Airhiavbere Refuses To Congratulate Oshiomhole
…Says He Pre-empted Election
SAN FRANCSICO, July 15, (THEWILL) – Defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election, Major-General Charles Airhiarvbere (rtd) has refused to congratulate reelected governor, Adams Oshiomhole on his victory.
Airhiarvbere’s position comes as a surprise after his party officially congratulated the winner in a statement endorsed by both the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Meuth. President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP-dominated Senate had also congratulated Oshiomhole, who defeated PDP’s candidate by 477,478 votes to 144,235 votes.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday night, Airhiarvbere hinged his stance on Oshiomhole’s condemnation of the election, at just about the time it was beginning.
“I won’t fully comment on the election because the acclaimed winner had, earlier in the day, [at] about 1pm condemned the electoral system,” he said. “He condemned the chairman of INEC for the process that has not ended. That process at the end of the day declared him the winner. I will observe in the next few days before I make my comment.”
Oshiomhole had, truly, criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, describing them as “a national embarrassment” and accusing INEC of “scientific rigging” in connivance with the PDP.
“At the New Era College, Upper Mission Road, they brought fake voters register different from the one the people registered. If accreditation is to stop by 12pm and by 11am (it is past 11am now), there are no materials in some polling booths, it then means Professor Atahiru Jega and INEC have no plans to conduct election. The whole idea is to frustrate the people so that they will not be able to vote, and they will declare a fake result,” Oshiomhole had said.
“Professor Jega and INEC have been an embarrassment to the nation. I am in shock with all the arrangements they have made …. INEC is the weakest link in the Nigerian democratic chain. I have no faith in what INEC is doing in Benin City …. They planned it and executed it this way. It is a shame that they have programmed this to embarrass the Nigerian nation …. Professor Jega has failed ….”
Meanwhile, Airhiarvbere thanked his loyalists for supporting his failed governorship bid. “The election has come and gone. I want to seize this opportunity to thank all the people of Edo State for coming out en masse to make yesterday’s exercise the most peaceful election ever experienced in Edo State,” he said, particularly singling out for his gratitude, the voters who “kept faith” with him.