The protest by the Ahmed Markafi led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State against the replacement of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede’s name with Jimoh Ibrahim by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the November 26, governorship election, continued on Saturday.
Markets and shops, particularly the Erekesan Market were all closed. Jegede is an indigene of Akure.
The aggrieved PDP members in their thousands led by Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Kola Ademujimi, the embattled PDP State Chairman, Engr. Clement Faboyede, the State Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jumoke Akindele, national Assembly members, Commissioners among others marched from their party secretariat at Ijapo road to the Deji of Akure’s Palace.
They were armed with placards with different inscriptions such as “Justice Abang is a disgrace to the Judiciary”, “We say no to Jankara ruling” “The F.G and the Judiciary should allow INEC to be independent” “Abang is a rotten egg in Judiciary”.
The aggrieved PDP loyalists also threatened that there will not be election in the state if INEC failed to return Jegede’s name to the list of those who will participate in the election.
Faboyede, who addressed his members before the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government and the judiciary of attempting to rig out PDP in the coming election.
The embattled chairman, who was fuming while addressing the crowd, said no court can change or impose candidate on any political party in the country.
He noted that it was the duty of the party to conduct a primary election which must produce a candidate.
According to him, “we are in your palace to express our displeasure about the happening toward the coming election.
“We want to make you a point of contact to inform all traditional rulers in the state to rise against this injustice and we want you to help us call on the federal government to instruct the INEC not to set Ondo State on fire.
“We are loving people and peaceful but we are politicians. Ondo and Ekiti people do not like to be cheated because we do not cheat people.
“We don’t want the 1983 crisis to repeat itself again. We believe you can save us because Jegede emerged through a constitutional process and we will not accept or succumb to anyone to get a justice through back door.
“Jimoh Ibrahim is not a member of PDP; he has defected to Accord Party (APC) and no court can impose any candidate on any political party.
“It is the choice of the party to conduct primary and we in PDP conducted primary where Jegede emerged.
“We will accept the outcome of the result of the November 26, poll, but we will be against any move to stop our candidate.
“Buhari should be vigilant of overzealousness of some of his ministers and he should remember that we Ondo State people voted for him against our party’s candidate during the 2015 general elections”.
While responding, Oba Aladetoyinbo commended the PDP members for staging a peaceful protest, but appealed to them to stop making bonfire.
The monarch said he believed that Buhari was a law abiding President and that he would never allow what was gotten through a back door to stand.
The king also recalled that if not the 1983 crisis that claimed many lives and property, the Akures would have produced a governor because many of their prominent sons died.
He blamed the electoral commission for the crisis rocking the state, saying if INEC could not manage the political crisis of one party, he wondered how it would manage crisis of over 40 political parties.
He however appealed to INEC to always ensure political parties in subsequent elections abided by the constitution of the country when conducting their primaries.
Earlier, the PDP caucus at the State Assembly led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jumoke Akindele held a press conference in Akure, where he said Jimoh Ibrahim had no moral or political strength to be the PDP candidate.
At the event, which was attended by 14 out of 21 PDP lawmakers, the speaker appealed to Buhari not to allow democracy in Ondo state to be derailed.
She said “Ondo state is historically a politically sensitive state as the citizenry, who are conscious of their right would not allow any external force to elect or impose any governorship candidate on them. And in order to prevent the unforeseen circumstance, the needful should be done.
“We appeal to the good people of Ondo state and in particular, the supporters and loyalists of Jegede to embrace peace with strong belief that justice will be done in due course”.