The substitution of Mr Eyitayo Jegede for Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 26, 2016 gubernatorial election in Ondo State has been threatening the peaceful atmosphere of the state.
Loyalists and supporters of Governor Olusegun Mimiko and Jegede had rejected the declaration of Ibrahim as the PDP flag bearer by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), following a court ruling.
Mimiko and Jegede belong to the Ahmed Makarfi led faction of the PDP while Ibrahim belongs to the Senator Ali Modu-Sherif’s faction.
Violent protests had taken place in Akure, the State capital and others towns in the state with protesters rejecting the choice of Ibrahim as the candidate and they have vowed to make the election impossible if Jegede who emerged through the primary held in Akure on August 22 is not returned.
The riot that erupted that Friday paralyzed both economic and social activities across the state as protesters stormed the streets chanting war songs.
The protesters who took to the streets and major roads in Akure, as early as 6:30am barricaded all the roads leading into the state capital.
Workers and students were turned back while commercial vehicle owners disappeared from the street.
Similar protests were recorded in Ondo town, Ore in Odigbo local government area, Ilara, Idanre, Owo, Okitipupa and in Ilaje local government area, Isua Akoko, Ikare Akoko, Ipele and many other towns and villages in the state.
Some of the protesters also stormed INEC office and were addressed by the REC, Olusegun Agbaje, who explained the reason behind the removal of Jegede as the PDP candidate.
The protesers called on INEC to reverse its decision by removing Ibrahim’s name declaring that Jimoh is not a member of PDP in the state but of the Accord Party.
The protesters made bonfires on all the major roads in the state and defied all attempts by the security agents to disperse them.
Commercial banks and shops hurriedly closed their doors over the protest, as many of the traders believed the protest might be hijacked by hoodlums.
Their spokesman Akinwunmi Ilori, accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government of working with the electoral body and the court to shut out Jegede to pave the way for Akeredolu’s candidate in the election.
Ilori said: “the APC is using Jimoh Ibrahim to cause crisis within the PDP. It is an open secret in Ondo State that Jimoh is no longer a member of the party. They are only using him to clear the ground for their candidate and this will not work.
“This is Ondo State and its a very volatile state when it comes to politics. we want them to remember the 1983 saga, we don’t pray for such but if our rights and the mandate of our candidate is trampled upon, this election might be another war.”
He, however, said with the turn out of people of the state protesting against the emergence of Jimoh Ibrahim signified that he was not a popular candidate in the state.
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