By Abavo Kingsley, Benin



Oba of Benin

Oba of Benin

Ahead of the March 3, 2018 Local Government Council Election in Edo State, Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II has tasked the umpire; Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) to ensure that the electoral process is free of all forms of corruption.

The Monarch gave the charge during a courtesy visit by members of the Commission led by its Chairman, Prof. Stanley Orobator.

The charge was contained in a press release made available to journalists by the Monarch’s Chief Press Secretary, Desmond Agbama.

Charging the Commission to play their role in the development of the democratic process, the Monarch enjoined members not to undermine importance of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Monarch while acknowledging that the task ahead is enormous and challenging, promised the Palace would help spread the information on the need for the people to actively participate in the electoral process.

Prof. Orobator had earlier told the Monarch that it would not be business as usual asserting that corruption in the electoral process would not be tolerated.

He appealed that the Monarch should help through his traditional rulers and village heads galvanize the people to actively participate for a successful election.

…PDP to boycott

Meanwhile, the Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared its decision not to participate in the Council Election following a law suit it has instituted to challenge the State House of Assembly (EDHA) over issues bothering on electoral laws.

State Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih made the  disclosure during the launch  of  the PDP’s “Meet the People Tour” to the 18 local councils in Igarra and Auchi, headquarters of Akoko Edo Local Government, and Etsako West Government Councils Area respectively .

Giving reasons for the boycott, Chief Orbih said the PDP has approached the court to challenge the process on the electoral law as amended by the State legislature.

The party was compelled to approach the court as EDSIEC did not comply with the relevant section of the constitution on electoral matters.

Orbih who condemned the membership composition of the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) alleged that a team of registered members of certain political parties made up the electoral body.

He also alleged  that the Prof Stanley Orobator led EDSIEC have concluded plans to announce the local councils election results before the date of the conduct of the election scheduled for  March 3.

Orbih declared that until the Edo State government decides to comply with the relevant provision of the Nigerian constitution, the PDP will not participate in what he described as an “illegal process” to conduct the council election.

He said, “What we have in place in Edo State is that the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) is not dependable, reliable and not competent to conduct any election in Edo State.”

Orbih urged the people to keep faith with the PDP by encouraging and mobilizing its members and supporters to get registered in the INEC ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) to enable them vote and bring about positive change.

Also, a former Governorship Candidate in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has called on all members of the party who are interested in contesting positions in the local council election to be patient and wait for the outcome of the court process instituted by the PDP to challenge the conduct of the council poll.

Ize-Iyamu who sued for peace and  reconciliation among members to form a stronger and united front said the call for patience by aspirants became imperative as the party will be better for it in future election.

He expressed optimism that there will be a positive outcome of the court case instituted to challenge the conduct of the state local government election.

“In 2019, everything will change for the better. As you reconcile, please reorganize and re-dedicate yourselves. We see there is hunger in the land. In our time as the ruling party, we were not hearing of herdsmen killing, raping of your daughters and women as well as destroying your crops and farmlands. We will be victorious and by the grace of God stop the killings” Ize-Iyamu said.

…EDSG response

In response, the Edo State Government in a statement through Crusoe, the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Godwin Obaseki and signed by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation , Paul Ohonbamu has labeled the PDP as a group of fraudsters and bandits who have embarked on a tour of deceit in effort to bounce back to relevance.

The statement reads:

Bugged down by its inglorious past, the dying Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has embarked on a fraudulent tour in its distressed effort to reincarnate itself.

The motive of the fraudulent tour is to hoodwink unsuspecting Edo people into believing that a team of rogues and bandits could be trusted. But this is doomed to fail as Edo people are too intelligent for the PDP’s fraud.

Not even the party’s failed attempt to sensationalize very serious issues like the attacks on Edo people in parts of Edo North by Fulani herdsmen can sway Edo people who have their consciousness intact and appreciate the issues better.

Edo people know that the only motive driving the activities of the dying PDP which is populated by fraudsters is to loot our common patrimony.

But for the forgiving nature of Edo people, people like Chief Dan Orbih, Osagie Ize- Iyamu and Chris Nehikhare would be stoned on sight. In other climes where past leaders are held to account for their misdeeds, the likes of Ize-Iyamu and Dan Orbih would be in exile, on the run, and never to be seen in public, let alone convening meetings.

If the PDP members in Edo State are not ashamed, we wish to tell them to put on sackcloth and mourn their base and dishonourable records. Their effrontery to gather people coupled with their brazen and bold-faced disposition despite records of their monumental looting could earn them the wrath of Edo people in the weeks to come, just an advice.

In the midst of plenty, PDP looted us dry and drove people to desperate solutions. Rather than commend Governor Godwin Obaseki, who has achieved in one year, what the PDP could not achieve in eight, the party of bandits is stuck in its parochial politics.

The rally has been a monumental failure as usual. Edo PDP has reached the age of menopause, it died in sin and cannot resurrect.

Edo people know that a former PDP governor and his associates were convicted of fraud by courts of competent jurisdictions in this state. No fraudulent tour can change that. Those conversant with the activities of the PDP government under the former governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, know that the real criminals that were around Igbinedion are Chief Dan Orbih, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and their cohorts who are walking free today and are in the forefront of a shameful campaign to re-enact the looting spree that made them overnight billionaires.

We hear that the few people rented by the PDP led by Chief Dan Orbih and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to create a semblance of a ‘huge crowd’ at the fraudulent meeting abandoned the event mid-way, while others, are demanding the money the never-to-be trusted PDP promised them.

Edo people know that the genuineness and innocence of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s motive is unassailable and have named him their ‘Wake and See Governor.’No campaign of calumny, no matter how cleverly packaged, can invert this narrative.