"We No Go Gree", PDP Kicks As APC Wins Anenih’s LG

"We No Go Gree", PDP Kicks As APC Wins Anenih’s LG


The much awaited Local Government Council by-election in Esan
North East Local Government Council of Edo State had come
and gone, with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party at war
once again with the All Progressive Congress (APC), accusing the
later of rigging the election. Elections in the council were
postponed twice due to violence, while the Edo State
Independent National Electoral Commission (EDSIEC)
successfully conducted elections in other 17 Local Government
Councils on the 20th of April, 2013.
The tension in the area was not surprising to many due to the
caliber of politicians in the council. The Chairman of the Board
of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih and the Minister of
Works, Arch.Mike Onolemenmen are all from this council. 
Before the coming of Oshiomhole, Esan land was in firm grip of the PDP leader, Chief Anenih who has empowered his loyalists from the area, particularly his Uromi brothers and sisters. 
However, the coming of Governor Adams Oshiomhole changed the politics of the area due to the developmental strides of the Comrade Governor, which eventually helped Oshiomhole in winning the entire five Local Government Councils in the 2012 governorship election.
Following his recent political fortunes, it is not surprising that
the Leader will not want to relinquish his Local Government to
the APC even though it is a local election. His foot soldiers
prepared for the election, just as the APC members went to
the election in full confidence based on the achievements of
Oshiomhole. However, the Tuesday election commenced
peacefully despite the late arrival of voting materials in some
wards.
Prior to the elections though, APC leaders expressed concern
about the presence of ‘imported’ mobile policemen from Abuja
and Lagos for the election. Infact, the Edo State Police
Commissioner Folunso Adebanjo confirmed that the security
arrangement was “water tight” and warned political leaders to
warn their supporters to stay out of trouble.
All was actually going well up till about 1pm when the leader of
APC in ward 5, Prince Joe Okojie raised alarm that a Mopol
Commander of Uromi origin, who is based in Lagos was arresting APC members including their leaders and detaining them at the
police station. At ward 7, the member representing the area
at the Federal House of Representative and PDP chieftain, Mr
Friday Itulah said though the election commenced late, he was
happy that people are voting peacefully.

He however alleged that an EDSIEC official was seen with ink all
over his body indicating that he may have been thumb printing
for the APC candidate. However, tension heightened in ward 5
when political thugs snatched ballot boxes and there was free
for all fight between APC youths and that of the PDP. The
police shot sporadically trying to recover the ballot boxes but to
no avail, as the youths ran into the bushes destroying the votes.
Suddenly, the ward which boasts of the highest number of
voters in the council became a burial ground as only security
operatives were observed. The state Police Commissioner and the
State Director of DSS,Bello Bakori brought the situation under
control but was unable to appeal to voters to come back and
cast their votes as they all ran for their dear lives.

At about 6pm, there was mass arrest of APC leaders by the
police and they were subsequently detained at the Uromi Police
station allegedly on orders from above. APC chieftain, Prince
Joe Okojie who spoke from his detention cell, accused the PDP
of alleged rigging, harassment and intimidation of their
members.

According to him, “somebody from this our community who is a
MOPOL Commander based in Lagos who obviously is working for
the PDP came this morning arresting three of our members. I
went to the Police station to bail two of them but I was shocked
while I was coming from the Police station when he came to
arrest two more persons.

“It was at that point that our people resisted him. The PDP
tried to use their federal might to intimidate and harrass our
people but we will resist them. Now, they have arrested me and
other APC leaders, but we will not be intimidated. They saw that
we were winning and decided to destroy the ballot papers,
disrupting the election. But I thank God our people have spoken
in one voice, no more dictatorship, we are free at last”.

However, at about 8pm, that Tuesday, the Chairman of the
EDSIEC, Mr Solomon Ogoh announced the results declaring Sam
Oboh winner of the election after he polled 12,672 as against his
PDP opponent John Yakubu who polled 3,314 votes. The next day
Wednesday, the elected chairman was sworn in by Governor
Oshiomhole while angry PDP members led by Chief Dan Orbih,
its state chairman, addressed journalists rejecting the results
and threatened to go to court.

