Since our brief return to democracy since 1999, no election in Edo state has been keenly contested in the manner 2016 gubernatorial election, majorly between Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Godwin Obaseki was contested. Although, I believe every election is sue generis. I think it usually starts with where we are in the state at the time, with what the people are thinking, feeling and hoping, and it proceeds from there. And it is always about the future. So, a lot was at stake in 2016 and this means that win or loose for APC in 2016 will ultimately determine Oshiomhole’s legacy and his future. The election was more about Oshiomhole rather than Godwin Obaseki.
Oshiomhole smelling defeat ahead, knew that a win for PDP will see the end of his fraud soaked life. So, he pushed for a postponement with a phony excuse that the state wasn’t safe enough for an election of such magnitude. He did all within his powers to ensure the cooperation of INEC and the security agencies. Eventually, the election was moved from 10th September, 2016 to 28th September, 2016.
However, Oshiomhole, again learnt that the postponement wouldn’t save him as majority of voters in the state were bent on voting the PDP. Oshiomhole wasn’t deterred by all the negative reports on his table over the impending loss of the APC. He had an alternate plan. He has since gone to work to perfect his rigging with the two weeks postponement and he achieved his aim. So, If you look at the result sheets used during the election, you may not see any element of rigging. It was done in such a fine manner to make rigging difficult to see on the surface unless you dig deeper.
Having studied the results sheets carefully, we knew that most of the rigging took place in Edo North where Oshiomhole hails from. Edo South and Central was quite minimal. So, at the twilight of the time aloted to the PDP at the tribunal, our lawyers decided to call first for a recount of the ballot papers used pricely in Akoko-Edo, Egor, Etsako West and Etasko East in the presence of all. The counting of these ballot papers from these four local governments were done simultaneously. Midway into the counting, everyone in court started speaking in hush tones because results showing massive rigging started filtering in. Although, the counting wasn’t concluded before the time aloted to PDP ended but the ones that were counted was enough to know why the result went the other way.
We managed to count Seven wards in Etsako West and more that 7,000 votes were not found in the ballot box. Which means 7,000 people that purportedly voted in these wards didn’t exist. The presiding officers had been instructed to simply inflate the figures on the result sheets and announce. Same thing happened in Akoko-Edo, Etsako East and Egor that were counted. The most minimal of these four Local governments was Egor. While the PDP votes remained the same on the result sheet, the APC votes didn’t tally with what was counted. Figures on result sheets were far higher compared to what was counted. So, if anyone says the election wasn’t rigged, the person is either ignorant or economical with the truth. Let me say that of all matters to play politics with, election irregularities should not be part of it because pretending that voter fraud did not exist put the integrity of our voting process at risk. And It can come back to hurt the individual. Someone may ask; with all these irregularities, why wasn’t the PDP declared winner at the tribunal! Two things happened. Firstly, the time aloted to the PDP at the tribunal elapsed before the counting of ballot papers could be completed. Secondly, what was counted wasn’t tendered as exhibits to the court. So, the court didn’t act on them. You could call it a legal miscalculation by our lawyers or a denial of the truth by the tribunal judges but that was eactly what happened.
This is the reason I am tempted to support Prince Uche Secondus on his recent statement that the PDP may boycott future elections. If the PDP led by Uche Secondus and party stakeholders and candidates cannot come up with a workable solution to stem this tide of rigging elections in Nigeria, particularly staggered elections in states like Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra and Ekit and ensure that the system of APC rigging is destroyed from the root, then particpating in future elections is futile. We participate in election to win and we must show the people that we are capable of protecting their votes. Otherwise, the people will loose confidence in voting for us. Once again, a bigger opportunity exist for PDP to clinch Edo 2020 guber and we must do everything within out power to maximize this God given opportunity to restore Edo people’s confidence in voting the PDP by securing their votes. This election is ours to loose.
Published on December 3rd, 2019 at 12:56 pm in EfeSpeaks