Call for Edo election postponement shocking —PDP

•…rounds off campaign with road show

THE National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as “shocking, bizarre and confusing” the call for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone  Saturday’s Edo State governorship election by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Police. The security agencies had made the suggestion based on what it said was security threat.

But a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja, on Wednesday, said the party was taken aback as it came barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari was in the state to attend the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) rally.

The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to the shocking breaking news of the advice by the DSS and the Police to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the Saturday, September 10, 2016 gubernatorial election in Edo State on excuse of insurgency alert.

“We are taken aback on this advice coming a day after the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, was present at the mega rally of its party, the APC in Benin City which was concluded without any hitch.”

The PDP pointed out that it was on record that INEC recently conducted a ‘hitch free’ Senatorial by-election in Borno State which it said was a high-point of insurgency in the country, but the security agencies saw no reason to call-off the election.”

According to the opposition party, “It is therefore lamentable to hear from these same security agencies that the election cannot be held in a state where in less than 24 hours, the President and all the APC leaders and members had an uninterrupted rally.”

It therefore called on the President to caution the security agencies and direct them to provide full security, and also to desist doing anything that will jeopardise the election.

The party further stated; “We are equally counting on INEC not to succumb to this false alarm by acting independently and holding election as scheduled.

“We hope that this advice from the security agencies is not in concert with the APC of having seen the indices of losing the Edo State gubernatorial election to the PDP.”

The PDP leadership, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, called on the party members, teeming supporters, other Edo voters and the international community to remain law-abiding, “while staying alert on this calculated attempt at scuttling our hard earned democracy.”

Also, the Edo State chapter of the party rejected the call for postponement of governorship election slated for Saturday in the state, saying it is difficult to understand the reason adduced for the planned shift in the election date of September 10.

Speaking with Nigerian Tribune on telephone, state chairman of the party, Dan Orbih, expressed surprise at the timing of the advice given by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the police to INEC to postpone the election, declaring that it came at a time all was set for the conduct of the election.

He said, “We are surprised because we just concluded an exercise with the INEC national chairman and INEC national commissioners about the election. They have even invited party agents to inspect sensitive materials and their movement to INEC offices.

“A few days ago, Adams Oshiomhole’s APC sponsored some group of boys to demonstrate to the government house and the secretariats of the APC and the PDP asking for the postponement of the election because they were preparing for the Mathematics paper in the GCE examinations.

“Seen that it will not work, they resorted to this other alternative plan that there were security concerns and that the election should be postponed. Having failed in their bid to convince the electorate, they are all out to use available means to buy time.

“It is difficult to understand exactly what is going on. We hope this is not a ploy to confuse the electorate. We want a clear statement from INEC about this election. They are the body constitutionally empowered to conduct the election.

“They (INEC) must come out with a clear message telling the Edo electorate to ignore the position that the election should be postponed. One thing is clear, whether the election is holding on Saturday or tomorrow, Edo PDP will defeat the APC.

“What they (APC) must know is that their defeat cannot be avoided; it can only be delayed. Edo people have spoken and are ready to sack the APC government on Saturday.”

…rounds off campaign with road show
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State on Wednesday, expressed the readiness to go ahead with Saturday’s governorship election in the state as its leaders and supporters embarked on a road show across some major streets of Benin City.

The rally which almost paralysed traffic and other commercial activities in some areas such as  Akpakpava Road, TV Road, and Kings Square, featured supporters of the PDP, leaders and members of the Street-to-Street and Door-to-door campaign group of the PDP candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Artisans, students, market women and traders from Agbado Market, commuters and motorists joined the PDP supporters even as they received flyers of the PDP including one showing a ballot paper and how they should vote in the election.

The walk kicked off as early 8.00am after hundreds of party supporters started gathering from 7am at the Ikpoba Slope campaign office of the party’s candidate.

Addressing party supporters at the Kings Square at the end of the walk at about a former speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Festus Ebea, commended the people for their resilience for the walk, assuring them that their efforts will not be in vain.

“You must know that you are working for your future, when they promised change, we voted for them but now the cost of living has gone up; the price of fuel, kerosene, cement, food items like rice, garri, and even salt have all gone out of the reach of the poor; our people are dying of hunger, but now we are marching to change the change.”