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Akeredolu Re-Elected for a Second Term, Receives Certificate of Return

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On Saturday, October 10, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the Ondo State Governorship election, from which Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged winner. Governor Akeredolu scored 292,830 votes to defeat 16 other candidates, including his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 195,791 votes and his estranged Deputy, Agboola Ajayi who contested on the platform of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and scored 69,127 votes.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, Ambassador Rufus Akeju presented Certificates of Return to Governor Akeredolu and the Deputy Governor-elect, Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa at the INEC office in Akure, Ondo State on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

The election was adjudged to be largely peaceful by several observers, including the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, in spite of the tense political environment that preceded the election. Very few incidents of violence were recorded. Situation Room observed an improvement in INEC’s processes from the Edo State governorship election with regard to early commencement of polls, logistics arrangements, provisions for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women and nursing mothers in the voting process, as well as a marginal improvement in the observance of COVID-19 prevention protocols. Also, Ward collation concluded in an orderly manner, to a large extent. Security agents deployed for election duty conducted themselves in a professional manner and assisted to ensure compliance with safety protocols and crowd control.

However, there was low voter turnout in the election and the factors that contributed to this remain unclear. Also, the trend of vote buying appears to be worsening in Nigerian elections. Vote buying was evident in a number of polling units and largely went unchecked. Voters were reported to have sold their votes for sums ranging from N4,000 and N5,000, to N7,000. Situation Room called on INEC, security agents and other stakeholders to seek out more practical ways of enforcing punitive measures against offenders, to serve as a deterrent to political actors and the electorate, moving forward. Situation Room also enjoined all stakeholders to utilise the time before the next off-cycle governorship election to make significant progress on Constitutional and electoral reform efforts towards enhancing the legal framework governing elections in Nigeria.