The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the choice of Prof Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as the Chief Returning Officer of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
PDP National Campaign Council for the election led by Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde rejected Ogunbodede’s appointment on Thursday.
Makinde described the university don as a kinsman and crony of Ondo State Governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) candiiate, Rotimi Akeredolu.
He stated this in a press briefing in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
“It has come to our notice that the people of Ondo State will not be getting free and fair elections if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as presently composed, will be overseeing the elections.
“We are speaking in particular about the appointment of Prof Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as the Chief Returning Officer of the Ondo State Governorship election.
“The PDP totally rejects Prof Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede acting as Chief Returning Officer.
“He is a known crony of Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, candidate of the All Progressives Congress and hails from Owo, the same hometown as the candidate.
“He cannot be a fair party in the proceedings by virtue of their association.
“We also want to state that Professor A. S. Bamire, the deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training of returning officers is not a neutral party for the purpose of this election.
“We therefore call on INEC to stay true to their name and replace Prof Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede with a disinterested party. The Chief Returning Officer should have no affiliations with any of the participating parties in the elections.
“We also take this opportunity to call on all lovers of democracy around the world to pay attention to what the APC led administration in the center is trying to do in Ondo State,” Makinde said.
He urged the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom to call INEC to order so that the election would not lead to breakdown of law and order if rigged.
The PDP campaign boss added, “We call on all security agencies in Ondo State allow themselves to be used as a tool against the will of the people.
“We commend you for all you have done so far providing the needed support and security for our candidate and our people.
“We urge you to do more. Don’t forget that history and posterity have never been kind to anyone who allowed themselves to be used as a tool for injustice.
“We urge you to read the mood of the people and act accordingly. Politicians may come and go, but the people will always remain. Remember, the world is watching.”
He added that the PDP would not allow the people of the state be cheated.