Image result for PROTEST IN BENIN CITY

the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Thursday,
declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Godwin
Obaseki, the winner of the Wednesday, September 28 Governorship Election in Edo
State.

A short but heavy rain momentarily dispersed a crowd that had
started gathering at the popular Ring Road in the state capital.

The APC supporters later regrouped to celebrate the victory
in the keenly contested election, where Obaseki defeated the candidate of the
Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The Returning Officer and Vice-Chancellor, Federal
University, Oye Ekiti, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, declared Obaseki the winner of
the election at about 4.08 pm amid tight security.

The APC candidate polled 319,483 votes to defeat Ize-Iyamu of
the PDP, who scored 253,173 votes in the election.

Soremekun said Obaseki “having satisfied the requirement of
the law, scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and
is returned elected.”

The announcement of the results was, however, not without a
drama.

Soremekun fought off stiff resistance from the PDP’s State
Agent, Mr. Chris Agbonwanegbe, who refused to sign the final result sheet.

Agbonwanegbe had, during the collation of results, demanded
the cancellation of the election.

When called to sign the final results, he protested that the
results were “rehearsed and produced.”

The submission jolted Soremekun, who could not hide his
shock.

Agbonwanegbe said, “Mr. Chairman, please don’t disagree with
me; let us say it the way it is.

“The theatre has been on for some time, it has now been
finally produced. I can’t endorse it (final result). I want it to be on record
that I refused to endorse it. I can’t sign this document.

“I made a request that you should look at the collation of
Etsako West and other local governments, you said I should go to court instead
of looking at it. Even when some of your officers said they were threatened
with guns. I can’t endorse the result”

While the collation of the results from the local governments
was going on, angry supporters of the PDP stormed the INEC’s office in Benin.

The protesters alleged that INEC connived with the APC to
manipulate the results of the governorship poll.

They sang solidarity songs to protest alleged cancellation of
results of some poling units and manipulation of result sheets by INEC
officials.

They brandished placards with inscriptions such as
“Oshiomhole must go”, “Ize-Iyamu won the poll”, “Peace not war, INEC,” and “Poll
results unacceptable to us.”

Riot policemen, stationed in front of the INEC office, tried
to pacify the protesters to no avail while a police helicopter hovered in the
sky to monitor the situation.

One of the PDP leaders, who led the protesters was the
Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, Matthew Urhoghide.

Addressing journalists at the INEC’s office, Urhoghide said,
“I came here to tell the Resident Electoral Commissioner about my disgust about
the results that the commission has been announcing. I voted at Ward 2, Unit 9,
Oredo Local Government Area.

“The exercise was very peaceful there and there was no record
of violence. I was, however, surprised to hear INEC say that results of two
units in the ward were cancelled owing to electoral violence. I felt highly
dehumanised and disenfranchised.

“The figures they are brandishing now do not correspond with
the large turnout of voters yesterday. We hereby demand that the result of the
cancelled units should be announced.”

As of 11.am, the protesters had increased in number, and were
becoming more aggressive.

After results had been announced for nine of the 18 local
government areas in the state, the INEC officials announced a break. This
further aggravated the supporters.

The police deployed in the area fired canisters to disperse
the angry protesters. Many residents, who were observing the exercise,
scampered for safety.

On resumption, the Collation Officer for the Etsako West
Local Government Area, Prof. Adewole Atere, while defending the cancellation of
10,158 votes in some polling units, alleged that Obaseki’s running mate, Philip
Shuaibu, threatened to attack INEC officials at collation centre.

He said this while reacting to an allegation by the APC State
Agent, Samson Abu, that he (Atere) mutilated the result sheet for the area
during the announcement of local government results at the state headquarters
of the commission.

Abu had protested the cancellation of results in Wards 5, 7,
11 and 12, where he said his party’s candidate was popular.

He stated, “The collation officer, from the record before me
from our agents, the result sheet was mutilated by you, if you can produce it
and sample it for everybody here to see. For example, in Ward 5, three units
(were) cancelled. In Ward 11, units 1, 5, 6, 12, 15, 16 cancelled. In Ward 12,
two units cancelled. In Ward 7, one unit cancelled.

“The excuse you gave our agent was that as a result of error
in calculation committed by you. You know, in these areas, I suspect foul play,
although I’m not from that place, because the running mate to the APC
governorship candidate is from there and is very popular.

“All the areas that you cancelled the votes for one reason or
the other are the areas that harbour the family of the running mate to the APC
governorship candidate.”

But Atere said, “I thought we would just allow the sleeping
dog to snore. It was the same candidate of yours who accosted the CO in Unit 11
with about six guns and drove him (CO) to the corner of the collation centre,
forcing him to mutilate. I did not mutilate any paper; my papers are here.

“Number two, this same candidate went to the office of INEC
to repeat the same thing on the electoral officer and later came to the
collation centre, where I served with 10 gun-toting men, threatening to kill
all of us.

“I want to say that this same candidate several times told
the man, who handled that Ward 11, that he was a dead man. He repeated it three
times and that was why we managed to put him (electoral officer) on the
security vehicle to get him to Benin City here.”

When asked by the Action Alliance candidate, Ishaka Paul, if
he reported the incident to the police, Atere said, “For the case of the man
who handled Ward 11, all the security men deserted him. For the EO, he was
locked up in his room. In our own case, we were rescued by the men of the quick
intervention force, who drove the Auchi vigilante people out of the place. They
were actually coming for me, when the men of quick intervention came in. So,
the police are aware of it.”

Meanwhile, the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP said
that its agents were currently collating results of the governorship election.

Spokesperson for the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led committee, Mr.
Dayo Adeyeye, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja
on Wednesday.

He said the committee would react to the result by INEC on
Friday.

Adeyeye added, “We are collating the results of the election
as obtained by our agents.

“When we finish doing that, we shall react to the release of
the result by INEC tomorrow (today). For now, we have no reaction.”

Also, the factional National Chairman of the party, Senator
Ali Modu Sheriff, said he had not accepted the result of the election, adding
that his reaction might not be different from the general position adopted by the
majority members of the PDP.

He stated this in a statement by his media aide, Inuwa Bwala.

“We have had situations in the past where results were
released via the media only for the official results to turn out otherwise,”
Sheriff stated.

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