By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State in the just concluded election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has said that the election was not free nor fair, but he would not challenge the outcome at elections petitions tribunal to avoid heating up the State.
In a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, Ize-Iyamu said that contrary to media reports, the election was neither free nor fair, pointing out that there were several episodes of violence, voter intimidation and falsification of results.
He pointed out that there were unlawful cancellations of results particularly from Urhonigbe South and North in Orhiomwon, while results were falsified from many polling units in Ofunama in Ovia South West, and in parts of Ovia North East, Owan West, Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan North East, Esan West, Esan South East, and Uhunmwode Local Government Areas.
“Sadly, two persons were killed during the election, while gun-wielding thugs took over collation centres in many locations without the intervention of law enforcement agents.
“There were also several cases of malfunctioning card readers, which disenfranchised duly registered voters, in addition to many cases of unregistered voters voting with pre-purchased voters’ cards not collected by their actual owners,” Ize Iyamu said in a statement made available to journalists yesterday.
He said even though there are reasons to challenge the election results, “We have however decided not to commence an election petition.”
According to him, this is to avoid further tension in Edo State, noting also that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and many well-placed individuals have made pronouncements endorsing the process that produced Obaseki.
The APC standard-bearer, however, noted that there are pre-election matters already in court filed against the APC by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate, Obaseki and also the ones instituted by the APC against the ruling party and its candidate.
He noted that these are all lawful and integral parts of the electoral process in any democracy, calling on everyone to respect and acknowledge as genuine democrats.
“The outcome of these pending cases have direct effect on the election. Consequently, we have decided to continue with our pre-election cases in full exercise of our legal rights, just as our opponents have considered it their prerogative to also continue with their pre-election cases against us,” he said.