By Akanimo Sampson
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has counsel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the security agents against compromising the electoral process in Edo State in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He has asked them to place the glory of Nigeria above the ego of any politician and political party.
This is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Saraki’s party, has raised a worrisome alarm over an alleged plot by APC to alter results in areas where it is enjoying a comfortable lead.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement says the party wants INEC and the secret police, DSS, to know about the plots by agents of APC to allegedly replace election results where PDP was leading, particularly in Edo North.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, the PDP candidate in the Edo governorship election, is said to have secured the highest number of votes cast at polling unit 02, ward 002, in Oredo Local Government Area.
Former APC National Chairman, John Odigie Oyegun, voted at this polling unit. In the result as released by INEC, Obaseki polled 109 votes to beat the APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who garnered 40 votes.
Oyegun had refused to endorse Ize-Iyamu in the buildup to the election, asking the people to vote their conscience on the Saturday poll.
“I stand with the people of Edo State and urge them to come out massively to exercise their democratic rights. They should vote for good governance, common decency, principled leadership, especially in the political arena and the protection of their democratic rights”, Oyegun, a former governor of the state on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) said in a statement.
Adding, he says, ‘’they should by their votes make clear that it is their right to choose their governor and nobody else’s. There is no room for fence sitters.”
Governor Obaseki is projected to continue in office with results so far released by INEC. Polling results tend to show Obaseki winning the majority of the polling units results released so far by INEC.
Result for Ward 7, Ovia South West Local Government Area shows that PDP polled 1215 and APC 875. In Ward 9 of Esan Central LGA, APC secured 654 votes and PDP 559. From Ward 3 (Ogbeson), Ikpoba Okha LGA, APC gained 27 votes and PDP 06, and from Ward 2, Esan Central LGA, APC hauled 629 votes and PDP 666.
In Ward 6, Esan Central LGA: APC 922 and PDP 1142. Ward 7 (Ugbekun), Ikpoba Okha LGA: APC 1,628 and PDP 5,385. Ward 8, Esan Central LGA: APC 561 and PDP 1209, and from Ward 4 of the LGA: APC 648 and PDP 1,360.
Ward 11 (Ubierumhun), Esan North-East LGA: Registered voters: APC 516 and PDP 917. So far, collated results in four local government areas early show Obaseki ahead with 14,994 votes. He won in three councils. Results from the remaining 14 councils are still being collated.
For instance, in Esan South-East: APC- 9237 and PDP-10565; Esan Central: PDP 10,694 and APC 6,719; and Igueben: APC 5,199 and PDP 7,870.
However, Ologbondiyan says, “while we charge our members to remain vigilant and follow their results ‘bumper to bumper’ to all the collation centers, we, however, caution security agencies against being used to replace results that have already been declared at their respective polling units.
“Already, we are aware that results are being manufactured in Kogi State to be used as replacements for already declared results, particularly in Edo North. We draw the attention of INEC to such results being bandied by the APC, including the fake result claimed to have emanated from Etsako West, where a vote of 914 was allocated to the APC, as against the genuine declaration at the polling units.
“A cursory check on the results being circulated in the public space by the APC failed a litmus test of the identification numbers of INEC declaration of results. Whereas polling unit results are identified as Form EC8A, the results being paraded by the APC carry a fake identification number of Form EC60E.
“Our party expresses concerns that this sinister adventure of the APC is being encouraged by the slow pace of uploading already declared results in INEC’s virtual portal”
PDP said it was also alarmed by reports that the development led to avoidable post-election violence, which had resulted in the reported killing of innocent Edo citizens, “who came out to perform their civic responsibilities as the police allegedly withdrew their men in certain collation centers.”
According to the PDP spokesman, “our party, standing with the people, calls on the Inspector-General of Police to protect innocent Nigerians from this electoral defeat response by the APC.”
While the party is urging INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to ensure that the authentic results of the polls were made public, Saraki says the Edo governorship is getting to the crucial stages. ‘’I urge the good people of Edo State not to get carried away but to protect their votes.
“The enthusiasm and patriotic conduct of the good people of Edo State must not be thwarted or subverted by any official, either permanent or ad-hoc; or any security personnel, no matter the rank.
“Nigeria’s glory is more important than the huge ego of politicians. And so, security officials must work to protect Nigeria’s image and not to satisfy the whims and caprices of some power hungry politicians.”