THE JUST ANNOUNCED BENUE STATE LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS RESULTS IS A TRAVESTY
The Lawyers of Conscience hereby throws its weight behind the call by the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) for the cancellation of the so-called results of the Local Council polls released by the Benue State Independence Electoral Commission (BSIEC) on the 4th of June, 2017, where the All Progressive Congress(APC) won all the 23 local government chairmanship seats in the council elections and all the councilorship positions in the 276 wards of the state with almost all the APC candidates returned unopposed.
While condemning the process and the outcome of the said Local Council elections in Benue State, we wish to state categorically that the results of our investigation reveal that both the pre-election process and the final results released by the BSIEC were fraught with manipulations and irregularities, which were allegedly masterminded by the agents of APC State government led by Governor Samuel Ortom. The process of clearing/accreditation of candidates of the other political parties in the State for the said elections and the voting process were criminally hijacked and manipulated by the agents of the Benue State Government for the pre-determined outcome. Thus, the results released by the BSIEC are not the true representation of the Benue State voters’ choices. The results can best be described as "hijacked and robbed mandates”.
We call on the relevant authorities at the Federal and State levels to join in the condemnation of this criminally stage-managed Local Council elections which was marred by massive disenfranchisement and electoral travesty as well as urge the CSOs and the electorates in Benue State to stand up together to resist this brazen denial of their franchise and the primitive leadership impositions which constitute an affront on the national democratization efforts.
We also encourage all the affected members and candidates of the unjustly excluded and cheated political parties to approach the appropriate law courts to seek redress, and such candidates should count on the unalloyed support of our organization.
Consequently, we demand for the outright cancellation of the said Local Council elections results released by the shamefully partisan BSIEC which ought to be an independent and impartial umpire that should not allow itself to be used by the Usurpers and desperate State Governments or the ruling political party that wants to win Local Council elections at all costs against the democratic principle of free and fair election.
A truly independent Electoral Body ought not to take side with a particular political party against the others and should not do anything that will provoke the wrath of the electorates to take laws into their hands thereby disrupting our fledgling democracy. That is the only way to guarantee good governance and ensure peace and development, especially at the grassroots level.
Barr. Benedict Ezeagu
National Coordinator, Lawyers of Conscience.