From Osakhare Erese, Asaba
Stakeholders in Ekpan community in Delta State yesterday alleged “foul play” in the recent exercise that led to the emergency of a new Ekpan Development Committee (EDC) Exco, saying that was flawed with glaring irregularities.
In a statement issued, and signed by the President of the stakeholders, Matthew Emewakeme, its Secretary, Andrew Akpojaro, a copy made available to our reporter in Asaba, called for a proper and valid election in accordance with the laid down procedure, due process and rule of law.
Noting that issue of the new Exco had not arisen under the lazy circumstances, the Stakeholders explained that the officers can be inaugurated where a validly conducted election exercise in line with laid down procedures were followed.
The stakeholders further alleged government’s interference, warning that illegal steps by “Power drunk candidates” to have invited government officials into the election, might degenerated into violence if urgent steps are not taken to stop the irregularities that characterized the purported exercise.
The statement pointed out that the decision of Ekpan Traditional Leadership not to carry out the swearing in or inauguration was commendable, and called on the community leadership to remain firm or succumb to intimidation, threat and blackmail issued by group of persons in the area, adding “they are principled enough not to have anything to do with absurdities, and also have the obligation to bequeath a benefiting legacy unto our children”.
The stakeholders also alleged that youths were sent out to threaten and intimidate other aspirants to withdraw or be dealt with, adding that some candidates were forced to surrender their mandates to the allegedly anointed candidates, a situation they described as pathetic as the election did not hold at Ubrete Quarters due to sporadic shouting including threats to kill by hired youths.
The stakeholders therefore rejected what they described as “selection” exercise and called for an immediate and unconditional cancellation of the entire exercise as their stand was based on pure principles in the concerted efforts to re-position Ekpan firmly on the path of genuine peace, and sustainable unity, and enduring development.