Fear Grips Action Congress Over Loss Of Lagos Bye-Election

Source: huhuonline.com

Huhuonline.com understands that the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the recently held bye election in Lagos State, has sent cold shivers down the spine of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the latter has threatened to challenge their loss at the tribunal. Just few weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan was reported to have directed the state PDP to wrestle power from the ACN, the PDP was declared winner of the election held last week to fill the Ikorodu constituency seat at the state House of Assembly following the death of the occupier, Rotimi Shotomiwa. While Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun state called the victory the beginning of more victories in the state, the ACN described it "the phyrric victory won by the PDP in last week's by-election in the Ikorodu 2 Constituency."

  The party accused the PDP of rigging the election with the apparent backing of President Goodluck Jonathan.

  In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the ugly development in Ikorodu sends a wrong signal as to whether the 2011 general elections can be free and fair, despite repeated assurances by the President.

  It accused the PDP of using intimidation and violence to ensure that the by-election was everything but free and fair.

  ''Violence was reported in Ijede, Ginti, Igbogbo and Ewuelepe. There was no voter's register in Surulere Estate and Offing in Igbogbo, known strongholds of ACN. Shooting and snatching of ballot boxes were reported at Ginti and Ewuelepe. There was over-militarization of the Constituency, with the invasion of mobile policemen, Immigration and Custom officers".

  ''There was also a massive influx of unregistered voters from neighbouring Ogun state, with the connivance of the heavily-compromised INEC officials. Overall, there was a massive disenfranchisement of registered voters in all strongholds of the ACN during the by-election,'' ACN said.

  The party said President Jonathan set the stage for the election malfeasance and violence by his public statement urging the PDP to make sure it wins Lagos in 2011 - a code word for do-or-die politics patented by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

  ''That statement by the President laid the foundation for what transpired in Ikorodu, and is a sign of growing desperation by the PDP after seeing its stranglehold on the South-west broken by our party".

  ''It is unfortunate that President Jonathan, who has continued to assure Nigerians and the international community of the willingness of his administration to organise free, fair and credible polls in 2011, has allowed himself to be pushed off course by the desperation of his fast imploding party,'' ACN said. The party appealed to its supporters to be calm, as it would definitely seek a legal redress".

  ''In the true and tested tradition of our party, ACN, we will be mounting a robust legal challenge against the so-called PDP victory in the Ikorodu 2 Constituency by-election. It is a truism that none of the victories so far won by our party has come easy and cheap. But it is also true that justice has almost always prevailed for us. We have no reason to doubt that just will prevail again in the Ikorodu 2 Constituency election,'' ACN said.