The Ondo State Governor and South West Coordinator of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, on Monday faulted the comment of the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, that President Goodluck Jonathan influenced the postponement of the election in the interest of himself and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mimiko, who spoke during an interaction with journalists in Akure, Ondo State capital said the available evidence on ground knocked out the former president’s postulations on the shift of the election.
The governor noted that if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had started the election on February 14 as scheduled, a lot of eligible voters would have been disenfranchised.
Specifically, Mimiko explained that a greater percentage of voters from the South-west region would have been disenfranchised in the election, noting that only 52 per cent of voters from the region had collected their permanent Voters’ Card (PVCs) while a greater percentage have obtained same in the northern region.
Mimiko said “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,” Mimiko said.
The governor noted that some people that were claiming to be protecting the South-west were not truthful about the issue on the ground because with what was on ground at the time of the postponement, the South-west had been short-changed in terms of distribution of PVCs.
“ 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,” Mimiko said.
Mimiko said with what is on ground, the people of the South-west region will not only vote for Jonathan but will vote “handsomely” for President Jonathan in the presidential election based on the achievements recorded by the president during his first term in office.
Mimiko said Jonathan won in the South-west states in 2011 despite the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no governor in the region then.
“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,” he said.
He said he had no doubt in his mind that Jonathan will win handsomely in the South-west.