Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), has once again emerged the Ondo State, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Governorship candidate, this time for the October 10, 2020 gubernatorial election.
He defeated Seven other aspirants, including the incumbent Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, who only recently returned to the PDP, in culmination of the long drawn out acrimony between him and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the APC.
Jegede scored 888 votes to emerge victorious ahead of Agboola Ajayi who scored 657 votes. Dr Eddy Olafeso, former Vice Chairman of the party in the south west came third with 175 votes, while Dr Bode Ayorinde, a former member of the House of Representatives, scored 95 votes.
Banji Okunomo, a former chairman of Ilaje Local Government Area and spokesperson of NDDC scored 90 votes, while Sola Ebiseni, a human rights activist and lawyer polled 29 votes. Mr. Godday Erewa came from the rear with 14 votes, in a keenly contested primary election.
Two thousand one hundred and eleven (2, 111) delegates were accredited for the primary election and the election proper, sorting of the ballot papers and announcement of the results were concluded some minutes before midnight in a smooth, orderly and well supervised exercise, conducted in line with Covid-19 guidelines and witnessed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Enugu State governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was the Chairman of the election committee, announced the the result, declaring Eyitayo Jegede as the winner and confirming that 64 ballot papers were voided.
The election took place at the lnternational Culture and Event Centre, known as the Dome, in Akure the state capital and at the end of the exercise, the other aspirants warmly congratulated the winner and assured the party that they would all work together with Jegede, to defeat the incumbent Governor Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, who also emerged as the All Progressives Congress, APC guber candidate.
The victorious Eyitayo Jegede, who praised the courage and commitment of the other contestants to ensure a keen and rancour free exercise, will be buoyed by the fact that the leadership controversy between the Ahmed Markafi and Ali Modu-Sheriff factions of the PDP, which dogged his candidature and led to a bitter legal battle between him and Jimoh Ibrahim, who had emerged from the Modu-Sheriff primary in 2016, and was resolved just 48 hours before the election, no longer exists.
It would be recalled that a candidate identity crisis had greatly impeded Jegede and the PDP from carrying out any kind of comprehensive campaign at all, until two days to the election, when the Supreme Court pronounced him as the candidate and directed INEC to substitute his name in place of Jimoh Ibrahim, who had already been listed by INEC as Ondo PDP Governorship candidate.
Jegede, who in 2016, was seen as the man to beat in the Ondo guber poll, had still come out an impressive second, scoring 150, 380 votes to Akeredolu’s 244,842 votes, while former PDP legal adviser Olusola Oke, who contested under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) placed third with 126,889 votes. He is now even more poised to give Rotimi Akeredolu a good fight in the October 10 Ondo governorship polls.