Edo: PDP leaders storm INEC office to demand for free election

September 17, 2020
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People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders on Thursday stormed the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja to demand the conduct of a free and fair election in Edo State.

Speaking to journalists at the electoral body’s premises, Deputy National Chairman, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, given what happened in Kogi, Osun, Kano states recent elections, the PDP was compelled to demand a commitment from INEC to ensure neutrality Saturday’s governorship election.

He said: “We have come here as a matter of urgency to demand free and fair elections in Edo and Ondo. This was as a result of the need for us to come and first-hand assurance that the elections will be free and fair. We are all aware of what happened in Kogi, Osun, Kano and the rest of them.

“And we thought it wise to come here today to insist and demand that we have a free and fair election. That is what the Peoples Democratic Party is requesting and demanding.

“We have had a lot of assurances but at the same time, it is one thing to assure us and it is another thing for us to go and hear that something else is happening.

“So we don’t know what you are going to tell us today. People are concerned and worried about the way elections are being conducted in Nigeria.

“We believe that it is high time that the right thing is done and that is why we have come here to demand nothing other than the free fair election.”

In his remark, Prof. Antonia T. Okoosi-Simbine, who is the Commissioner in Charge of Election and Party Monitoring, who represented the Chairman of the commission, assured that INEC will do its best to deliver a free, fair and credible election.

ALSO READ: Edo: INEC deploys five resident electoral commissioners

He stated: “The commission is aware of your fears and we will do our best to deliver on a free, fair, credible and safe election.

The commission has just returned from a visit to Edo state, the chairmen and members of the commission went to Edo state to check on the processes for the election, last-minute processes.

“By the time we departed, we were very sure that virtually everything is on course, what remains is the distribution of sensitive materials and that is to take place today.

“Just before you arrived, the process has been concluded and all the local government has proceeded. In fact, we started with the farthest local government, they have received their materials.

“All the vehicles are being tracked to ensure and to be able to say where they are, at any point in time. So the processes are on if there is any local government outstanding, they are the ones within the city of Benin and that process in on.

“The commission has always given you assurances like you said, what we shall continue to do is to assure you that on our part, as the election management body, we will continue to give you our best.

“I want to tell you that on Saturday, we may not all be in Benin but we are going to operate a virtual situation room where we will be seeing all that is going on in all locations and we will be dealing with problems as they arise.

“For the second time, election observers, civil society organizations, the media will be allowed access into these virtual situation rooms. They will be given codes with which they can join and they can ask questions, we can respond to issues as they see them. I think that is already a very high level of openness to the process, so we have done our best.

“You raised an issue regarding result sheets, I’d like to say that at the stakeholders meeting that was held in Benin, your party made a request that the result sheet, the registration area which is the ward collation sheet, the local government collation sheets should be signed by the REC.

“The commission has directed that the REC does that and that was done in the presence of parties, civil society organizations and the media.

“So once again, I just want to assure you that it is in our own interest, it is for our own good that a free fair, credible election goes on, on Saturday and that is what we promised that we are going to deliver.”

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