There were gunshots Tuesday as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Ladi Adebutu, led party members to the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protest the outcome of Saturday’s governorship election.
The protesters submitted a petition, demanding re-run elections at polling units where elections were cancelled on Saturday.
They chanted anti-INEC songs and carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘INEC should save our democracy’, ‘INEC betrayed the people of Ogun’, ‘Electoral fraud will not stand’ and ‘Ogun election was inconclusive, INEC correct yourself’, among others.
The state Returning Officer, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, had declared Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the election with 276,298 votes.
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He defeated his closest rival, Adebutu, who polled 262,383 votes.
But, the protesters were denied access to the INEC office by armed security operatives, comprised of the military, police and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) who shot into the air.
Addressing journalists at the entrance of the INEC office, Adebutu said they would not leave until officials of the electoral commission attended to them.
He said the party had submitted several protest letters to the commission, demanding a review of the results of Saturday’s election and re-run where elections were either cancelled or disrupted.
He said it was regrettable that security agents were used against the wishes of the people, warning that the development could degenerate into another #EndSARS protest.
Adebutu said, “We are here to protest, but unfortunately we have been confronted by the Nigerian Army, shooting sporadically into the air, in the hope that they will disperse us, but we are resolute, and we are going to stay here until we are addressed by officials of INEC.
“Our contention is that the measures by which other states have been treated and they are allowed to have venoms, Ogun State should be measured in the same vein.
“Adamawa has rerun, similarly, Kebbi has rerun, why is Ogun State being denied rerun? We are not particular about whatever interest is guiding this, we are only asking for our rights.”
Benue peaceful, MACBAN congratulates Alia
Supporters of the APC continued their celebration yesterday in a peaceful atmosphere across all parts of Benue State.
Our correspondent reports that the APC supporters and some residents had on Monday evening trooped into the streets of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, shortly after the announcement of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, as the winner of the state’s governorship election.
The celebration continued in many places as the excited citizens marched and danced along major streets, causing traffic gridlock on some roads.
Security operatives were sighted in flashpoint areas of the state to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order.
Meanwhile, the media aide to PDP’s governorship candidate, Titus Uba, said his principal had yet to react to the outcome of the election but would do so in due course.
But, his APGA counterpart, Joseph Waya, in a statement, said he was ready to respect the people’s choice, notwithstanding the flawed nature of the elections.
“I urge all contestants to set aside partisan rancour and rally around the declared winner in the governorship election in the overall interest of the state,” he said.
Also, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the state has congratulated Alia on the victory.
MACBAN leadership noted that the APC candidate’s victory at the polls was well deserved and would herald peace in the state.
The state chairman of MACBAN, Risku Mohammed, who spoke through the state secretary, Ibrahim Galma, said the association believed the governor-elect would solve the lingering crisis between farmers and herders for peaceful coexistence.
LP protests in Abia, tasks INEC
Labour Party members yesterday staged a protest at the INEC office in Abia, where they demanded the commission to declare their candidate, Alex Otti, as the winner of the governorship election.
This is as Otti, at a press briefing, urged the commission to resist pressure to overturn his victory in the election.
He said results so far collated in 16 of the 17 local government areas of the state clearly showed that he won the election.
“Having secured about 172,000 votes against PDP’s 71,000 votes in the 16 LGAs, there is no way the ruling party could torpedo our victory using falsified results from the last LGA, which has less than 30,000 registered voters,” Otti said.
He urged the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the commission’s management to ensure that whatever decision they reached after their ongoing review of results from Obingwa LGA reflected the will of the people.
Ohanaeze youth ask INEC to declare Abia, Enugu results
The youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has called on INEC to announce the results of the governorship elections held in Abia and Enugu states to ease the tension in the two states.
It contended that INEC didn’t have any justifiable reason to hesitate in announcing the results since the people had already decided on who to lead them and clear winners of the polls had emerged based on the results collated so far.
The National Publicity Secretary of the body, Chika Art Adiele, in a statement on Tuesday, said the decision to suspend the collation of results in both states appeared to be aimed at nothing short of the outright subversion of the will of the majority of voters in the states.
He said failure to announce the results within 24 hours would be viewed as an obvious sign of further disintegrating Ndi Ndigbo.
“As is the case of Enugu State, the elections in Nkanu East and Nsukka had already been collated by the returning officers and should have been summed up immediately, followed by a declaration of the results and the returned candidate.
“Obingwa local government is an interesting twist. INEC seems to be willing to subvert and tactically bypass her own rules in the case of Obingwa, which saddled the local government EOs to “compulsorily” announce results as collated from the polling units, to ward level, and finally to the local government for onward dispatch to Umuahia, the state capital.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Youth Wing, therefore, demands the immediate announcement of the Obingwa LGA result as collated by the different layers of electoral units and subsequently declare the winner.”
Women protest in Nasarawa
Women believed to be members of the different opposition political parties, including the PDP, protested in Nasarawa State on Tuesday over alleged manipulation of the governorship election.
The PDP state women leader, Mrs Stella Oboshi, who spoke on behalf of the women’s group during the protest in Lafia, the state capital, said INEC contradicted itself when it announced the results of the governorship election but declared that of the house of assembly inconclusive.
“We don’t care about Governor Abdullahi Sule because Governor Sule is a candidate just like any other political party, and David Ombugadu, the governorship candidate of PDP, is also a candidate.
“Our protest is against the INEC, not Abdullahi Sule, that was declared winner of the governorship election.
“Ours is that, let justice prevail. We don’t have a problem with the incumbent governor; our worry is why the house of assembly was declared inconclusive. INEC should come out and explain to the entire world,” she said.
By Abbas Jimoh (Abuja), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Bassey Willie (Yenagoa) & Umar Muhammed (Lafia)