According to Orbih, “the result the EDSIEC chairman announced
was not the true result, what he declared was variance with the
results announced at the different polling units, wards and
collating centers by the presiding and returning officers
appointed by the electoral body. What he announced has no
bearing with the actual results announced by the presiding
officers. He has no result from the various wards and collating
centers”.

He further claimed that the results will not stand the test of
time, alleging that it was very clear from the results
announced by Presiding and Returning officers from the various
poling units that it was the PDP that won both the chairmanship
and councillorship elections in Esan North East and the six other
wards in the state where elections were conducted. He declared
that copies of the election result were with the DPO in Uromi,
DSS, Civil Defence and other security agencies and asked the
media to verify this from security agencies. Orbih claimed that
“ the PDP chairmanship candidate won the election by scoring
11,212 against APC candidate’s 6,143”.

But in a swift reaction, the interim chairman of APC in the
state, Thomas Okosun, described Orbih’s declaration as laughable
and wondered when the police, DSS and others “suddenly
became EDSIEC members”. His words, “we read in the papers
that PDP said they were rejecting the results of the
election,Orbih was saying that the authentic result sheets are
with the police, SSS and Civil Defense, without saying that the
results sheets were with the EDSIEC staff who are the
authentic umpire for the election.

The first question we are asking Orbih is, who requested for the
services of these people during the election because it is the
responsibility of the EDSIEC to request for security during
elections? So these people who requested for their services
were they from Edo state or other states and if they were
from other states, who brought them to Edo state? My second
question is, since when did the police become returning officers
such that they now have the authentic result sheet according to
what Orbih declared as authentic result which he manufactured
with his hired policemen from Lagos and Abuja.

“Because in an election, outside the presiding officers and
returning officers who have access to the authentic results, the
other persons entitled to the authentic results are the agents
of the political parties participating in an election. So Dan Orbih
cannot claim that he has authentic results or that they are with
the hired police men instead of the EDSIEC.

“I think his problem is that it is because himself and his party
the PDP failed in their attempt to stop the election the third
time, they are looking for avenue to discredit the election won
by APC inEsan North East” he asserted. He added that “Orbih
should know that just in 2012, ACN, now APC ,won Esan North
East Local Government in the gubernatorial election and that
was an election conducted by federal INEC, the same people
that voted for us in that election and many more people that
joined us again voted for us in this last election. Let me tell
Orbih and his party that the people of Edo state will not give
PDP opportunity to drag Edo state backward. PDP is dead and
buried in Edo state. I urge Orbih and his people to accept
defeat and the outcome of the election in Esan North East or
go to court as they said”.

But the Coalition of Registered Political Parties in the state led
by Dr Samson Isibor hailed the election, asserting however that
“we are hearing this lamentation from the PDP today because
the Comrade Governor is even a democrat. PDP never
conducted Local Government elections all the while they were in
government, but because this man decided to conduct an
election, the PDP is taking advantage of him talking rubbish.

But we commend the Comrade Governor for the free and fair
election he conducted. APC members have conscience but PDP
does not and that is why God is punishing them today in this
state”.
Saturday Vanguard recalled that in 2005, Osaro Obazee the
current chairman of Oredo LGA, was denied the chance to
become a councilor in ward 5, oredo Local Government even
after he won the election convincingly.

Oshiomhole broke his silence on the issue, during the swearing in
of the elected chairman. He said, “Nigerians fought for
democracy, many paid the supreme price , they did not survive
to witness the birth of the present republic. Others including
my humble self moved from one police cell to one prison, not on
account of any dispute over our father’s land but on account of
our contribution in the system that Nigeria must return to
democracy in which the people and only the people can
determine who governs them. So some of us have paid our price.

