The Chairman of the PDP Ondo State Gubernatorial National Campaign Council, Seyi Makinde who is also the Governor of Oyo State has announced the rejection 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 Governor, who raised the alarm on Thursday in Akure, the state capital, expressed doubt over the neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct the poll.
Makinde emphasized that 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 runs contrary to the rules of the electoral process.
He alleged that Prof. Ogunbodede has an affiliation with Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and that he is from the same town of Owo with the governor.
“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.
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“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 affiliation 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. We call on the United Nations, the European Union, the United State and the United Kingdom and indeed all allies of democracy to call INEC to order.