Press Statement – The attention of the Government of Edo State has been drawn to a press conference addressed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Olisah Metuh, where he castigated the Local Government elections organized by the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) and used uncivil language to describe the Governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
While we would not like to join issues with Mr. Metuh on the Local Government election which many, including independent electoral observers and other political parties have described as free and fair, we would like to remind him, in case he has forgotten, that he has more pressing internal problems threatening the worn fabrics of his party than addressing the press on issues on which he has limited knowledge.
For the records and to discourage other lazy analysts like Metuh whose stock-in-trade is to feed the unsuspecting public with fallacy, we would like to state that contrary to what Metuh wants the public to believe, his party, the PDP, ab initio, did not prepare for the Local Government election in the state.
It is on record that while the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidates were in the field campaigning and mobilizing voters for the election, the PDP in the state, led by one Mr. Dan Orbih, was issuing press statements and organizing debates on inconsequentialities as to whether the Governor was born on April 4, 1952 or April 4, 1953. While Governor Oshiomhole personally led campaigns to the 18 Local Government Areas, not a single notable person in the PDP bothered to stand with their party.
We challenge the PDP to produce evidence of its campaigns across the eighteen local government areas where they canvassed issues and sought the support of the electorate for their candidates. We challenge the PDP to show new evidence of its achievements, sensitivity to the needs of the state and commitment to repositioning the state that gave it the vain belief it would not suffer a crushing defeat as usual in the Local Government elections.
When the PDP realized that EDSIEC led Mr. Solomon Ogoh, a former national electoral officer would be uncompromising and would not yield to their antics of ballot box stuffing, which had been the stock-in-trade of the PDP in other Local Government elections held in the state in the past, they resorted to other tactics which included the use of thugs and policemen imported from Abuja to intimidate and harass voters at the polling units.
If Olisah Metuh alleged that there were no elections in Edo State, how then did the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe win his polling unit and how did the cantankerous factional chairman of the PDP in Edo State, Mr. Dan Orbih win his ward to produce the Councilor for Ward 4 in Etsako Central Local Government. How did the PDP win the council seats in Owan West and Oredo Local Government Areas?
We challenge Mr. Metuh to tell the world how many seats were won by opposition parties in Local Government elections conducted in PDP-controlled states.
It is a matter of fact that twice, the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC ) tried to conduct the Local Government election in Esan North East and twice the PDP disrupted it.
It is on record that the Honourable Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolemenmen illegally used armed mobile policemen, imported from Abuja, in clear breach of the Electoral Act, to intimidate the voters in Esan North East and subsequently compelled the Electoral Officer (EO) to announce the cancellation of the election after he realized that his party had no chance of winning.
EDSIEC rescheduled the election but again the PDP hired thugs to confiscate election materials, carry fake result sheets and even detained the Electoral Officers at Uromi police station. We ask: Why were the duo of Dan Orbih and Matthew Urhoghide at Uromi during the rescheduled election, when they were not registered to vote there?
Again, is it not curious that Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, a PDP kingpin was at Okada, walking the streets with 20 armed mobile policemen on Election Day, whereas he was registered to vote in the GRA, Benin City? Is this not a gross violation of the electoral act?
The question to ask the PDP is: Which party won all the elections conducted by the Federal Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state since 2007? Of course, the ACN won all the elections conducted in the state by INEC since 2007. So why did the PDP believe they have resurrected from their slumber to win the Local Government election?
We are aware that the PDP has hired thugs and miscreants to cause civil disobedience through riots where they plan to unleash mayhem on members of the unsuspecting public. The thugs were used in Benin City, the state capital and Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West Local Government.
As a responsible government, we will not fold our arms and watch them unleash their sinister plan in the state. We therefore warn that the security agencies are under strict instructions to deal ruthlessly with anyone who hides under the guise of protests to unleash mayhem in the state.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole remains committed to the principle of “One Man, One Vote” and nothing will make him subvert that in the interest of any candidate or political party. In fact, the Comrade Governor has always asked the questions and legitimately so that why would he rig the Local Governemtn election when he did not do so during the state gubernatorial election?
The PDP is bellyaching because they are uncomfortable with playing second fiddle to the ACN in Edo State; they are not used to being the opposition party, but they have to live with it, as the wish of the people has prevailed.
If the PDP feels aggrieved over the outcome of the election which has been adjudged the freest ever held in the state, they are free to go to the election petitions tribunal to vent their grievances. The ranting of paid miscreants on TV and infantile arguments in arranged interviews will not alter the full commitment of Edo people to the ACN today and well into the future.
Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, OON
Secretary to the State Government