“But during this period, there were others who were embedded
with all manner of military dictatorship, they compromised, they
sold mandate, they traveled around foreign capitals to
rationalize the futile attempt to defeat the forces of
democracy and they failed. Some have returned and they are
today among the key manipulators criminally trying to subvert
the will of our people and misusing the instrument of state in
their futile attempt to impose their will on the people of our
country particularly, in Edo State. What I heard yesterday and
I am still investigating; if the reports are correct, then
Nigerians must be put on notice that the police may well have
chosen to become the INEC or EDSIEC and over thrown by the
force of fire arms, those who are authorised by law to conduct
elections.

“As a Nigerian, I am embarrassed that the police are involved in
carrying electoral materials, arresting EDSIEC returning
officers and coercing them into a police station and converting
it into a collation centre supervised by policemen imported from
Abuja and Lagos in order to subvert the will of the people of
Esan North East. As a civilised man, I felt ashamed that men in
uniform at rather very senior level supervised this criminal act
of the police in yesterday’s (Tuesday) election.

A federal Minister and other federal functionaries, including
Assembly men used their exalted positions, taking unfair
advantage  of the police assigned to protect them and
deployed  them for election purposes, detaining returning
officers and treating them as  if they  were prisoners of war
and under duress, compelling them to sign fake results and
police becoming Returning Officers writing result sheets. But
thank God for modern technology that what the people have
signed in full freedom is what matters, not what they signed
under duress in a police station.

The law establishing the electoral commission is very clear, the
location for collation of votes is very clear. The location for
announcing winners and losers is very clear and it does not
include a police station.

“Law enforcement officers were involved in converting a police
post to a collating center in order to subvert the will of the
electorate and for me, it is a matter of national
embarrassment. And I want to state that no one will live
forever but our reputation will live after us. Temporary gains
are not worth our place in hell, if we choose to mortgage what
is good in order to sustain evil practices. But Edo State under
my watch will not submit to intimidation. My duty is to remain
one of the forces of democracy.

Neither my voice, nor my physical efforts can be exterminated
by the forces of darkness. Anyone who is under the illusion that
they can use the instrument of coercion to intimidate us are
poor students of history. We are at our best when we are
challenged because we know that when we will die cannot be
postponed by one day” he asserted.

Oshiomhole appealed that “ the Federal authorities and the
security agencies should remain faithful to their oath of office
which says they shall respect the constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. They shall not be influenced by affection
but each time they behave in such degrading manner, they
violate those office serially and brutally. Yesterday, the police
high command in their wisdom chose to turn Esan North East to
a police state, such that we had more policemen in that local
government than the population of the Local ggovernment.

If we have such number of policemen, how come we are at the
mercy of kidnappers? We have such ruthless determination to
deal with decent civilians and yet weak to deal with hardened
criminals. I fail to understand that. I fail to understand why
the police high command who has the tradition of posting away
Commissioners and assigning new ones at the eve of every
election, ostensively to ensure that there is fairness and
impartiality.

“That in the case of Esan North East local Gov
ernment election, they chose to bring senior mobile police
commanders who are of Uromi origin knowing fully well that the fact of their origin means that they cannot be neutral in
matters affecting some sections of that local government.

“In their wisdom, those are the officers they chose to deploy
believing that they can help to subvert democracy. All of us
remains in prison any time we keep quiet in the face of
operation.We remain detainees each time we fail to speak our
minds even in the face of abuse of office. And we are dead the
day we keep quiet in the face of injustice. God gave us life,
brain and mouth to speak, not just for nothing. So, I want to
appeal to all those who need to listen that this country is
greater than any of us.

“We want a free and fair election, the police chose to detain
very senior APC leaders including the APC candidate for
election on election day in order to rub it in that the police
rather than the people will decide the winner. The police used
instrument procured by our tax payers money including the
resources I provided them to conduct this election to brutalize
and assault APC members for the simple reason that they are
leaders of APC. They hoarded them into cell and according to
them, under orders from above, they have moved them to
Benin. They can eat their flesh if that gives them some comfort
but they cannot eat their soul”.
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