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Delta Senatorial By-Election Complete Sham, APC, DPP Cry Out

The All Progressive Congress (APC) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of rigging the Delta Senatorial by-election, saying there are several cases of widespread electoral malpractices.

The APC alleged that the PDP rigged the poll using policemen and soldiers to carry out their nefarious act.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Party (APC)

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Party (APC)

APC, in a statement issued by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  of rigging the election in favour of the PDP.

The party said there was no voting at all in most of the eight local governments and the 85 wards in the District, as the PDP used armed security agents to chase away voters in opposition strongholds while thugs working under the cover of security personnel beat opposition party agents and seized voting materials in many areas.

”This election is nothing but a sham as the activities of the partisan security agents ensured that hundreds of voters were disenfranchised, while state government and PDP officials openly handed money to induce voters. Even in wards where voters successfully resisted armed security agents, the absence of complete electoral materials meant there was no voting.

“Knowing it could not win a free and fair elections anywhere in the country, the PDP simply took measures to suppress voting in opposition strongholds during the Senatorial election. From what transpired in Delta on Saturday, it is clear that the PDP has resolved that there will be no free and fair election anywhere across the country henceforth,’ it stated.

APC stated that the PDP’s new strategy was to use security agents as agents of destabilization and suppression of votes, saying that the Federal Government sent troops to Delta under the pretext of battling the notorious kidnapping lynchpin Kelvin and his cohorts, when in fact the deployment was a decoy for election rigging.

“Starting from Friday night, three Hilux vehicles brought soldiers to Okpe LG Ward 8 Collation centre to intimidate voters.

In Sapele Ward 8, security agents beat up voters, thus scaring them away from polling units. In Udu LG Ward 7, election materials were seized by thugs. In Sapele Ward 4, a State Government Commissioner hired thugs to chase away voters. Worst-hit were the Polling Units 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 as well as Units 14 and 15

“No election in Ward 8 of Okpe LG due to incomplete election materials. There is massive thumb printing at Ward 26 in Ughelli North, Soldiers drove away voters and opposition party agents.  In Ward 9, Ethiope LG, soldiers loyal to PDP chased people from polling centres,’ the party alleged.

Also, the Senatorial candidate of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Chief Ede Dafinone has called for the outright cancellation of the bye-election on the ground that it was rigged and not free and fair.

Dafinone, at a news conference on Sunday described the election as a sham as here was no election as defined by the laws of the land.

“There was no election, as defined by our laws. The scale of impunity, assault, molestations and violence by the PDP, thugs/cultists and the supposed security agents was just unimaginable. The lopsided and partisan involvement of state security apparatuses in supporting the PDP and the brazen use of thugs to unleash violence and mayhem on our party members and the electorate is unprecedented.

“Thus, there is now very serious concerns for the progress of our nascent democracy and diminishing hope for peace, unity and good governance of Nigeria now and in the immediate future. The significant confidence brought into our elections in 2011 due to visible improvements on the 2003 and 2007 elections was completely wiped off yesterday,” he said.

Dafinone stated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the government had sent a message of uncertain terms, “a strong message that the security apparatus of this nation will foist the PDP on the nation at every cost. As was demonstrated yesterday in Urhobo land, security forces and the government will turn a blind eye to open violence and crimes against citizens and a section of the electorate perceived to be supporting other parties outside the PDP.”

According to him, “because our agents were openly shot at and maimed yesterday, as it was in 2003 and 2007, we are able to say that the days where elections are gun wars are back. Because INEC officials and NYSC ad hoc personnel bluntly refused to go out to conduct the election in several places, we are also able to categorically say that government, through these agencies, decided the outcome of the election in a clearly premeditated manner.

“Because security personnel openly flogged and beat up our agents and supporters everywhere without justification, we are able to say that violent bias was used as a tool to coerce our supporters to abandon polling stations. Because in various communities security personnel watched, allowed, participated in and supervised the hijacking of ballot boxes and other election materials by PDP thugs and government officials, we are also able to say that the so-called election was rigged with clear government approval.”

He said as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not release or issue out election result sheets and other sensitive election materials in most places but ‘results’ somehow managed to emerged in favour of the PDP, his party was able to say that the so-called results were made to suit the PDP even before any election.

Dafinone explained that because few electoral materials appeared as late as 3.30pm in the few places where a few INEC officials managed to reach, DPP could say that the people were deliberately excluded from the election since accreditation was meant to have ended by 12.00 noon.

“This is a clear case of naked criminality; not an election. It is a clear case of the government imposing Chief Emmanuel Agwariavwodo on Delta Central in the same manner and style he was imposed on his party. This is impossible with a truly independent INEC. Herein lies a clear and imminent danger for our democracy. Therefore, we reject whatever result announced by INEC as it is not a true reflection of the democratic will of our people. We call for an outright cancellation of the said election and any fake result arising from same.

“We in the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) do not give in or succumb to undemocratic actions which attack the political will or threaten the unity of our good people. We shall continue to explore all legitimate options to free our people from oppression, suppression and bad leadership. Our commitment to democracy and justice remains firm,” he stated.

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