(By Tony Osauzo – BENIN)
While one of the groups, led by Rev. Olu Martins, has mobilized for continuous protest against the result of the election in which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr. Godwin Obaseki winner, another group led by Uyi Igbinigie has called for the resignation of the Dan Orbih led State Executive of the party to pave way for a Caretaker Committee.
The Rev. Olu Martins group took to the streets of Benin City Monday to protest against the election results, saying that it did not reflect the wish of Edo voters.
The protest took off from Pastor Ize-Iyamu Campaign office along Akpakpava Road through First East Circular Road, Second East Circular Road, Dawson Road and New Benin market road, before returning to the Ize-Iyamu Campaign office.
The protesters bore 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.
In his speech, Rev. Martins 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.”
In reaction, the PDP Restoration Group led by one party’s leader in Oredo Hon. Uyi Igbinegie called on the PDP not to go to tribunal to waste party members’ time and resources because according to him, “the election was free and fair.”
The group demanded for the resignation of Chief Orbih and other members of the state executive, the constitution of a caretaker committee to pilot the affairs of the party before the next congress and the prosecution of PDP leaders who pocketed money meant for the election, amongst others.
The group claimed that the PDP lost the election because of corruption scandal that trailed the exit of President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
”Through facts and propaganda, PDP was seen as a party of corrupt elements. The Dasuki slush was something that was more of a scar than a mere scandal.
”The visit to EFCC by Pastor Ize-Iyamu over the N700m collected for the Presidential election left a sour pain in his campaigns.
“Another reason for the loss is that Dan Orbih and his cronies gave the nomination to Pastor Ize-Iyamu who we know to be carrying the baggage of the failed PDP government of eight years that makes Edo people hate our party,” the PDP Restoration Group said.