BY ADEOLA ADENUGA
There appeared to be no let up in the aftermath of the chairmanship and councillorship elections into Esan North East Local Government Council of Edo State as the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised the alarm that the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) have launched a plan to tamper with the result sheets and other documents used in the polls.
The alarm came on the heels of claims by the APC leadership in the state and Governor Adams Oshiomhole that their candidates for the chairmanship and councillorship elections won the October 22 rescheduled polls.
But the PDP said it won the elections into all the council’s positions contested for, without losing any to the APC. Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, said that except its Chairmanship candidate, Hon. John Yakubu, “who defeated the APC candidate, Mr. Sam Oboh, the EDSIEC had given certificates of return to PDP’s eleven councillorship candidates who won their elections”.
He said Yakubu scored 11,212 votes to defeat Oboh who scored 6,143 votes, explaining that while the Local Government Returning Officer, who had the responsibility of announcing the collated results disappeared, the councilors-elect were already given their certificate of return by their respective EDSIEC Ward Returning Officers.
Orbih said: “The certificates of return are part of the documents we will tender in court. They (APC) know that they did not win the elections. They find it difficult to come to terms with that reality. That is why their leaders became desperate and went to the extreme of causing the EDSIEC Chairman, Mr Solomon Ogoh, to announce fictitious results (Oboh-12,672 and Yakubu-3,314) in Benin while collation of chairmanship election results was yet to be concluded in Uromi.
But in a fresh twist to the lingering dispute on the elections outcome, after Governor Adams Oshiomhole swore in Oboh as chairman of the council, the PDP leadership, which has served notice that it would go to court to “reclaim its stolen chairmanship mandate,” alleged, yesterday, in Benin that the APC and EDSIEC officials have been holding nocturnal meetings to perfect plans to tamper with the election documents and other evidence of irregularities against them ahead of the litigation in court.
In a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Mathew Uroghide, titled: “APC NOCTURNAL MEETING WITH EDSIEC OFFICIALS IS ILLEGAL AND CRIMINAL,” the PDP alleged: “To this end, several meetings have been held at the residence of a staunch member of the APC and attended by APC members and Presiding and Returning Officers at the election.
“Edo PDP condemns this wicked plan which involves threatening the officers with sanctions in the event that any of them refuses to cooperate.”