A protest ensued in the state this morning, following overnight reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, chose Mr. Ibrahim over Eyitayo Jegede, the preferred candidate of Mr. Mimiko.
Until late Thursday, Mr. Jegede was presumed as the candidate of the PDP, but a lingering court battle switched in favour of Mr. Ibrahim, setting ripples through the state.
Mr. Mimiko this Friday afternoon hastily met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House for discussion on the matter, during which he suggested that Mr. Ibrahim’s candidature could prove devastating for the state’s peace and security.
“This action of INEC is potentially dangerous,” Mr. Mimiko said shortly after meeting with Mr. Buhari Friday.
But Mr. Ibrahim, in a late Friday statement, said Mr. Mimiko was toeing a well-worn path of scaremongering, which he said would fail this time around.
“My attention has been drawn to the ongoing burning of tyres under the pretence of disruption of activities orchestrated by Governor Segun Mimiko.
“In 2009 Governor Mimiko forged security reports of the SSS and the Police to deceive the court and tribunal of Justice Nabaruma that there were security issues in the state, leading to a cancellation of results in 8 out of 18 Local Governments of the State,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Mr. Ibrahim, therefore, urged Mr. Mimiko to desist from further fomenting violence in the state and sued for peace.
“Regrettably, this tyre burning for sympathy will not work as Ondo State remains peaceful,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Messrs. Mimiko, Jegede and Ibrahim are of the Peoples Democratic Party.
But the party had been mired in crisis for several months, which left it factionalised into two camps.
While Messrs. Mimiko and Jegede belong to the Ahmed Makarfi – led faction, Mr. Ibrahim aligns with the Ali Sheriff group.
Several contradictory judgments have been delivered on the matter while even more are pending.
INEC said it accepted Mr. Ibrahim for the final compilation of the candidates for the election, which comes up next month, based on a federal court ruling by Justice Okon Abang.
“We received a court order from the High Court in Akure and that was yesterday (Wednesday), but there was a subsisting one by Justice Abang today (Thursday) ,that is what happened,” INEC’s resident electoral commissioner in the state, Segun Agbaje told Premium Times.
Mr. Agbaje said in a statement that Mr. Ibrahim’s candidature is tentative, adding that the body would comply with any pronouncement from a superior court that Mr. Ibrahim should be substituted.
“That is why we put in front of the name ‘court order,’ to show that the name was picked as a result of an order of the court.”
Meanwhile, the Makarfi faction of the PDP has described the decision of INEC to publish the name of Mr. Ibrahim as the candidate of the party as “not only shocking but also surprising to say the least”.