By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has backed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the Electronic Voters Register (EVR) for the re-run Akoko Edo House of Assembly election scheduled for Saturday, August 22, 2009 .
The leaders, led by a Chieftain of the party in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, leader of the House of Representatives, Tunde Akogun, Senator Yisa Braimoh, House of Representative member, Johnson Abulagbe, Owere-Dickson Imasogie, Henry Tenebe and Secretary of the party, Felix Utubor, also described as untrue allegation by Action Congress (AC) in the state that it had perfected plans to rig the election through the EVR system.
According to the party, there is no need to rig elections in the area, since Akoko Edo is a PDP dominated area.
The PDP leaders, who reacted to the allegation by the AC published in Vanguard, also faulted the argument by the AC that the decision by INEC to also shift the collation center from Ibillo to Aiyegunle was a plot to rig the election by the party, explaining that Aiyegunle served as the collation center during the 2007 and wondered why the sudden complain by the AC.
According to Orbih, â€œ we have received information that the leadership of AC has concluded plans to bring in thugs from Lokoja as well as from the South West and the plan will be perfected by government official vehicles to ferry some of these armed miscreants undetected.
â€œAs a prelude to their rally, that held on August 14, their supporters stopped at Iruekpen shooting into the air and beat up some PDP supportersâ€.
He added that the PDP claimed that the lame, the deaf, blind and dumb, attended its rally, â€œ but we know that in the history of elections in Edo state, this category of people that dominated the AC rally has never won elections in Edo state, hence the AC has resorted to the grand design to intimidate, disrupt and then rig.
â€œSo, we believe in a free and fair election and will resist any attempt to manipulate the election. We commend INEC for the arrangement so far and we plead with all security agencies in the state to be alertâ€ he stated.
However, the leader of AC in Edo state, Senator Rowland Owie, insisted that the AC â€œhas all it takes to win Akoko Edo election. The PDP is gone in Edo stateÂ and there is no way they will be allowed to rigâ€.