Edo poll: APGA candidate calls for further shift

·Postponement, conspiracy against PDP  —Hon Goa’r

DESPITE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s postponement of the Edo State  governorship election from September 10 to 28, uncertainty still hangs in the air over the conduct of the election on the new date.

INEC, citing security concerns expressed by the police and the Department of State Security (DSS), shifted the conduct of the election to Wednesday, September 28.

The governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the election, Osaro Onaiwu, on Monday, however, called for a further shift in the election date to the “earliest possible date of October 1.”

He premised his argument in calling for the shift on the fact that students of Edo State participating in the current General Certificate of Education (GCE) examination would write Physics practical examination on the September 28, the new date of the election.

Onaiwu further reasoned that the shift he was advocating would enable the students take part in the election after their examination, adding that education was number one pillar in APGA’s manifestoes, even as he revealed that some of the students had threatened to sue INEC if prevented from voting during the election.

Reacting to the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the party was on the verge of winning when the election was postponed, the APGA governorship candidate queried “how do they know? Do they have everybody’s PVC?”

He slammed the PDP for insisting that the election should have been allowed to go on saying “are we going to wait for what happened in Rivers? PDP is crying because they know what we don’t know. Since security agencies said the election was not possible, everybody should abide.”

Onaiwu, who is confident that he will win at least 12 out of the 18 local government areas of the state, said the candidates of the APC and PDP were unpopular, pointing out that the feeling that the two parties were frontrunners in the election, was a creation of the media.

The APGA candidate, who claimed to have campaigned at the grass roots more than all the candidates in the election, said the Igbos constitute 48 per cent of Edo voters and that the Igbos were ready to vote for him because of their attachment to APGA.

Meanwhile, apparently reacting to the postponement of Edo State governorship election to September 28, former member of House of Representatives, Honourable Emmanuel Goa’r said the postponement was a conspiracy against the PDP.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune in Jos, Honourable Goar, a staunch member of PDP and former Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, expressed disappointment over the postponement, adding that the security reasons given by the police and DSS could not be justified considering prevailing peace in Edo State.

“Many Nigerians were surprised by the postponement considering the prevailing peace in Edo State. Before the security agencies came up with the theory of some unscrupulous persons trying to ferment trouble,  Mr President and some APC governors were in the state for a rally without any inkling of likely security breaches. Political parties too had been going about campaigning without any problem, so what are the parameters for the postponement?

“If the postponement is a craft ploy to disorganise the PDP, they are deceiving themselves, it would rather help the PDP to further consolidate and place it at vantage position to win the election. Whatever goes up must come down, APC is simply running away from defeat,” he said.

According to him, with APC at the helm of affairs in the country, democracy was at the crossroad and charged all democrats in the country to defend democracy and ensure that rule of laws were adhered to, adding that the ruling party was desperate and would do everything possible to win Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

He implored the INEC not to succumb to the antics of some desperate politicians bent on circumventing the laid down procedures for proper election for their selfish interests.

On the crisis rocking the PDP, Honourable Goar assured that the impasse would soon be a thing of the past, adding that PDP stakeholders at various levels were leaving no stone unturned to address the lingering matters.