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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Edo Election Was Rigged - Observer Group Declares

Observer groups to the recently concluded Edo governorship election have declared that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reportedly rigged the polls in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Vanguard reports that two different observer groups; Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE) and Public Interest Association, a coalition of accredited election observers announced their reports on the Edo election at separate press conferences on Tuesday, October 4.

Both groups agreed that there was heavy rigging and undue pressure on INEC officials to favour the APC candidate and eventual winner Godwin Obaseki. ACE general secretary Mma Odi noted to newsmen in Abuja that the group saw a new innovation in rigging that is reminiscent of the dark days of the military era. She also alleged the electoral officials deliberately delayed collation of results of election till 10pm, when the results were tampered with under the cloak of darkness.

She said: “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.” On its part, Public Interest Association called for outright cancellation of the Edo election because the results were not at all a reflection of the voting pattern.

National coordinator of the group Esther Bassey said: “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.

Observers say Osagie Ize-Iyamu may have polled far more in the Edo election than INEC results showed “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.”

The APC has rejected the allegations through its Edo state publicity secretary Godwin Erhahon, who Vanguard quoted as saying: “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.” For the PDP, its complaints have been justified by the observers, its state publicity secretary Chris Nehikhare 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.” Meanwhile, the national vice chairman of the APC southwest region Chief Pius Akinyelure has accused the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun of being culpable in the alleged manipulated process that saw the submission of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s name to the INEC as the party’s candidate for the Ondo state governorship election.

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