Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said on Saturday that the Independent National Electoral Commission has failed in its responsibility to conduct a free election in the state, warning of impending trouble if the true winner of the poll is not declared.
The governor, who gave the warning during a chat with journalists at the Iyamho primary school, Iyamho, Etsako West Local Government Area, said there can be no winner when the people are not allowed to vote.
“They did not plan to bring out the voting materials on time and as we speak in Oredo Local government area, Benin City and Egor local government area, the heart of Benin City, materials have not arrived at majority of the polling booths after 11 am. At the New Era college upper mission road, they brought fake voters register different from the one the people registered with,” the governor was quoted as saying in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria.
If the accreditation is expected to stop by 11am or 12 noon, it is past 11 now and there are no materials in some polling booths. It then means Prof. Atahiru Jega and INEC have no plans to conduct election.
“The whole idea is to frustrate the people so that they will not be able to vote, and they will declare a fake result,” he added.
Accordint to a recent report in Vanguard newspaper, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s condemnation of the governorship election in Edo, while the accreditation process was still on, as hasty and slammed him for frantically attempting to destroy the integrity of the election.
Director of Publicity of the PDP in the State, Mr. Okharedia Ihimekpen, who reacted to Oshiomhole’s condemnation of the process, said the governor had seen the writing on the wall and was trying to raise the unnecessary alarm in order to rationalize his eventual defeat at the poll.
Ihimekpen said that Oshiomhole had suddenly realized that “the security and the electoral body are insisting on accreditation of voters whose names are in the voter registers in line with the one man, one vote mantra.
“Reports that reached us from Oshiomhole’s area in Edo North indicated that under-age voters and persons without voter cards were not allowed to get into the premises of the polling station by security men.
“The governor gave himself away as a possible beneficiary of votes by these unqualified voters when he claimed that voters in the area have been disenfranchised. Is he saying those not qualified to vote should be allowed to do so?”
Ihimekpen stated that the governor’s claim that INEC planned to rig the election in Edo South was also ridiculous and patently deceptive, pointing out that “Edo South is the stronghold of the PDP governorship candidate, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (retd) and a majority of his supporters are from the zone.
“If Oshiomhole is claiming that INEC is planning to rig election in Edo South, it stands to reason that the rigging is being done against our candidate whose stronghold is Edo South. Is Oshiomhole saying that Edo South people will reject their son?”
He, however, said that “reports that have reached us thus far from Edo South Senatorial Zone did not suggest any manipulation by the INEC. The report was that the electoral body had been on top of some minor hitches in the distribution of materials in some isolated polling units, about two or three and the issue had been resolved and the process was progressing smoothly.”
Ihimekpen advised that rather than resort to these “frenzied and desperate antics of intimidation and blackmail against the INEC, the parties must do all within their powers to assist the electoral body to deliver on a credible election.”