….It was rigged— DPP ….Poll marred by malpractices, violence—APC
By Emma Amaize, Festus Ahon & Godwin Oghre
UGHELLI—CANDIDATE of the PDP in last Saturday’s Senatorial by-election in Delta Central, Chief Emmanuel Aguariavwodo has won the election by a landslide.
The Returning Officer, Profesor Eric Arubayi, announced, yesterday, in Ughelli, Delta, that Aguariavwodo polled 263,024 votes to defeat eight other candidates.
Arubayi said Mr. O’tega Emerhor of All Progressives Congress, APC, scored 29,075 votes to emerge second, while Chief Ede Dafinone of Democratic Peoples’ Party, DPP, followed with 29,055 votes.
PDP won in all the eight local government areas of the senatorial district.
DPP, APC, LP, APGA fault polls
Meanwhile, DPP, APC, Labour Party, and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, have faulted the elections, alleging that it was rigged and characterized by massive fraud. They all called for a fresh election.
In a statement by DPP’s chairman in Delta State, Chief Tony Ezeagwu, the party alleged that the election was a sham and disassociated itself from it.
He also alleged that “the scale of impunity and violence by PDP thugs, cultists and security agents was unimaginable. There was no election and we know the conflagration that could have followed if we did not stop our people early enough from going to collation centres to witness the results collation.”
Delta Central denied — Dafinone
The party, however, urged its members and supporters to remain peaceful.
Its candidate, Dafinone, said: “We are here to tell the world that the people of Delta Central were on Saturday denied the right to choose a senator of their own. The exercise to elect a senator was a complete sham. There was no election, as defined by our laws.
“The lopsided and partisan involvement of state security apparatuses in supporting the PDP and the brazen use of thugs to unleash violence and mayhem on our party members and the electorate was unprecedented. Thus, there are now very serious concerns for the progress of our nascent democracy and diminishing hope for peace, unity and good governance of Nigeria now and in the immediate future.”
No voting at all—Lai Mohammed
On its part, APC, in a statement in Lagos State, yesterday, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that there was no voting at all in most of the eight local governments and the 85 wards in the district, alleging that the PDP used armed security agents to chase away voters in opposition strongholds while thugs working under the cover of security personnel beat opposition party agents and seized voting materials in many areas.
He said that electoral officials were either overwhelmed by the intimidating presence of the security agents or were coerced into submission.
“This election is nothing but a sham as the activities of the partisan security agents ensured that hundreds of voters were disenfranchised, while state government and PDP officials openly gave out money to induce voters. Even in wards where voters successfully resisted armed security agents, the absence of complete electoral materials meant there was no voting,’’ APC said.
Emerhor rejects outcome
The party’s candidate, Emerhor, said: “I hereby, place it on record that no by-election took place in Delta Central on October 12, 2013. What took place was a sham calculated to select a senator, the first by any democracy in the world, by the government and all its agencies, including the INEC, the military and other security agencies, all working together to achieve this nefarious and predetermined outcome.
“We, therefore, reject in its totality, the purported outcome and results as announced by INEC. We hereby, demand for a fresh election that will allow the people of Delta Central to freely elect a candidate of their choice to fill the vacant senatorial seat.
“Our rejection and demand for a fresh election is predicated on the following: The whole environment was militarised with road blocks, where voters were intimidated to stay at home and clear of polling units. Soldiers supervised snatching of ballot papers by PDP stalwarts and thugs while giving them covering fire.”
APGA candidate, Chief David Omoru, said: “The by-election is a disgrace to the Urhobo nation. Emmanuel Aguariavwodo was never elected but imposed on the people by use of force and intimidation. We are going to the tribunal to prove our case for cancellation. My legal team is ready with overwhelming evidence against the PDP.”
Aguariavwodo is a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and a former member of the House of Representatives.
Reacting to the victory, the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who organised a thanksgiving service to thank God for the victory, said it was by the power of God that the party regained its lost territory in the state, which is Delta Central senatorial district.
He said the victory was worth celebrating, as some parties had even written petition as at 2.pm on Saturday, while the election was still on-going, claiming there was no election in the state.
Uduaghan urged the victorious candidate, Chief Aguariavwodo, to give good representation to his people and the state by attracting democracy dividends to the state.
Delta State PDP Chairman, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, said he would not want to respond to unfounded allegation by his DPP counterpart, Chief Ezeagwu, that there was no election in Delta Central, adding, “He is not even a political party chairman because he was not elected by any congress. You are journalists, go and find out.”
Nwaoboshi pointed out that by the provisions of the Electoral Act, both Ezeagwu and APC do not have party chairmen in the state, but the PDP did not want to rely on technicality to knock their parties out of the polls, saying, “That was why we said let us go to the polls and prove who is who.”
I’ll deliver – Aguarviavwodo
The winner, Chief Aguariavwodo, said he could not find enough words to thank the governor, party leaders and members, who fought tooth and nail to deliver their various units, wards and local governments in the by-election to PDP.
He assured that he would perform his new assignment to the best of his ability and would attract dividends of democracy to the state, as advised by the governor.
Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama, commended Governor Uduaghan for providing good leadership that led to the victory and said the people were behind him.
Meanwhile, it was celebration galore by PDP leaders and their supporters in Delta Central, yesterday. In Sapele, party members thronged the residence of Commissioner for Housing, Chief Paulinus Akpeki.
Chief Akpeki, who woke up to find out that his house had been besieged by women and youths, flung his doors open and entertained them for a job well done. He was seen shaking hands and congratulating them for doing him proud.
Delta Speaker congratulates Aguarivwodo
Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr Victor Ochei, has congratulated Chief Aguarivwodo.
In a statement, Ochei said that the victory was a testament to Delta Central’s preference for worthy representation in the Senate, through a viable vehicle as provided by the PDP.
He observed that this triumph could not have come at a more auspicious time, when the electorate desires quality and result-oriented representation, attributes which Chief Aguarivwodo has in abundance, considering his experience in legislative business as a former member of the House of Representatives.