- Resist rigging by all means, protect your votes, Ize-Iyamu tells Edo people
By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over alleged plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Edo State government in league with the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the Wednesday’ governorship election in the state.
The party at a press conference in Benin City yesterday by its state Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, said with just three days to the elections, more disturbing facts and information were continually brought forward to the party that the state government and the APC want to deny the people the right to vote for the candidate of their choice
According to Nehikhare, “Very credible information reaching us says that Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his APC have concluded arrangements to thumb print fake ballot papers on Monday 26/9/2016 at Ibillo, Akoko Edo local government area, Edo North, and then transport the thumb printed fake ballot papers to their areas of weakness. Thereafter they will pretend to expose the perpetrators as PDP supporters. This “show” becomes the excuse to crackdown on PDP foot soldiers and undertake massive arrest of PDP staunch supporters. To give credence to the “show” they will plant fake PVC in the homes of our people. At this juncture, we advice that everyone must be vigilant and on alert till elections are over.
“They are planning to destabilise the election in Uromi, Ovia and parts of Oredo in order to provoke inconclusive elections in their areas of weakness. To achieve this, they have recruited a General Collins who APC paraded in a press conference on Friday and he boastfully announced the presence of his co-generals who, including himself, have no business in Edo but to forment trouble.
“Collation Center Danger…we formally requested for a meeting with staff (Local Government Collation Officers, Returning Officer for the State, Staff in charge of card readers, e-Collation Officers and members of the ICT team) of INEC assigned to the state to conduct the elections in Edo State. But that meeting never took place.
“We requested the names and identities of these staff to be made public but again we were denied. However, information available to us is that INEC has granted requests made by the APC for a similar meeting with the above mentioned staff.
“We are also reliably informed that members of APC have been granted remote access to INEC servers and INEC e-collation platforms. We are informed that this was done in furtherance of a plan by certain officials of INEC to grant APC real time access to INEC’s e-collation platforms in a bid to enable them manipulate results on the field at polling stations where they are losing elections or disrupt the electoral process at such locations.
“We also requested for a meeting with senior officers of the Nigerian Police Force assigned to provide security for the state during the elections, again, we were denied. Instead, our members are harassed, intimidated and arrested on trumped up charges
“ But we are reliably informed that members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were granted a similar meeting with these officers and members of APC led by Governor Adams Oshiomhole met with these officers in a bid to influence postings of officers to areas of the state in a manner that will favour their party,” he said.
Nehikhare also alleged that on Owan West local government area, one Reginald Okun has been boasting that the he has been directed by his party to compile names of PDP leaders to be given to DCP Ahmed Bello for harassment, intimidation and arrest.
The PDP scribe also alleged that the said Okun claimed to deploy cultists to the local government who are harassing their supporters and in some cases maiming them, citing the case of one of its agents who had three of his fingers cut off and is presently in an intensive care unit in hospital.
He also alleged that on Saturday night, on the alleged instruction of the governor, Police entered Okpella with four trucks to arrest some PDP members, adding, “this type of impunity must stop and be condemned by all as this behavior negates the tenets of free, fair and transparent elections.”
However, in their separate reactions, both the Edo state, Police Command and INEC denied the PDP’s allegations against them
APC State Publicity Secretary, Comrade Godwin Erhahon in his reaction to the allegations simply said, “the APC as a party is not privy to the planed electoral malpractice. If they have any special person working towards that, they should report to the appropriate security agencies.”
On her part, INEC Assistant Director in charge of Public Relations, Mrs. Priscilla Sule-Imuodu denied that INEC has granted access of its sensitive materials and e-collations to any political party.
She said: “I advised them to leave INEC alone and use the remaining 24 hours to campaign and shore up their voters.”
To the Edo state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Theodore Okafor, “If they believe that what they are saying is true and can substantiate it, they know what to do. They should report to the police who knows what to do. I do not know of any meeting the police held with APC leaders, I am not aware of it.”
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has advised the people of the state and other eligible voters to protect their votes and resist by all means possible any attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC), security agencies and other institutions to manipulate the governorship election scheduled for Wednesday.
Advising officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to do the right things by conducting a free, fair and acceptable election, the PDP candidate however stated that those who have planned to manipulate the election would be disgraced.
He also advised the electorate not to allow themselves to be insulted by Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his puppet candidate, Godwin Obaseki, through any inducement, saying the APC-led government that had subjected them to unbearable hardship in nearly eight years cannot come on Election Day to offer them money or rice just to purchase their conscience.
In a statement issued by the Media Unit of his campaign organisation yesterday, Ize-Iyamu said he is aware of the inhuman treatment many of his supporters and PDP leaders had been subjected to by the Nigeria Police Force and Oshiomhole’s hired thugs in the past few days, saying with the Almighty God using the electorate, Edo people would sing victory songs on Wednesday.
According to the statement, “The September 28 gubernatorial election in Edo State is, in one respect, a contest between one man (Ize-Iyamu), who has always been in the tick of the politics of the state and Godwin Obaseki, a neophyte who found favour with a very discredited out-going governor.
‘’From a studied interest in the politics—over the past close to 30 years, Ize-Iyamu comes across as resilient as they go, and his understanding of the pervasive development challenges is awe-inspiring. He is a true leader with human feelings.
“That is why, on the surface, Godwin Obaseki, the green horn that he is, even in terms of party affiliation, is a mismatch. And he is being propelled by Oshiomhole, whose penchant for arbitrariness in his handling of the state’s treasury makes this propulsion weighty.’’
Accusing Oshiomhole of acting as if he’s the one contesting the election, Ize-Iyamu said that in a way, he’s really the one contesting the election because he naturally wants someone to cover his dirty and criminal tracks after November 12, adding that it will never happen.
“The people of Edo have concerns over Godwin Obaseki, not only because of his questionable business dealings with Oshiomhole but, more importantly, his inability to account successfully for his academic qualifications,’’ the PDP candidate added.
“Oshiomhole and Obaseki have become huge liabilities in the state because of their track record of hurting people with their insincerity, wickedness and ruthless sense of betrayal. Every known prominent people and others have had a taste of these traits.’’
Ize-Iyamu added that the only answer to the present sorry state of Edo State is for good men and women to punish the APC on September 28 –during the governorship election, for subjecting them to abject and gloomy poverty in nearly years.
In line with best established global practice, Pastor Ize-Iyamu promised to immediately roll out a basic model of a long-term people-centre economic development and empowerment plan to right the wrong of Oshiomhole-led government after November 12.
“Our Simple Agenda will break and reverse the deteriorating prosperity of our youths, women, and pensioners. Under the present APC government we are in the wrong track and we surely need to change the change. Never again shall we allow APC to deceive us,’’ Ize-Iyamu stated.