Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state on Friday called for presidential intervention in the ongoing political tension in the state, following INEC’s announcement of Jimoh Ibrahim as PDP gubernatorial candidate.
Mimiko, who made the call after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said this was to avert possible break down of law and order in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that two gubernatorial primaries were conducted by the two factions of the PDP.
The one led by Ali Modu Sheriff produced Jimoh Ibrahim while Eyitayo Jegede emerged as governorship candidate under the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party.
Jegede was initially presented to INEC as the party’s governorship candidate but on Thursday INEC substituted Jegede with Ibrahim for the Nov. 26 election.
The governor, however, warned that this decision of INEC may jeopardise the relative peace enjoyed in the state since 2009.
“This sort action potentially can cause a breach of peace. In Ondo state in the last seven and half years, we have done everything possible to put good governance on the table.
“We see this action of INEC as potentially dangerous.
“It can cause conflagration in the state and that is why as the chief security officer of the state, I have come to alert Mr President of the potential danger of this injustice so that we can nip it in the bud,’’ he said.
Mimiko, who expressed shock over the decision of INEC to substitute Jegede with Ibrahim, said there was no basis for such decision.
“I am shocked. In logic, in law, in politics, there is no basis for it whatsoever.
“The Jimoh Ibrahim factor in all of this is predicated on a court order given by Justice Abang. Incidentally that court order is about zonal and state executives of PDP.
“That order is about the 2009 election. Neither Jimoh Ibrahim nor Jegede were parties to the suit.’’
The governor alleged that the party primaries that produced Ibrahim was conducted in Ibadan without INEC or security agencies monitoring it.
He said that, initially INEC took the right decision by accepting the name of Jegede as PDP flag bearer before “the sudden u-turn’’ on Thursday when the commission released the list of names of the contestants.
“INEC took the right decision initially by making it clear that to start with, it is not state or zonal executive that is empowered by the electoral act to conduct election.
“Secondly, the Abang judgement on the basis of which they were putting pressure on INEC to accept Ibrahim as a candidate was referring to 2009 election. There is nothing about 2016 election in that judgement.
“Ordinarily, we should have disregarded the order because like I said, Jegede was not a party to the suit, neither was Ibrahim.
“But, we were also advised that it was very important for us to appeal so that if anybody is up to a mischief, we would have taken the plank off the person.
“Immediately, we appealed that notice of appeal especially when we had filed in our papers, submitted our briefs and gotten date, that should serve as a stay of execution,’’ he added.
Mimiko observed that under INEC guidelines the period for substitution of candidates had elapsed, and hence the substitution of Jegede by INEC was not proper.
He called on the people of the state to continue to maintain peace as efforts had been intensified towards addressing the matter.