From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart are locked in war of words over the just-concluded governorship election in the state.
The APC, at the weekend, threatened to occupy Benin City, the state capital, as counter protests organised by the PDP against INEC’s declaration of Mr. Godwin Obaseki as winner of the election.
Reacting to PDP protests, the APC said they were completely “off the point and unjustified because Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was rejected squarely by the people”.
Addressing newsmen in Benin, state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua, described the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih and Senator Matthew Urhoghide as “serial liars and losers.” He also said attempts to create the impression by the PDP that the election was rigged will fail.
Accompanied by the Chief of Staff to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Patrick Obahiagbon, Ojezua said: “First of all, when you want to criticise the election, the first thing you have to do is to look at the process. When INEC brought out the guidelines, it had its own time and target and, apart from the postponement, they met with their timing and everything was done in an efficient manner except for the postponement, everything was fine. Right from when materials were taken to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) till they were returned for the declaration of the results, INEC was efficient in terms of meeting the time lines.
“Now, let us say we forgive Orbih, who is a serial failure, but, what will you say of Pastor Ize-Iyamu whom I have worked with before?
“The day Obaseki was declared winner, we went round the streets celebrating with the people, after one week we started seeing contrived protest reminiscent of students protest and that cannot be a political reaction to the election that held on the 28th of September. If a man claims he has won he should tell us the figures and the source of his information, why just go about to say I have lost my mandate, give it back to me.”
Meanwhile, a PDP chieftain in the state, Okharedia Ihimekpen urged Ize-Iyamu, to gather his evidence and head to the Tribunal rather than creating what he described as unnecessary tension in the state by asking PDP members to be protesting.
He said the allegation by Ize-Iyamu that he was rigged out of the election was untrue.
“I am condemning the demonstration as a result of the elections in severe terms. I am advising the PDP and Ize-Iyamu that instead of overheating the polity, by this demonstration they should go to court and prove their case if they have facts. Election is never won through demonstration.
“In 2012, when the Local Governemnt election was conducted here, Ize-Iyamu was in the APC then and while we were still voting in Uromi, results of that particular election was being announced in Benin City. And when we shouted that his current running mate, John Yakubu, was rigged out, Ize-Iyamu said we should go to court that the election was free and fair…”
“What goes around comes around. In my place in Esan West where I voted it was not rigged and PDP won all these areas. I have investigated this issue of rigging and I found out it was not true. For instance in ward 10 Oredo, where Ize-Iyamu hails from, PDP won one of the primary schools, and other units were won by APC.
“I also discovered that even the votes the PDP got in the election was as a result of the economic hardship but it was not enough to give us victory. I am calling on Ize-Iyamu to assembly all the exhibits, witnesses and evidence in his possession to the court. This was what we did during Airhiavbere’s case, when I followed him to the Supreme Court. And stop this noise making in Benin City”, Ihimekpen said.