Edo poll: Again, PDP supporters shut down Benin

…Ize-Iyamu contested against INEC  —Fayose

Protests once again rocked Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Monday following the announcement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki, winner of the September 28 governorship election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Just as they did last week, supporters of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, early Monday morning, took to the streets of Benin City, condemning the result of the election which they said did not reflect the wishes of Edo voters.

The protesters started at the Ize-Iyamu Campaign office on Akpakpava Road and moved to several parts of the Benin metropolis such as First East Circular Road, Second East Circular Road, Dawson Road and New Benin before returning to the Ize-Iyamu Campaign office, where they regrouped once again.

They carried placards with inscriptions such as “INEC is biased, not independent; Return our stolen mandate; Police conspiracy with INEC rigged the election; Return our stolen mandate to Ize-Iyamu and sang songs.

Spokesman for the protesters, Rev Olu Martins, said it was ironical that nine to 10 years ago, he was among the protesters, who occupied the streets of Benin to protest the injustice done Governor Adams Oshiomhole, in the 2007 Edo governorship election, adding that he was back in the streets this time around to protest an “electoral heist perpetrated by Oshiomhole.”

He said, “We will not stop until what rightfully belongs to the people is returned to them. The challenge is not what happened on Wednesday, September 28th. It is the process.

“For the first time in Nigeria’s political process, international observers and journalists were barred from collation on the evening of an election and asked to come back the following day. By the time they came back the following day, the results were ready. That’s magical. They have subverted the will of the people so, we cannot stop protesting. It simply means that some people could sit at the INEC office and write results.

“This simply means that public goodwill does not matter. It is shocking that the will of the people could be subverted in the 21st century and in 2016. This portends danger for the election that will be conducted in Ondo State in November and the general election of 2019.

“Oshiomhole came through the rule of law. Is it not historical that this thing happened about nine or 10 years ago. We were in the street for Adams Oshiomhole. Is it not ironical that we are in the streets against Adams Oshiomhole nine to 10 years later.” The protest was monitored by the police.

Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu contested against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He therefore described the APC victory in the election as “victory only made possible by the use of Federal Government agencies to subvert the will of the people.”

Fayose, who lamented that the win at all cost attitude of the APC was inimical to the sustenance of democracy in the country, said it was sad that instead of the people of Edo electing their own governor, the APC allegedly conspired with INEC to foist its own governor on the people.

Speaking on the outcome of the election through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said it was unfortunate that those whose change was made possible because the then PDP government allowed the people the freedom to make a choice had now eroded the independence of INEC.

Fayose said: “The stage for the manipulation of the election was set by the use of security agencies to postpone the election, even when there was no single security threat and what was witnessed in Edo State last Wednesday was the execution of the rigging plans perfected after the postponement,” Fayose comment.

He said it should be obvious to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria and the international community that the APC led Federal Government would never allow free and fair election in the country as the PDP and other opposition parties now contest elections against INEC.

He noted that, “the power of the people to choose their governor was completely robbed at gunpoint in Edo State. Unfortunately too, these elements have even murdered the rights of Nigerians to protest against the subversion of their will and it is now obvious that only the insistence of Nigerians can save democracy in the country.

“Like I have said before, we are already seeing signs of what to come in 2019 and Nigerians should know by now that it will only take their insistence for their votes to count as long as these APC elements remain in power.”