to deliver Ekiti and Osun States to the president in 2018.
The lost of Jegede has also demystified Governor Mimiko, regarded as the Iroko in the state’s political parlance. Mimiko was in the Labour Party in 2012 when he won the election and decamped to the PDP in the run-up to the 2015 election, after an alleged deal with the PDP. He thereafter emerged as the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum. The election has set fires on all these profiles.
Meanwhile, despite Tinubu’s he has congratulated the new governor-elect and asked party members to close ranks “for the good of our party and its progressive ideals”.
In a statement from his media office, he said: “Following the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with regard to the governorship elections in Ondo State, I extend congratulations to Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) on the outcome of the election and for his perseverance and persistence in seeking that office.