Ize-Iyamu, Oshiomhole Trade Blame over Postponed Edo Poll

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APC cabal orchestrated shift PDP registered 8,000 militants, says governor Fayose: It’s coup against Nigerians Wike has no links with militants, says Tam-George EU, British Council Sue for Peace

Yemi Adebowale in Lagos, Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja, Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the now rescheduled gubernatorial election in Edo State has alleged that the postponement of the election earlier scheduled for today had nothing to do with insecurity in the state.

On the same day, Governor Adams Oshiomhole accused some governors in the South-South of perfecting plans to rig the election, noting that about 8,000 militants from those states were now registered in Edo for the September 28 poll.

Describing the postponement as well-planned to undermine the will of Edo people, Ize-Iyamu said he was convinced that the ‘’phantom security advice’’ by the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Security (DSS) was orchestrated by Governor Adams Oshiomhole and some cabal within the APC – in the face of imminent defeat in the election.

The PDP candidate, in a statement by the Media Unit of his campaign organisation yesterday, added that he was taken aback by the ‘’rash’’ security advice – a day after President Muhammadu Buhari was present at the final campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress in Benin City, which was concluded without any security hitch.

“It is regrettable, indefensible and shameful to hear from the security agencies that the Edo governorship election could not be held in a state without a history of security threat, and where in less than 48 hours, the President and all the APC leaders across the country had converged on the city to hold their rally without security concerns.

“What kind of insecurity are they talking about? It is on record that INEC recently conducted a hitch free senatorial bye-election in Borno State, a state which many security experts believe has remained a hotbed of terrorism and insurgency, yet the security agencies saw no purpose to advise against the conduct of the election,” Ize Iyamu said.

He stated that, earlier, at a forum held in Benin City on Wednesday September 7, 2016, all stakeholders in the election including contesting political parties and their candidates – together with the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakub, and security chiefs had unanimously agreed that the election shall hold as scheduled.

The PDP candidate said contrary to the fears over security, the Inter-Agency Committee on election security had given positive security clearance for the Saturday’s poll, expressing surprise that the police had to raise concerns about security moments after giving guarantees through the Deputy Inspector General, Josak Habila, that all security arrangements for the election had been perfected.

He stated further: “It will be recalled that a few weeks ago, I alerted the good people of Edo State and the entire country that there were devious and evil plans to postpone the election, and I alluded to the fact that it was a ploy by Adams Oshiomhole and his party, the APC to undermine the electoral process – having sensed that the Edo people were fully prepared to vote them out in the governorship election.

“I want to emphasize that the good people of Edo State are fully prepared to resist any evil plot to manipulate the governorship election in favour of the APC. On my part and that of my great party, we have resolved to be law abiding and to cooperate with the necessary authorities to ensure a hitch-free election, whenever they agree to conduct the election.

“May I use the opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari – as father of the nation who has benefited from the process of a free and fair election, to caution the security agencies against plunging Edo State into avoidable security crisis just to satisfy the vaunting ambitions of the APC, Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his puppet candidate, Godwin Obaseki.’’

Ize-Iyamu called on the people of Edo State to be rest assured that whenever the governorship election holds, their votes shall count and will be protected, advising them to remain calm and continue to be law-abiding despite the deliberate attempt to provoke them.

PDP registered 8,000 militants for poll, says Oshiomhole
Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has accused some governors in the South-South of perfecting plans to rig the governorship election in the state, noting that about 8,000 militants from those states are now registered for the rescheduled September 28 governorship election.

Speaking while receiving the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Idris Ibrahim at the Government House, Benin City, yesterday, Oshiomhole said: “our opponent unable to find local thugs to help them perpetrate violence which they have done between 1999 and 2007 when I took over, resorted to liaising with my brothers in the sub-region, Delta and Rivers, in particular, to export criminals and militants into Edo State in order to make peaceful election impossible.

“In line with my tradition, I have always tried to speak out on any matter that I am worried about. I first raised this alarm on the eve of INEC Continuing Voters’ Registration exercise, an exercise that has been designed to register those who have become eighteen between the last registration and the current one.

“But these criminals who are determined to perpetrate violence and deny us the beauty of a peaceful election, unable to find local participants have chosen to import these militants with the support of two or so of my brothers. When I say brothers, I mean brother governors. It doesn’t matter if I disagree with them, they are my brothers.

“They are exporting militants to Edo State to register so that with the PVC in their hands, they will appear to have the lawful basis to be present at the designated polling units where they are expected to unleash violence on election day.

“At least, thirteen of them were handed over to the police. The IG may wish to establish what has happened to those people who were handed over. So, we handed them over to the police in line with what we were expected to do as civilised people.

