By Tony Ehighiale, Benin City
The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has berated the current leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the conduct of last Saturday Estako Federal Constituency by-election.
Candidate of the APC, Hon Johnson Oghuma, was declared winner of the election after he polled 39,876 votes to defeat his main rival, Comrade Jude Imagwe of the Peoples Democratic Party who had 18193 votes.
In the results announced on Sunday morning by Professor the APC won in all the three local government areas that made up Estako Federal Constituency.
The results as announced by INEC’s Returning Officer, Professor Jeremiah Shola Omotola of the University of Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State showed that in Estako East, the APC scored 12610 while the PDP got 7938.
In Estako Central, the APC secured 9820 while the PDP garnered 5369 and in Estako West, the APC polled 17, 446 while the PDP got 4886.
State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, in his reaction after the results were announced accused INEC of bringing non-functional card readers to strongholds of the PDP.
Orbih however noted that the party’s leadership has not met to delibatre on whether to accept or reject the by-election results.
Chief Orbih said the party’s leadership was already aware that INEC was not prepared to conduct a free and fair election.
According to him, “I commend our party leaders and members for coming out enmass even when it was apparent like all previous elections that INEC was not going to conduct a free and fair election. The Card reader ended up not being functional. The process was skewed that the card reader in areas where PDP is strong, they brought non-functional card reader.
“The greatest threat to Nigeria’s democracy is the current INEC leadership that has decided to be partisan. The concern politician and members of the National Assembly must take INEC threat to democracy seriously. All elections conducted under the present leadership of INEC have turned out to be contentious.
“It is clear we have a partisan INEC body who feels that the only they can do their job is to support the party that controls the government at the centre.
“It is obvious that the results were not only predetermined, we were not expecting anything different from INEC.”
Candidate of the PDP, Comrade Jude Imagwe, said that he would wait for the party to decide whether to accept the outcome of the result.
Comrade Imagwe noted that he would move on with his life if the declared results was a reflection of what transpired across the three local government areas.