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Edo Governorship Election Postponement: Our Stand

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It is with mixed feelings that I address you this morning on the postponement of the Edo State Gubernatorial election earlier scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday September 10, 2016 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

First, the shift in the date for the election was announced without due consultation with the critical stakeholders which includes the All Progressives Congress (APC). Such an important decision as postponement of gubernatorial election which had involved several months of active campaigning would be done after extensive consultation with all the relevant Stakeholders as was done on the 7th of September 2016 when we all agreed that the election should go ahead; admittedly without knowledge of the very strong reservations expressed by the security agencies.

We believe that the timing and mode of communication by the security agencies could have been better handled having regards to the very hard work and huge resources deployed towards the election by all concerned.

On our part, we have traversed the nooks and crannies of the State in the course of our electioneering campaigns and we have been able to effectively market our candidates and our manifesto. In that same process our members have been fully sensitized and mobilized in readiness for the election culminating in our final campaign at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on the 6th of September which recorded the highest level of mobilization ever witnessed in that facility. It will therefore be fair to admit that the decision has adversely affected us somewhat.

However, having regards to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral act, we are obliged to defer to the decision of INEC particularly when ”security threats” have been cited as the reason for the postponement. Although we do not have the details from the security agencies we have, in the past, drawn attention to the influx of militants into Edo State from neighboring States during the Continuous Voters Registration exercise. As a matter of fact some of them were in fact arrested at Ologbo in Ikpoba Okha LGA and charged to Court but a host of others made it without detection; those ones must be lurking around various locations within our State even as we speak. Data capturing machines were found to have been given to unauthorized persons to carry out illegal registration; a case in point is that of Alhaji Nakowa, a known PDP chieftain in Etsako Central, who was arrested with some unscrupulous INEC staff while engaged in illegal registration acts in a private residence in the middle of the night. All these, taken with the reported threat by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Nwike to the effect that the APC people should go and write their will should be a source of concern to any right thinking person. You recall that the last time the same man issued the same threat in Port Harcourt several people lost their lives including Youth Corpers who had been deployed to assist in the exercise in that State.

Elections have largely been peaceful in Edo State since 2007 until the sudden interest of the Governors of Rivers State and Delta State who are hell bent on realizing the long standing obsession of an individual to rule this State by all means.

The postponement, therefore, provides an opportunity for the security agencies to address these concerns in addition to whatever other threats they may have discovered. We also note that this puts paid to the matter relating to our children participating in the ongoing GCE examinations who were to be displaced by the postponed election.

Finally we wish to appeal to all our party members, supporters, sympathizers and indeed all citizens of our great State to show understanding at this time because security of lives and property must take priority over political aspiration.

Note Pls This is Urgent the speech of the just concluded press conference