By Abavo Kingsley, Benin


INEC official being mobbed by APC members in Benin.

Like many polling centers across Edo State on Saturday, (9 March, 2019), voting began as early as 8a.m. at  Ward 6, Unit 14, St Maria Gorretti Grammar School, in Ikpoba – Okha local Government Council Area, Benin – City.

But the process was temporarily halted at about 10 a.m when angry members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) descended heavily on an ad – hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The situation became tense and threatening as members of the leading political parties fiercely engaged in accusation and counter accusation.

According to APC Chieftains; Muntari Yusuf Osagie, and Charles Otasowie Adenomo, the INEC official was caught inducing voters to cast their ballots for the PDP.

He allegedly did it during the Presidential election hence close surveillance was mounted on him and was caught.

“How can an umpire be canvassing votes for a particular party? This one should serve as a deterrent to other INEC members of staff,” Muntari said.

While PDP Chieftain, Hon. Barr. Mrs. Osahon Ogbeide, countered; “In fact, it has been terrible, today, it is something else.

“The APC people are insisting that when the people cast their vote, they should show them which party they have voted.

“But the INEC official challenged them saying that is not the rule. It is supposed to be a secret ballot because of that the INEC official was beaten and has been taken away, and they are harassing and intimidating every other person here.

“We didn’t experience this during the last Presidential election. But what we are seeing today, is quite different from the usual so, I am not comfortable with it. She added the allegation of the APC Chieftains was not true.

In the narration of Scott Osagiede: ”You know, in the last Presidential election, we defeated APC so today, they have come with thugs trying to intimidate our people, they have beaten up an INEC staff and he is now in coma,” Scott Osagiede, another PDP Chieftain said.

An allegation the APC Chieftains also said was wrong.

But for the quick intervention of police operatives on ground, the story about the INEC official would have been more devastating.