Obaseki challenges Ogiemwonyi over allegation of purchase of PVCs
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Ahead of the September 18, 2016 governorship election in Edo State, scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the state, Mr. Sam Olumekun, has disclosed that over 490,000 Permanent Voters Cards (PVC’s) representing about 30 per cent of registered voters still remain unclaimed out of the 1.7 million registered voters and urged affected persons to take advantage of the ongoing registration to collect them.
The Edo REC warned against multiple voter registration and noted that such registration will be detected and by a special software in their system which would render such registration invalid.
Addressing journalists on the preparedness of INEC towards the conducts of the governorship party’s primaries and the September 10 governorship elections in the state, Olumekun, also disclosed that smart card readers would be used for the governorship election, clarifying that the Supreme Court pronouncement never asked INEC not to use card readers in elections.
He stated: “We are aware that some people have not been able to collect their PVC’s, INEC will use this period of registration to distributes the old PVC’s that may not have been collected. Those who have registered and yet to collect their PVC’s should therefore check and collect their cards. Let me state categorically that those who have registered before should avoid multiple registrations as doing so would entail their names been deleted from the voters register, we have a software that will help us delete such names.”
Promising that INEC would deliver a credible and transparent election he declared: “As we prepare for the 2016 election in Edo State, the challenge before us is to sustain a correct political orientation anchored on the interest of the vast majority of the people and not a few people. The environment of politics and election must improve against the back-drop of what we have seen in the immediate past in some neighbouring state.
“Edo must stand out as a people with deep and rich culture of which they are proud and committed. The quality and moral authority of any beneficiary of election coming up later this year will depend on how credible the election is, otherwise such a beneficiary may not be accorded the due respect. INEC has repeatedly promised Nigerians that it will continue improve the election system and processes to ensure maximum returns in election management and not recent tide of inconclusive election”
Responding to questions at the briefing over allegations by some APC aspirants that PVC’s belonging to delegates were been sold, the commissioner said INEC as a body has no power to do anything about it.
He however hoped that such complaints would form part of issues to be looked into during the review of the electoral act.
Meanwhile, a member of the House of the Representatives representing Etsako Federal Constituency of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu, and the Coordinator, Godwin Obaseki Campaign Organisation in Edo North, Abbass Braimah, have challenged a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, to provide the video evidence where PVCs were being purchased from party members with a view to manipulate the June 18 governorship primaries in favour of Obaseki.
They also described as unfortunate, the claim by Ogiemwonyi that the state House of Assembly was shut down for its members to give support to Obaseki, saying that “Ogiemwonyi is displaying ignorance of happenings in the state, reminding him that the House of Assembly was on recess.”
Ogiemwonyi had accused Shauibu of meeting with APC delegates and giving them the sum of N10,000 each with a view to purchasing their PVCs.
Reacting, Shuaibu said: “I am surprised that he will be making such an allegation. When I heard it I was like no he is more intelligent than to even think such thing exist. But it is like I over rated his intellect, he has shown he is not the person we thought he was. If a person that wants to be a governor of a state do not know the difference between PVC and party card in a primary then it is unfortunate.
Also in his reaction, Braimah who also was a former member of the House of Representatives, said “I am surprised and shocked with his allegation. Let me make it clear that I was present in that meeting and I challenge him to produce the video evidence he said he has to back his claim otherwise the party should discipline him for this cheap blackmail, embarrassment and harassment.
“As we speak the House of Assembly members are on recess and we thank them very profoundly for coming to Abuja to support the adoption of Obaseki.”