From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has accused some politicians in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state of importing mercenaries to register in their wards to boost their numbers for the forthcoming elections in the state.
Speaking Monday after monitoring the ongoing Continuous Voter’s Registration exercise at Ward 10, Iyamho, Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state, Oshiomhole said bus-loads of mercenaries were imported into the state and were given cover by suspected soldiers.
According to him, “I have heard that some politicians are bringing in people from neighbouring states and I find that very strange. I was told that somewhere in Uromi, a PDP leader brought in soldiers to provide escort while they brought in people with buses from neighbouring states to register in one of the wards in Uromi and I find that very worrisome because the whole idea is not to import mercenary voters.
“The whole idea was to give an opportunity to those who didn’t register before to register. I can understand if someone who is resident outside his village wants to go back to the village for the purpose of election but the villagers know everybody. So, when you now import a person who are not from the village and register them that distort the numbers and create problems. It creates problem for the electoral system”.
He said, “I want to appeal strongly to INEC to have a way of monitoring the exercise to ensure that there are no mercenary voters. In Uromi, the leaders protested when the politician brought the mercenaries to register, but because of the soldiers that were escorting them, they had to leave. And these people were brought in with several buses; they were brought in buses owned by a popular transport company. This is very disturbing and I hope that INEC will check these kinds of malpractices”, he stressed.