Edo Election Latest… Protest Claims One

May 15, 2012 in Nigerian Current Affairs

Crisis erupted yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, among supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who are equally members of Edo State Drivers’ Welfare Scheme which resulted in the death of one of the supporters allegedly beaten to death with several others injured.

The crisis was said to have erupted from opposing members of the State Drivers’ Welfare Scheme whose members were allegedly among those who barricaded the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Benin City to protest an alleged attempt by INEC to connive with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the forthcoming July 14 governorship election in the state.

The conflict, it was gathered, later degenerated into a free for all fight resulting in the death of one Wilfred Omonigho, while several others sustained injuries.

Omonigho’s lifeless body was taken to the state House of Assembly and the state Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre by members of his group who protesting his killing.

Addressing journalists, President of a faction of the Drivers Welfare Scheme, Mr. Lucky Ogbomwan, said they were waiting for the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to act on the killing within 24 hours failing which they will take their destiny in their hands.

Oshiomhole who had earlier addressed the protesters at the INEC premises following the alleged arrest of a young man caught with the Direct Data Capturing Machine (DDC) at the INEC office, said the young man had reportedly confessed on camera that they had commenced the registration of voters since Sunday, adding that he was asked to register people in Uromi and Igueben.

The governor recalled that he had earlier petition the National Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Atahiru Jega, over alleged plans to mutilate the voters register with a view to rigging the election.

While advising the youths to be calm and allow the police to interrogate the young man who was arrested with the DDC machine, Oshiomhole called for the removal of Mrs. Umeh (ICT Director Edo State INEC) and one Mr. Chidi, who is the Director of ICT in INEC Abuja, alleging that: “These people have been recruited by the PDP and their god father to mutilate the voters register so as to rig the election.”
“It was Chidi who masterminded the deployment of 472 DDC machines in Edo state when we have only 192 wards, making it look like a full blown voters registration exercise. We are aware that before the gubernatorial elections in Adamawa, Kebbi, Sokoko, Bayelsa and Cross Rivers States, INEC conducted continuous registration exercise only at Local Government headquarters level. In the case of Cross Rivers, there was no continuous voters’ registration at all and yet, elections were conducted by INEC.

“What will they be doing with other DDC machines if only 192 is deployed in the wards? It means it will go to the hands of the god father. Today, we apprehended a young man with DDC machine. He confessed that he was recruited by the PDP to go and register people in Igueben and Uromi and that they commenced the registration exercise on Sunday.

“I have always begged for a free and fair election. And I also know that Jega does not know that there are too many crooks in INEC. If INEC continues to listen to the PDP and an old man who is fixing fraud even at 90, then Jega will not be able to conduct a free and fair election” he declared”, he said.

The state INEC’s spokeswoman, Mrs. Imodu Sule, denied any connivance with the PDP, explaining that: “the DDC machines we have now are being used for training of our staff not for registration. It is not possible for us to rig for any political party.”

Courtesy Thisday