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Ondo: INEC replies PDP, defends appointment of Ogunbodede as Returning Officer

Activist urges INEC to improve on electioneering process

By Omeiza Ajayi

ABUJA: The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has defended its choice of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede as the Returning Officer for Saturday’s Governorship Election in Ondo state, saying it would not share its role as an umpire with any political party.
The Commission in a statement by a National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye was reacting to a press conference by the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde.

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At the conference on Thursday, Makinde had reportedly faulted the Commission for appointing the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, as the Returning Officer for the Ondo election.
However, INEC said while it would not be drawn into speculations relating to the performance of its constitutional and statutory functions, it is imperative to set the records straight for the benefit of the people of Ondo State and the integrity of the electoral process.
“It is the sole responsibility of the Commission to appoint a Returning Officer for the Ondo Governorship election and does not share this responsibility with any individual, group or Political Party.
“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. 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 free, fair and peaceful election and implores all the stakeholders to cooperate and play their own part in ensuring peaceful election and not to engage in unhelpful speculation.
“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”, the Commission stated.

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