BY Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State has said it is ready for counter protest against the weeks-long rallies staged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the September 28 governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu, over the outcome of the poll in which Godwin Obaseki was declared governor-elect in the state.
The state APC Chairman, Anselm Ojezua, who disclosed this while briefing the media at the weekend in Benin-city, taunted Ize-Iyamu for leading what he tagged ‘A contrived protest’ against the APC’s victory and the governor-elect, Obaseki, saying the apparent show of shame by the PDP and its candidate was to justify the huge sums of money made available to them by the PDP governors from the South-south geo-political zone for the election in the state.
Ojezua who said the counter protest is expected to commence today across the major cities and towns in the state, added that the APC and its teeming supporters have celebrated the party’s victory in the governorship contest contrary to the claims and assumption by the opposition that the ruling party and its members did not celebrate the feat.
“Immediately after the results were declared, we went with Godwin to his office to make an acceptance speech and thereafter, we went round the city, jubilating with the people. Even when we went to collect the certificate of return two days ago, I am sure those of you who went with us saw market women from Oregbeni and Agbado market on our way to Ring Road jubilating. We had a musical concert at Ring road. What other kind of jubilation are they expecting; do they want us to go and break our heads?” He queried.
The APC state chairman also expressed dismay over what he described as “very unfortunate that people who otherwise would have been described as experienced politicians are behaving like school children from whom ice cream has been taken.”
He further pointed out that the reaction of the PDP and its candidate in the just concluded election was “completely off point, undeserved and unjustifiable” in the face of law.
According to him, “Looking at the processes, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released its programme, it had its own guidelines and targets in all ramifications, and they met with their timeline. Everything was done within the timeline and in restricted and professional manner.
“At every point in time that I have had to make a comment on the INEC handling of its electoral process, I have said the same thing. On the two or three occasions that we have met at the instance of INEC, I have also made comments to this effect that INEC’s handling of the 2016 governorship election was efficient.”
Ojezua said: “What you now find one week after is contrived protests reminiscent of student protest over feeding allowances. That cannot be a political reaction to the election that was conducted on September 28.”
“What is their (PDP) problem, yesterday I watched a television station and I saw a gentleman who claimed that election did not take place in the riverine areas; I am not from those areas but I know that person. His name is Dennis. He is not an Edo State indigene neither is he resident in the state. He is from Koko in Delta State. So when I look at the boy and see him on a TV documentary, he reminds me of the concerns that the security agencies mentioned earlier that militants were being imported from neighbouring states.”
“Let’s say we forgive Chief Dan Orbih perhaps because he is a serial failure, how would you forgive the candidate himself, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a man I have worked with in the past who is a lawyer, he understands the electoral process, he knows when he is beaten and he knows when to accept defeat?”