APC boycotts Delta Council poll over alleged suspicion
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday pulled out of the Delta State Local Council election accusing the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of cheating Delta people again.
The party in a statement signed by its state Caretaker Publicity Secretary, Sylvester Imonina, explained its decision to pull out of the election: “The APC Delta State told Deltans some days ago that there were evil machinations to deprive Deltans of their rights to choose who to lead them at the Local Council level. True to the concerns raised by our party days ago, DSIEC, PDP and Okowa have done the evil they know how to do best.
“On Friday, March 5, 2021, at the DSIEC headquarters in Asaba, Delta APC Representatives were not allowed to take statistics of the materials that DSIEC intended transporting to the different council areas. This is despite the insistence of the party’s representatives that it is the right of political parties to inspect and confirm what material is meant for “what and where.
“Meanwhile, as at 11 am today (Saturday), materials that were purportedly transported to DSIEC offices at the LGAs and some Police Stations were yet to be distributed. In Burutu and Patani Local Council Areas, election materials were not taken to anywhere near the Local Council Areas.”
He noted that in LGAs where materials were purportedly taken, there were no results’ sheets. “This, to our mind, is evil. There cannot be elections without results sheets! In Ethiope East, an unconfirmed report indicates that materials were purportedly taken there. However, there are also no results’ sheets.
“In few places in Asaba and the home town of the Governor where what looks like ‘elections materials’ were taken to, there were no election results’ sheets too. Undiluted information reaching Delta APC is that DSIEC in connivance with PDP and the Governor has directed that apart from selected places where there shall be stage-managed elections, and some unscrupulous journalists made to dish out the falsehood that there was a peaceful election, it was their plans that there should be no release of election materials to any ward.”
Imonina said APC members and Deltans who believe in democratic tenets have visited the different DSIEC offices and Police Stations where election materials are supposedly kept, but nothing is happening in those places. “In other words, results are being written in undisclosed homes and offices with the connivance of security men.
“Some APC members and leaders who peacefully protested the anti-democratic vices going on at different DSIEC offices and Police Stations are being intimidated, harassed and humiliated. In particular, at the Police Station in Ozoro, Isoko North Local Council, on the instigation of PDP leaders in Isoko North, some APC Stalwarts were arrested and still being kept in a police cell by the overzealous Divisional Police Officer and men under his control.
“In view of the above, Delta APC hereby boycotted the charade called Delta State Local Council elections. Though, the decision of Delta APC might be painful in view of the huge resources already committed by the party and our candidates to the project of making Delta State a better place.”
It was learnt that for the quick intervention of security personnel, comprising the army and policemen, the Ughelli office of DSIEC would have been razed again by hoodlums.
It was learnt that at about 9:00 pm on Friday, some hoodlums stormed the building and tried to set it ablaze but policemen and soldiers earlier deployed to the area averted the calamity.
According to a PDP leader in Ughelli who spoke on condition of anonymity “because the APC was not ready or prepared for the election, they sent their thugs to the newly rebuilt DSIEC office and tried to raze it down, but the place was well guarded by security men, who prevented the attack. Their plan was to prevent the election from holding in Ughelli North Council.”
The DSIEC office was burnt down during the last local council election on January 6, 2018.
Few days to the election, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, had warned that the PDP had no plans to conduct a free and fair election and urged the APC members to ensure that they prevent the rigging plan to ensure that the ruling PDP captured all the 25 councils.
Some APC faithful complained that most of their leaders were not in town and on the ground to mobilise the members for the election leaving the ruling party to organise the election the way they wished.
Besides few skirmishes, the election, which was marred by low voters turnout, was generally peaceful, unlike the violence that claimed several lives in 2018.
There was also a reported case of voters apathy and late arrival of electoral materials in Udu, Sapele, Ughelli South, Oshimili North and South council areas.
Voting also started late in Ethiope East, Ukwani, Isoko South and North, due to delayed distribution of electoral materials.
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