By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
Jubril Bada, Jimoh Ahmed
& Kayode Afolabi
Fourteen political parties are fielding 208 candidates jostling for the 26 seats in tomorrow’s Ondo state House of Assembly election.
The fourteen political parties are the All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP African Democratic Congress,ADC , Labour Party,LP, New Nigeria Peoples Party,NNPP, all with 26 candidates each, while the Action Democratic Party, ADP 18, Action Alliance, AA, Social Democratic Party, ADP, 19.
Others are National Rescue Movement,NRM, 5 , Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, 9, All Peoples Party, APP, 3, AAC, 3, Young Progressive Party,YPP, 1, and Zenith Labour Party 1.
Eight of the sitting members of the State Assembly are recontesting with six on the platform of APC, one from the PDP and one from ADC.
Those recontesting are: Prince Abayomi Akinruntan, Ilaje 1, Ololade Gbegudu, Okitipupa 1, Toluwani Borokini, Akure South 1, Olamide Oladiji, Ondo East, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, Owo 1, Taofik Muhammed, Akoko North West 2, Tomomowo Favour, Ilaje 2 and Tomide Akinribido, Ondo West 1.
Two members of the House, Festus Adefiranye, APC, Ile-Oluji state constituency and Festus Akingbaso, PDP, Idanre State constituency have been elected into the Federal House of Representatives.
Eleven members decided not to seek re-election, while two contested and won House of Representatives seats.
Five others did not meet up at the primary level.
Meanwhile, sensitive materials have been delivered to all the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, offices in all the 18 local governments for onward distribution to the polling units.
Distributing the materials, acting Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Oyekola Oyelami said the commission will deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, for the exercise in the state.
Oyelami, who was flanked by other officers of the commission, said the electronic machines (BVAS) had been re-configured after their usage for the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, noting that it would be used for the March 18 State’s parliament election.
He added that the materials distributed by INEC include ballot papers and result sheets.
“On Thursday, these materials would be dispatched from there while on Friday, the materials would arrive at the RAC centres where they would pass the night and as early as 6 am on Saturday, they would be moved to the various polling units for the election.
“Aside from these, we would also be deploying the BVAS which has been reconfigured for the Saturday exercise. So, all of them are working perfectly now and would be used in the polling units,” the REC said.
While expressing INEC’s readiness for the election, Oyelami said that out of the 18 political parties that registered in the country, only 17 fielded candidates to participate in the House of Assembly election in the state.
According to him, the leaderships of the participating political parties have held series of meetings with INEC in ensuring peaceful conduct of the election.
“These political parties have already fielded their candidates that would participate in the Assembly election on Saturday and we have deployed our staff too for the timely arrival of materials to the polling units.”
He, however, pleaded with the electorate in the state to troop out en mass for the exercise to elect their representatives at the parliamentary house.
The Chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC), in the State, Adesanya Olaoluwa, who witnessed the distribution of the materials said the political parties were ready for the election.
Olaoluwa explained that the parties are optimistic that the electoral commission would deliver on its promises by ensuring timely arrival of materials for the exercise.
The IPAC chairman also reiterated that out of the registered 18 political parties in the country, 14 would take part in the Saturday poll in the state.
Report from Ore, headquarters of Odigbo Local Government confirmed that sensitive materials arrived its INEC office.
Our correspondent who visited the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office gathered that the election materials have arrived on Thursday.
Reports from Ondo North in Akoko area confirmed that activities have once again resumed at INEC local government offices.
When The Hope visited the local government INEC offices, sensitive election materials were ready for distribution to make early commencement of the election possible.
A political analyst from Irun Akoko, Mr Bayo Boluwade urged INEC as an unbiased umpire to do more in making Saturday’s election credible.