“Having done that, we are clear that there are a lot of people, up to 8000 of them who are non-resident in Edo State, who are not indigenes of Edo State, who are indigenes and residents of Delta and Rivers states and some other states in the South-South, some from Bayelsa State who have registered for the sole purpose not to swell the votes, but to be present in various locations on election day.

Every person must try to conduct himself in line with the electoral act because we are going to be very decisive for anybody that violates the electoral act in the conduct of this election.”

Reacting to Oshiomhole” allegation, the PDP chairman in Edo, Chief Dan Orbih said “It is unfortunate that we have an outgoing governor of the state who has decided to state a lie just to achieve his political purpose. We know very well that what the governor was telling the IG is not true.

“For me, he was indicting the security agencies right in front of the IG because if you can bring in 8,000 people from outside Edo State and they all found their way into Edo State without the security agencies watching their movement, it means that nobody is safe in Edo State and it is a big indictment on the security agencies.”

Poll Postponement, Coup against Nigerians
In a related development, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose yesterday described the postponement of the Edo State governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a coup against Nigerians and “the beginning of the end for democracy” in the country.

In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications , Lere Olayinka, Fayose said INEC knew that it was not going to conduct the election on Saturday as scheduled but opted to deceive Nigerians.
Fayose said: “It is obvious that the All Progressives Congress (APC) feared that it can’t win the election and is ready to employ whatever crude means to subvert the wish of the people.”

The governor, who said he was alarmed by the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari’s use of security agencies to arm-twist democratic process added: “I warned Nigerians not to elect Buhari because he lacked capacity mentally, morally and intellectually to superintend over any civilised society, now we are all seeing the results. Our economy is in recession and democracy is also in recession.

“Apart from the security agencies that they instructed not to provide security for the election, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was under instruction since yesterday (Wednesday) not to release electoral materials to INEC.”

“It was just a game by the APC-led federal government to frustrate the people of Edo State from kick-starting the journey of changing the APC one-chance change in Nigeria, but they should realise that the power of the people will always be greater than the power of those in power.

“How can you postpone an election less than 48 hours to the scheduled date? What manner of security concern could prevent an election in just one state when elections were held in Northeast States that are confronted by Boko Haram insurgents?

“Obviously, this is a sign of what to come in 2019 and Nigerians should not be amazed if in 2019, they tell us that elections cannot be conducted. This is sad! It is a sad commentary for democracy in Nigeria and I only hope this Buhari’s APC government will not collapse democracy in this country.”

While calling on the people of Edo State to remain steadfast in their resolve to vote out the APC government, which has become a government of hunger, poverty, job loss, economic and political recession, insecurity and unprecedented sufferings, Fayose added: “Let them keep postponing their evil day, Edo people should just be vigilant and wait patiently for that day that they will use their votes to change the APC one-chance change.”

Wike has no links with militants, says Tam-George
Also yesterday, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, has denied claims that Governor Nyesom Wike, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, mobilised militants to rig the Edo governorship election in favour of the PDP.

Tam-George, who was reacting to claims by Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, that the two governors donated N2 billion for the cause, maintained that Wike had never made such financial donation.

“Governor Wike has no links with militants in the region and anywhere else in the country. He has only given moral support to the PDP candidate in Edo State to overcome the ineptitude and dysfunction the APC imposed on the people,” he said.

The Commissioner stated that Wike would continue to give moral support to democratic forces not just in the region but across the country to bring better life to Nigerians.

Tam-George said Wike has called on the people of Edo State to ensure that whenever the election is held they should stand firm in defence of their sovereign right to vote for the PDP.
European Union, British Council Sue for Peace
The representatives of the European Union (EU) and the British Council have urged all stakeholders in the rescheduled gubernatorial election in Edo State to embrace peace.

Mr. Ben Jones, Political Counsel at the British High Commission and Mr. Richard Young, Deputy Head of Delegation, EU, made the appeal during a courtesy visit on the governorship candidate of the APC, Dr. Godwin Obaseki, where he called for increase in communication between the political actors, security agencies and the INEC.

James said: “Our concern is that the elections on the 28th of September are peaceful, conclusive and credible. And that all the institutions, the parties, INEC, the police and other security agencies does everything they can to make sure the people of Edo can decide who the next governor would be.”

Young noted: “It is important that the people respect leadership and the leadership preaches peace. We came here to discuss the postponement of the governorship election and to make a number of appeals for the increase contact with the political parties and INEC and the police and the security agencies. They should ensure that a careful ground is laid for the election to take place smoothly and calmly on Wednesday 28th of September.