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Edo PDP scores INEC low in February 23 poll


Dan Orbih

Electoral violence survivors seek legislation to protect women
Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has scored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) low in the conduct of the February 23 elections, saying “we have long way to go in our democracy.”

The party, however, expressed concern over possible voter apathy in the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled for March 9, following results, delay and other shortcomings in the presidential and national assembly polls.Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, who commended security agencies in the state for their display of professionalism during elections, spoke yesterday at a press conference in Benin City.

He however appealed to the electorate not to lose faith, but to come out in large numbers to elect candidates of the choice during the state elections.“With the way and manner INEC conducted last week’s election, we still have a long way in our quest for democracy.

“With what happened in Edo State and other parts of the country, INEC performed below 25 per cent. INEC has become an embarrassment to the country, as the whole world is watching events in Nigeria.“There is urgent need for the stoppage of the announcement of results from Abuja because the results do not reflect the wishes of Nigerians. So, something must be done to save our democracy.

“Nigerians are disappointed with INEC over its conduct of the election. This is going to affect the turn-out in the governorship and Houses of Assembly election, as most Nigerians are already losing faith in our electoral system. This will cause voter apathy,” Orbih said,

Meanwhile, some female survivors of electoral violence have urged security agents to put measures in place to protect the electorate, especially women, and ensure that all perpetrators of violence were apprehended and prosecuted to deter further occurrence.They also asked political parties to formulate policies to check violence against women within their political parties and guide party activists to adhere to the code of conduct for elections.

Some of the survivors made the call yesterday in Rivers State while narrating their ordeal to The Guardian.One of the victims said she was mandated by some political thugs at Polling Unit 5 in Oyigbo Council to vote for against the candidate of her choice, adding that when she refused, she was beaten up and chased into the bush by the thugs.

Project officer of Gender and Development Action, (GADA), Eunice Okam, noted that in some areas in Rivers, women were threatened, intimidated and prevented from coming out to vote due to the violent disruptions of the electoral process.She called on the state government to pass a legislation that protects women in politics and set up a centre to provide services to women survivors.

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