FURTHERMORE, electronic card readers were introduced to eliminate accreditation abuses and incidences of double voting. Over time, the performance of the card readers which were said to be problematic in previous elections vastly improved thus conversely improving the credibility of elections and their outcome. And being the only election scheduled for that day nationwide, INEC deployed more than enough personell logistics wise to conduct the exercise.
It is significant to note that unlike in 2007, the party in power went into the election with a sense of confidence and pride, having substantially delivered on her electoral promises.
Before the election, there was public consensus that government had done exceedingly well particularly in infrastructure development. Besides the issue of performance, by 2016, the APC had replaced the PDP as the ruling party not only in the State but also at the Federal level and this conferred some advantages to the APC as our people often prefer their government to be alligned to the one at the centre. The PDP had no choice but to resort to sharpening their propganda machine by which they launched a relentless and vigorous campaign of calamny against the APC leaders and the candidate.
On September 28, 2016, the people trouped out in drones to the voting centres and their polling booths with a clear choice in their minds. The desperate attempt by the PDP to monetise the election by introducing vote buying tactics which they extenuatingly called stomach infrastructure as they did in the last Presidential ellection in the State was robustly countered by the APC. Accredition and voting commenced and ended in line with INEC guidelines and instructions peacefully across the State. Reported cases of violent behaviours were minimal and inconsequential, and generally regarded as normal considering the nature and size of the operation. From Edo South through Edo Central to Edo North, no single shot was fired and no life was lost unlike the 2007 election. Thus, no single member of PDP has rising to the challenge of pointing out the result of a single booth that was altered between the polling booth and the collation centres. Apart the Observer Groups sponsored by the PDP to discredit the election, all reputable election Observer Groups with records of credibility adjudged the election as largely free and fair and credible. They courageously pointed out areas that INEC must improve upon in subsequent elections. They acknowldged that no election was perfect anywhere in the World!
It is gratifying to note that the PDP has approached the court as required by law. The onus is now upon the petitioners to prove their case before the Tribunal. A background check on the Panelist shows that members are too professional and experienced to be intimidated. The petitionerss should stop wasting resources creating a sense of popularity.
The Tribunal cannot also be swayed by the organised solidarity rallies of paid gangs and groups of jobless youths, who are being daily mobilised to the Tribunal to disturb the peace of the area chanting slogans! The Tribunals are already aware that unpopular and desperate political office seekers stop at nothing to create non- existent popularity. The Tribunal cannot service the blind ambition of desperados. It is solely intetested in hard evidence!
As clearly proven, the 2007 episode between Adams Oshiomhole of the then AC and Oserheimhen Osunbor of the then PDP is by no means similar or comparable to the 2016 ongoing case between Osagie Andrew Ize-Iyamu of the PDP and Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki of the APC in material facts and circumstances.
In 2007, the national electoral body was still struggling with the daring rigging machines of Mr. Fix it and his likes and it was a case of two guilty parties out-smarting one another. The Tribunal simply provided the opportunity for one party to prove that it was less of a sinner than the other!
Today, we have an INEC that has vastly improved in performance and virtually defeated the old rigging machines of political parties. Thus, electoral integrity has largely been secured with the introduction of electronic card readers and the salutory improvement in the performance of same.
Consequently, it is quizotic, wishful thinking and day dreaming for anyone to hope and expect that what happened in 2007 will happen now! The petitioner in the present case is hanging on tenterhooks betrayed by morbid sense of entitlement. He is faced with the heavy burden of proving his case on the basis of evidence.
Dr. By Ralf Imaghodo, an educationist, wrote from Benin City , Edo State.