By Jeremiah Urowayino
Despite claims of neutrality, the APC has said that the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC is yet to prove that it is above board in ensuring a level playing field for all participants in the forthcoming election.
The party in a statement made available to the press among others argued that regulations governing the election were indicative of a plot to railroad the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to victory despite what it claimed as the revolt against the party in the grassroots.
The statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Leonard Obibi particularly noted the regulation that results of the election would only be announced from the state capital, Asaba as one of the causes of discomfort. It also pointed to the termination of the life of the previous board of DSIEC. ‘’We are of the opinion that the abrupt termination of the tenure of the former board in August 2017, while it still had 10 months of service before it was legally due in June 2018, was unlawful and unwarranted. If we may ask, why could the said board not remain in office while the government was amending the DSIEC 2012 Law?
‘’Worse still, the DSIEC Law 2017 was hurriedly passed with what appeared to be only one agenda – to make it favourable to PDP government. The said amendments, which have now been effected, were not even subjected to an open hearing. Rather, they were rushed through the State House of Assembly and passed with many aspects being not in tandem with our Electoral Act and Constitution. This matter is already being challenged by some stakeholders in court.
‘’Some of the usual challenges are that election materials do not get to polling units on time. We have taken part in elections conducted in the past by DSIEC where sensitive materials that are presented such as result sheets are fake copies of the originals which leads to outcomes that are bastardized and do not reflect the reality of the elections.
‘’Again, we are all aware that results of elections into National and State offices are usually declared at Abuja or each State Headquarters respectively. Why must Delta local government election results be compiled at LGA level but the results will be declared at State Headquarters in Asaba? Why not at each of the LGA headquarters where the elections took place? We call on DSIEC to come clean to the public on this matter. We also demand that the LGA and Ward Returning Officers be given the mandate to declare the results of these local elections. These are some of many problems that persist, and unless DSIEC chooses to act independently and in an upright manner to meet the yearnings of Deltans for free and fair elections, it may lend itself to manipulations and illegal compromises.
‘’These are reasons we are saddened that DSIEC is yet to demonstrate that it can be sufficiently ‘’above board in ensuring a level playing field for all contestants.The recent statement issued by its Chairman, who happens to be a retired Police Commissioner, is inspiring and suggests that they appreciate these issues, but we will not relent in our monitoring effort of their performance in this election, including how effectively, where and when election materials are delivered, right up to announcement of results.
‘’Our only demand is for free and fair elections by DSIEC. PDP has since gone to sleep since after her flag-offs which were hollow and ceremonious, with no new hope to offer to the people of Delta State. Our people still remember that the smallest thing to do, which is local government workers salaries have not yet been fully paid up till now.”