Supporters of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ondo State are protesting the announcement of Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP in the forth-coming governorship election in the state.
Ibrahim was the candidate of the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Thursday night released the list of candidates of the various parties participating in the Ondo election, but the list showed that Ibrahim was the PDP candidate instead of Eyitayo Jegede, who emerged victorious in the primary election held by the Makarfi-faction.
INEC cited a court judgement delivered by Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court, Abuja, which affirmed that Modu-Sheriff was the authentic National chairman of the PDP and ordered INEC to recognize Ibrahim as the authentic PDP candidate in the Ondo governorship election.
Justice Abang on Thursday also threw out an application by Jegede to appeal the judgement. He held that since Jegede did not take part in the election that produced Ibrahim as the PDP candidate, he has no locus standi to appeal the judgement.
Following the court judgement and INEC’s subsequent substitution of Jegede with Ibrahim, the town of Akure, the Ondo State capital erupted in protest on Thursday morning, as youths blocked the streets and lit bonfires along major highways.
The development led to serious traffic gridlock with motorists seeking alternative routes to their destinations.
Policemen were on hand to prevent the situation from escalating, though their number as at the time of this report was few when compared to the number of protesters.
Reports say similar protests are holding on in Ondo City and Ore.
Meanwhile, governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko met with President Buhari at the state house in Abuja on Thursday.
Mimiko told State House correspondents after the closed-door meeting that the decision by INEC had thrown the state into violence.
The governor described the announcement of Ibrahim’s name, instead of Jegede, as an act of injustice and mischief by INEC.
He added that President Buhari promised to look into the matter.