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PDP supporters protest against Edo governor election result

By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin City) and Segun Olaniyi (Abuja)   |   04 October 2016   |   1:15 am

pdp-logo• Ize-Iyamu contested against INEC, says Fayose
• Polls scientifically rigged, group claims
• Exercise was transparent, electoral body insists
• NLC lauds conduct, congratulates Obaseki, deputy

Supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate in the September 28 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, yesterday protested against the declaration of Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the polls.

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE Nigeria), has alleged that the governorship election in Edo State was scientifically rigged to favour the candidate of a particular political party.

The group also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve on the electoral process, particularly the collation of results, stressing that a situation where voting ends at polling units during the day and collation starts at night does not allow for transparency and credibility of the process

They said the announcement by INEC declaring Obaseki winner did not reflect the wishes of voters.

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, howver said that the PDP and its candidate contested against the Independent National Electoral Commission and not the APC.

He described the success of the APC in the election as “victory only made possible by the use of Federal Government agencies to subvert the will of the people.”

Fayose, who lamented that the win-at-all-cost attitude of the APC was inimical to the sustenance of democracy in the country said it was sad that instead of the people of Edo electing their own governor, the APC conspired with INEC to foist its own governor on the people.

The governor expressed this view in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

INEC has, however, reacted to the allegation of misconduct in the election.

According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi: “The just-concluded Edo governorship election was conducted within the ambit of the Electoral Law.

“The commission can confidently affirm that every single vote cast was jealously safeguarded. While the entire process may not have been perfect, no part of the collation process was compromised.”

While the protest was ongoing, a faction which called itself PDP Restoration Group held a press conference where they condemned the demonstration and called for the resignation of the party’s state executive committee. They alleged that the leadership led the party to lose the election.

The chairman of the group, Uyi Igbinigie, said the state chairman of the party failed to address some salient issues during campaigns.

He also alleged that the primary election of the party was manipulated to favour Ize-Iyamu.

“How do you explain that your governorship candidate is facing corruption charges before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)? The other reason was the attitude of the state exco of the party led by Chief Dan Orbih. Orbih in connivance with his cronies skewed the primary to favour Ize-Iyamu.

“Orbih’s campaign method did not help matters. Instead of staying on issues, he spent all the time criticising and raining abuses and unfounded allegations on the person of Obaseki,” he stated.

He also kicked against the decision of the party to go to the tribunal, saying this would amount to waste of resources.

Spokesman for the protesters, Rev. Olu Martins said: “We will not stop until what rightfully belongs to the people is returned to them. For the first time in Nigeria’s political process, international observers and journalists were barred from collation centres on the evening of an election and asked to come back the following day.

“By the time they came back the following day, the results were ready. That is magical. They have subverted the will of the people so, we cannot stop protesting.”

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja on a report on the Edo governorship poll, the Acting General Secretary, ACE Nigeria, Mma Odi said: “Our politicians who are always against free, fair and credible elections are also getting advanced in the act of rigging, which we saw in Edo.”

Odi, however, commended INEC and the security agents for the manner employed in discharging their duties, while urging the government to urgently pay all the allowances of security personnel in order to avoid being lured with inducements by politicians.

But the group observed some anomalies during the polls.

According to ACE Nigeria: “Parties engaged in canvassing for votes at the polling units, with some of them assisting the electorate to cast their votes for financial inducement. INEC must take proactive steps to ensure that these activities do not take place at polling units in future polls.”

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday lauded the conduct of the election.

The congress also congratulated Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.

A statement by the state Chairman and Secretary of the union, Emmanuel Ademokun and B. S. Kadiri urged the new team to deliver to Edo people what they promised during their campaigns.

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