Otega Emerhor alleges massive rigging in Delta State
FIVE weeks after the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Delta State, the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Olorogun Emerhor Otega, who lost out in the contest to his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, has come out to recount how the exercise was conducted, alleging massive irregularities.
Otega told the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja during a visit with a delegation from Delta State to congratulate him on his victory, that the outcome of the governorship election in the state was not a reflection of the wishes of the electorate.
He claimed that there were votes rigging and manipulation of results in most part of the entire South-South and Southeast geo-political zones in favour of the PDP and that with the evidence of how he was denied victory at his disposal, he believed the triumph by the PDP would be upturned at the election petition tribunal.
Briefing Buhari on what transpired during the election, he said, “we would like to bring to your attention how the PDP disenfranchised the people of Delta and the South-South at both the presidential and governorship elections. As our submission to the tribunal in respect of the governorship and State Assembly elections will demonstrate, in truth, majority of Deltans were ready for the change you represent and were geared to vote massively for you and the APC, unfortunately, a grand design executed by the PDP in the South-South and Southeast and particularly in Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom, made sure that no proper election took place.
“Result sheets were confiscated and results fabricated, written and allocated to parties giving PDP massive votes while giving paltry votes to APC in order to portray it as not existing in the two zones. To provide a cover for this vote manipulation, PDP also resorted to violence and intimidation and ballot box snatching as a smoke screen.
“They effectively compromised both INEC and the security forces and this secured the declaration of PDP as winner in these states against the will and preferences of the people of the two zones.
“Through the CTC of the Card Reader report that we have obtained from INEC, we have unearthed the massive fraud that PDP perpetuated in Delta state. We have filed our petitions to cancel these bogus elections in the tribunal. Our election petition shows that while announced voter accreditation was over 1,017,796, the actual card reader accreditation report shows only 709,700.
“A cursory look shows that the votes allocated to the PDP governorship candidate (724,680) alone exceeded the accredited voters as recorded by the card reader report. With these anomalies, we are indeed very optimistic that the Governorship and Assembly elections in Delta State will be nullified and a rerun ordered.
“As you are aware, Delta State along with Akwa Ibom and Rivers are the rich oil resources and the PDP is determined to hold on to these states at all cost in order to utilize the huge revenue base of these states to re-launch itself to national reckoning. It is therefore strategic for the APC and your administration to pay particular attention and to assist us in putting in place modalities to break the stronghold of the PDP in Delta and the other states. Irrespective of the intent of PDP to dubiously hold on to Delta State, our resolve to reclaim our mandate from the PDP is unshakeable as we are assured that under your presidency, the re-run elections will be undertaken in an environment that will allow for a free, fair and transparent election.”
He assured Buhari of their cooperation in tackling the challenges of the Niger Delta region which include militancy, pipeline vandalisation, oil theft, and environmental degradation.
The President-elect expressed gratitude to Otega for the visit adding his administration would leave no stone unturned in ensuring security of lives and properties.
According to him, “I am very much in touch with party leaders in the South-South and they are keeping me abreast with the running battle and I assure you that my objective of remaining consistently in partisan politics is to make sure that Nigerians are given their inherent right as citizens of Nigeria to choose whoever they want to lead them. It is not a favour for them as Nigerians, but a constitutional right as citizens of this country.
“I will not support anybody who will undermine that right of Nigerians by whatever means. To use the military and other law enforcement agencies and worse still, to give drugs and weapons to unemployed youths and send them to kill their own people is the worst thing anybody aspiring to leadership can do to his country. I assure you that in this first term what I will concentrate on is that Nigerians will be proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. They will be respected.
“I assure you that the APC’s first objective is security. I understand why many of you were denied the opportunity to choose those you want to represent and lead you. You are taking the line I took in the last 12 years which is in line with our Constitution. Whether you get it or not, the most important thing is that you believe in the system and you should continue to try until the system is perfect.”