ACN Wins Edo LG, Polls, PDP Rejects Outcome
According to the result results of the election conducted in seven out of 14 local government areas in the state, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) won in all the seven councils of Orhiomnwon, Akoko-Edo, Igueben, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Esan South East and Egor.
EDSIEC in a statement signed by its Secretary, Stephen Omorodion showed that in Orhiomnwon council, the ACN candidate polled 29, 059 votes to defeat the PDP candidate who scored 5,843 votes, while the ACN candidate in Igueben council defeated the PDP candidate by 16,298 by 5,843.
Other results showed that ACN candidate in Egor council also polled 10,152 to defeat PDP’s candidate who polled 1,591, while the ACN candidate in Akoko-Edo also won by polling 41,486 to PDP’s 5,171.
But reacting to the outcome at a press briefing in Benin today, the State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih said there was no election in the state and called for immediate resignation of members of EDSIEC for their failure to conduct free and fair election, adding that ”it is clear the election did not hold”.
While defending the results of the election and the decision to postpone elections in some council areas, the state government through the Information commissioner, Louis Odion in a statement said “The Edo State Government has continued to monitor developments arising from the council polls held yesterday, April 20, and urges the good people of Edo to remain calm and law-abiding and guard our hard-earned democracy against the machinations of anti-democratic forces.
“It is perhaps pertinent at this juncture to stress that the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) remains the only constituted authority empowered to make pronouncements on the elections. According to EDSIEC, owing to some logistics challenges, elections had to be postponed in four local governments namely Esan West and Esan North East, as well as Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha till Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
“While elections had to be postponed in Esan West, Oredo and Ikpoba-Oha Local Govenments due to late arrival of election materials, in Esan North-East, the exercise was disrupted following the reported importation of a combined army of thugs and mobile policemen by the Federal Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolemhenmen. The thugs made it impossible for the election materials to be distributed to the various polling units, thus forcing a postponement.
“Obviously, PDP came to the contest with a simple strategy: ensure that the exercise never held by deploying thugs to cause mayhem. It was, therefore, no coincidence that whereas the Edo Governor led the ACN campaign across the 18 councils in the state, PDP’s campaign was left in the hands of one Dan Orbih who clearly has no electoral value. Not even the Works Minister was sighted in any of the campaigns before the deadline on April 18 (Thursday).
“In furtherance of the same strategy of ‘no election’, at Okada yesterday, PDP stalwart, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, was sighted leading a band of thugs and armed mobile policemen with a view to invading the police station where election materials were kept. It is on record that Chief Igbinedion never registered as a voter in Okada, but in Benin where he resides. So, what was his mission on Election Day at Okada when movement was supposed to be restricted?
“However, elections held in the remaining fourteen council areas in peaceful and orderly manner, contrary to the impression being painted by a PDP-controlled electronic media in Benin City with a view to inciting the public against the government. As at the time of issuing this statement, results have been fully collated in fourteen councils with clear winners emerging. For instance, the PDP State Chairman Mr. Dan Orbih, won his ward by a margin of 27 votes but lost the Chairmanship by a margin of 38 votes. To achieve that, ACN chieftain in the area, Mr. John Umoru, was brutally beaten up by soldiers allegedly on the orders of PDP leaders. In Fugar, the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, won his polling unit but lost his ward. These preliminary results showing PDP’s winning some counsellorship positions clearly exposes the lie that entire process was ‘a charade’.
“In any political contest, the 1999 Constitution clearly anticipates disputations, hence enough provisions have been made for anyone who feels dissatisfied to seek redress. The same mechanism will be made available in the coming days for anyone who might have issues to seek remedy vis-a-vis the conduct of the April 20 polls. That is the civilized path to follow.
“Overall, we need to understand where we are coming from. The truth is that since the return of democracy in 1999, it is the first time EDSIEC is being made to face the rigours of organizing a contest where people’s votes will count, consistent with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s advocacy of ’One Man, One Vote’.
“Under PDP’s watch in the past, elections were never held but results were usually announced in Benin City from the bedroom of one godfather, whether people voted or not. So, rather than despair, our people should rejoice that, for once, they now truly have a say in who emerges their leader at the local level owing to the reforms initiated by Comrade Oshiomhole. The supreme irony is that those who mount the rooftops today to demand fidelity to the rules, those presently shouting themselves hoarse, were the very characters who presided over the order that denied our people the right to freely choose their leader at the local level. Today, without shame, they seek to hold others by the standards they themselves never kept. But our joy is that the discerning can see the difference. We thus feel vindicated.
“Come Wednesday (April 24), we urge eligible voters in Esan West and Esan North East and on Thursday (April 25), those in Oredo and Ikpoba-Oha to come out en masse to vote candidates of their choice, rest assured that enough security arrangements would be put in place to ensure their safety.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let the trouble-makers be reminded that Edo State has a popularly elected government in power and it will not fail in its responsibility to bring those who breach the law to justice.”
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