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INEC Denies PDP’s Claim, Says Ondo Returning Officer Not from OAU

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has tackled the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over what it said was a false claim regarding its choice of returning officer for the Ondo governorship election.

Festus Okoye, INEC spokesman, said the returning officer for the election is not from Ondo state as the party claimed.

Although the commission is yet to reveal the name of the official, the PDP campaign council had said it learnt the returning officer would be Eyitope Ogunbodede, vice-chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University.

Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state who leads the campaign council, said at a press conference on Thursday that INEC would not oversee a credible electoral process with the choice of Ogunbodede who he claimed was from the same area with Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“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 APC and hails from Owo, the same hometown as the candidate,” he had said.

Reacting via a statement, Okoye said the returning officer for the election is neither from Ondo nor from OAU.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the returning officer for the Ondo governorship election is not from Ondo state and not from the university mentioned in the said press conference,” he said.

“The returning officer appointed by the commission will report to the resident electoral commissioner for Ondo state on the date conveyed in his letter of appointment issued several days ago.

“The commission is firmly focused on the conduct of a free, fair and peaceful election and implores all the stakeholders to cooperate and play their own part in ensuring a peaceful election and not to engage in unhelpful speculation.”

The INEC spokesman added that the commission does not share its responsibility of appointing a returning officer with anyone, including political parties.

“The main concern of the commission is in ensuring a credible electoral process while the outcome is in the hands of the people of Ondo state,” he said.

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