The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate in the September 28 Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is expected to lead street protest against the result of the election, which gave the All Progressives Congress’(APC) Godwin Obaseki victory.
Supporters of Ize-Iyamu and the PDP had been protesting in Benin and other parts of the state since the results of the election were announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last Thursday.
According to Saint-Moses Eromosele, coordinator of the Centre for Patriotic Leadership Initiative (CPLI), an advocacy group coordinating the protest, Ize-Iyamu is expected to be joined by the Edo State chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih, and other PDP leaders and supporters across the state.
Eromosele, who pointed out that Friday’s protest would be one of more than a hundred such protests, said they were protesting against impunity, perpetration of illegality and massive electoral fraud by INEC, the APC, security operatives and Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
He said, “These protests are not about Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The protests are about you and I, our future, our hope. If they succeeded against Ize-Iyamu, it means that tomorrow when you and I also stand for election based on our track record or popularity, someone somewhere would also deprive us of victory.”
Meanwhile, some youths, on Wednesday, took to the streets of Benin to express their satisfaction with the conduct of the election, describing it as free, fair and peaceful.
The youths, who carried out their solidarity march under the aegis of Edo Youths Coalition, asked Ize-Iyamu and his supporters to accept the outcome of the election and emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan, who they said accepted defeat.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as “God has upheld the will of the people,” There was no loss of life,” “No intimidation of anybody during the election,” Edo people voted for continuity and progress,” Edo voters commend INEC, security agencies,” and sang songs.
Spokesman of the group, Comrade Toju Igbene, said, “Let us develop the spirit of sportsmanship, that is why we will keep respecting Dr. Godluck Ebele Jonathan. Having lost an election, he was the first to put a call to Buhari to congratulate him. Let us develop that spirit. Let us develop that culture”, he said.
Igbene, described the outcome of the election as the will of the Edo people and passed a vote of confidence on INEC and security agencies for their dedication to duty before, during and after the election which he claimed was free, fair, credible and acceptable.
He urged the governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki, to work assiduously to fulfill the promises made to electorate during electioneering so that Edo State can witness more development.
A leader of the group, Chief Benedict Okpokunu, said, “We grateful to all these groups. We are particularly grateful to INEC for their meticulous details in bringing out a credible results for Edo people to ensure that nobody was cheated.”