As the Saturday, March 28, 2015 date set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the presidential election draws closer, Ondo State Governor and South-West Coordinator of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation, Olusegun Mimiko stated without doubt that President Goodluck Jonathan will defeat the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari in the South West geo-political zone.
He made the assertion in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Monday, February 16, 2015 while speaking to journalists, stating that the people of the South West were sophisticated enough check the track records of both candidates to help guide their judgement.
The Governor also addressed a recent statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that President Jonathan influenced the decision by INEC to shift the election date by six weeks in his interest and that of the PDP, stressing that if the election had been conducted as earlier scheduled, a large percentage of the electorate in the South West would have been disenfranchised.
His words: “What is the evidence on ground, it is when you place the evidence on ground, side by side with the postulations, you will see that the postulation cannot hold.
“Talking about the South-west, let’s put the security reason aside, let’s look essentially at the possibility of disenfranchising some voters in the South-west region because as at February 5, the record that Jega gave at the council of states on all the geo-political zones, South-west scored the least in terms of people who have collected the PVCs, whereas the average in the North-east was 77.8 per cent, while South-west was 52 per cent.
“As a matter of facts, in all the zones, it was only the South-west that scored below 60 per cent. So, we are an interested party in the sense that if the election had continued or taken place we would have been disenfranchised.
“When you look at the totality of Nigeria, there were still 34 per cent of the cards yet to be collected which is about 23 million Nigerians, and if it took INEC about four years of preparation to distribute only 60 per cent of the voters’ card and you had one week to election and even by admission of Prof. Jega himself who said if they had more time it would be better for them to perfect the arrangements.
“Look at Lagos State and Ogun State. Lagos State was 38 per cent, Ogun was 36 per cent and some other states in Nigeria, in this same country are higher. Adamawa was 80 per cent, Yobe was 74 per cent, Sokoto was 81 per cent when Lagos was just 38 per cent.
“Yet if anybody claims he can protect the interest of the South-west and would prefer that we go into that election with only 38 per cent of registered voters ready and with the PVC, then I leave the judgement to you, so the postulation falls flat on the face of evidence before us.”
Speaking of the chances of President Jonathan in the South West, Governor Mimiko said: “Now, Jonathan has two governors in the South-west and I keep telling people that the South-west is politically sophisticated and nobody can run away from that fact. If you want to get the support of the South-west , it must be based on substance, it must be based on your political antecedents and records. It must be based on empirical evidences.
“I don’t have any doubt in mind that because of the level of sophistication in the South-west and again the people are discerning, they will be able to put the candidate of the APC side by side with Jonathan and they will look at their political antecedent and their records,”