By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
The National Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State, has rejected the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as the Chief Returning Officer for the election.
Chairman of the Campaign Council, who is also the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who addressed newsmen in Akure on Thursday, raised the alarm, declaring that the people of Ondo State could be shortchanged if Ogunbodede is allowed to serve as the Returning Officer.
He said that the VC is a crony of the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Areredolu (SAN), adding that such a situation cannot guarantee a free and fair election. According to him, there appears a high plot to sabotage the will of the voters in the state by ensuring that they do not get a free and fair election.
He said further that the appointment of Ogunbodede, a crony of the incumbent Ondo State Governor, who is also the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will compromise the election.
”Besides being a crony of the Ondo State governor, Ogunbodede equally hails from Owo town,” the governor added.
Makinde called on INEC to replace Prof. Ogunbodede as Chief Returning Officer with a neutral individual, adding that such a sensitive position must be held by someone who has no affiliation with any of the parties in the election.
The PDP National Campaign Council also declared that Professor A.S. Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training for returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of the election
It called on all lovers of democracy around the world to be alert to the machinations of the APC-led Federal Government to rig the Ondo State governorship election.
The campaign council urged the United Nations, the European Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom and all lovers of democracy to call INEC to order, stating that it is already compiling names of all actors and would not hesitate to recommend the same for visa ban based on their actions and inactions in Saturday’s election.
Governor Makinde, who called on the international community to be alert to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo, said: “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 centre is trying to do in Ondo State.
The governor commended security agencies in Ondo State for doing well so far, warning, however, that they should not allow themselves to be used as tools to subvert the will of the people.