By SIMON EBEGBULEM & GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN — Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Edo State, has floored Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in weekend’s, local government elections, which were marred by late arrival of materials.
Chairman of Edo State Independent National Electoral Commission, EDSIEC, Mr. Solomon Ogoi, attributed the delay in the late arrival of materials to flight problem from Lagos to Benin last Friday.
From results released at the collation centres, yesterday, ACN won in the 11 councils of Egor, Igueben, Esan South-East, Etsako East, Akoko Edo, Esako Central, Etsako West, Orhionmwon, Uhumnwonde, Ovia North-East and Ovia South- West.
Elections in Esan North East, Esan West, Ikpoba- Okhai and Oredo, were postponed till Wednesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 25, due to shortage of electoral materials and violence. Results of three councils are being awaited at press time.
PDP and the Deputy National Chairman of All Nigeria’s Peoples Party, ANPP, Mr. Solomon Edebiri, have described the elections as a sham and called for the resignation of all members of EDSIEC for alleged failure to conduct free and fair elections.
Countering PDP’s allegation, ACN Chairman, Mr. Thomas Okosun, expressed shock over the allegation of rigging, recalling that, “even during the governorship election, we won in the 18 councils, so why are they crying wolf, when they only exist on the pages of newspapers. Their thugs were shooting everywhere, but we refused to fight back because we know that they were not on ground while we were on ground.”
However, results in Ovia North- East indicated that ACN won in 11 out of the 13 wards in the council. There was no election in Oduna ward, the Ijaw area and Okokuo, where a leader of PDP, Mr. Levis Aigbogun, hails from.
In Etsako Central, where the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadohme and the state chairman of PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, hail from, out of the 10 wards, ACN won in eight PDP won one, while one ward was canceled due to violence. Orbih won his ward while Oghiadohme lost his to ACN.
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, state PDP Chairman, Chief Orbih, said the party rejected the results declared so far and called for a new date, “after due consultation with stakeholders from other parties.”
He said: “We will not accept the results as announced because the elections were inconclusive.
“The issue of Oredo and Ikpoba Okhai conducting elections on Thursday is unacceptable because this would mean staggering the elections. We are insisting that if ACN is serious in conducting elections, it should be done in all the 18 councils.”
Reacting, Mr. Okosun, described their claim as laughable, “because, how do they expect to win the elections when they did not prepare for them? We know that it is their style to make frivolous allegations. They have lost the elections and they should shut up and prepare for the future. We will be waiting”.
On his part, Edebiri, who said that four of his vehicles were destroyed, allegedly by ACN thugs, noted that “there was no election in Uhumnwonde. Can you imagine that ACN chairman in the area was the one distributing electoral materials? Their thugs destroyed my cars.”
But ACN chairmanship candidate in Uhumnwonde, Mr. Roland Alari, countered his claim, saying, “he was the one that went to his ward with thugs and mobile policemen, which was why it was difficult to hold election in his area. I am not from his ward, so I don’t even know what he is talking about.”
Edo State Government, in its reaction through Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, called for calm.
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