AN election observer group under the aegis of Alliance for Credible Elections, ACE, yesterday, in Abuja, alleged that the just concluded governorship election in Edo State, where Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was declared winner, was heavily rigged.
Meanwhile in Benin, accredited election observers under the aegis of Public Interest Association, that monitored governorship election in the state, has called for the cancellation of the results, saying that it was a charade and does not reflect the wishes of Edo people.
The APC has however denied both allegations, insisting that what was announced by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was a reflection of the wises of the people. ACE said that the election was rigged scientifically by INEC, at the point of collation of results but failed to mention which party benefited from the alleged rigging. But the group, which described the development as replica of the elections conducted in 2003 and 2007, under the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, warned against the repeat of such exercise in the forth coming governorship election in Ondo State.
At a press conference, in Abuja, on the report of its observation of Edo State governorship election, addressed by its acting General Secretary, Mma Odi, the group said that the Edo election saw a new innovation in rigging, regretting that the development took the country to the dark days of the military era. It alleged that to perfect this act, the electoral umpire deliberately delayed collation of results of election till 10pm, where the inglorious act was carried out in the night and advised against playing partisan role in its responsibilities. “This election has brought in new innovations to the rigging of elections.
You make the election to appear very nice during voting and all that but when it concerns collating, they were highly innovative. Which means we are getting higher in technological advancement.” But reacting to allegation that the Edo governorship election was rigged in favour of APC, the party’s acting Publicity Secretary, Mr Timi Frank, said it was a wild allegation without substance. He said that the APC won the election as a sign of appreciation for the development of Edo State for the past eight years by the leadership of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Speaking on a telephone interview, Mr Frank said that the development in Edo will repeat itself in the forth coming governorship election in Ondo State given that the people of the state were disenchanted with the governance of Governor Segun Mimiko. Meanwhile in Benin, accredited election observers under the aegis of Public Interest Association, that monitored governorship election in the state, has called for the cancellation of the results, saying that it was a charade and does not reflect the wishes of Edo people.
Addressing newsmen in Benin, yesterday, National Coordinator Mrs Esther Bassey, said that the results released by INEC, was an indication of a commission that has become partisan and has compromised itself to avoid an inconclusive exercise.
According to the observers, “We demand for an immediate cancellation of the September 28, 2016 governorship election in Edo State because such charade exercise has already put the peace and unity of the state in jeopardy as the results released by a partisan and compromised INEC does not in any way reflect the wishes of the people of the state.
“The results released shows that INEC was indeed under pressure to avoid further inconclusive elections in Nigeria as many inconclusive elections nowadays have already painted the commission on a negative note before Nigerians, hence the careful allocation of votes to political parties and declaration of a winner without consideration of the peoples’ feeling.”
Also reacting to the report, the APC, through its State Publicity Secretary, Godwin Erhahon said “The observers need to be abreast with the rules and regulations governing elections in the country that once results are announced, only the election petition tribunal can reverse results of the election.
“Even though the opposition are complaining of rigging, we are also complaining that the margin with which we defeated them is too narrow because in 2012, we defeated them with over 70 percent. I advised the aggrieved parties to go to the tribunal and we shall meet them there.”
Meanwhile, PDP State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, in his reaction, said, “The statement by the local observers has not only vindicate our stand on the conduct of the election but also the stand and views of Edo People who actually voted on the day of the election. They are the ones whose mandate was stolen.
We will get it back for them.’’ “We had previously alerted the world to the day light robbery supervised by the security operatives, organised by INEC with Governor Oshiomhole and his APC as the beneficiaries.
We told the world that the details of the results released by INEC are fake and not the figures announced at various units and as collated at various wards across the state. The fake results announced by INEC are entirely a fabrication which does not reflect the true picture of what transpired during the election.”