Edo 2016 election: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu in progress

The Edo State governorship election, Wednesday, appeared to be a do-or-die race between the two leading candidate -- the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The two main parties claimed to have gained comfortable lead in the election while accusing each other of planning to rig the poll.

The biggest upset of the night was at the PU001 Staff Training School, Benin where the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and wife of the PDP candidate, Dr. Idia Ize-Iyamu voted. The PDP won the unit by 78 votes to APC’s  69.

Also, former Governor of the state, Oserhiemen Osunbor failed to deliver for the APC, as PDP won at his poling unit in Iruekpen, Esan West LGA by 168 to 120 votes.

In other early results, the APC candidate won his unit by 160 votes to the 77 votes scored by the PDP candidate. The PDP candidate, however, won his unit (Unit 26 Ward 5 in Orhionmwon local government area) by 369 votes to the one vote recorded for the APC candidate. 

The outgoing governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole also won his voting centre in Ward 10, Unit 1, Iyamho in Etsako West LGA by 752 to 1 vote.

In other early results, Chief Mike Oghiadhome, who served as Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, also won in his polling unit by 308 to 214, while Senator Matthew Urhoghide, the PDP campaign manager, won his Unit 9 by 139 to 51. 

Against apprehension of violence, yesterday’s election relatively passed off smoothly with minimal reports of violence in the 18 local government areas of the state. The election was, however, largely marred by alleged inducement of voters with money being passed on to voters even on the queue. 

Obaseki who arrived alongside his wife to voted at his unit 19 spent about 30 minutes on queue before voting, in Oredo ward 4 at about 10:30 am, while the candidate of the PDP, Pastor Ize-Iyamu voted at Unit 26, Ward 5, in Orhionmwon Local Government Area at about 9:53 a.m. 

In other reports, the governorship candidate of the APGA, Osaro Onaiwu, who voted in Unit 27 Oredo Ward One, however, called on INEC to cancel the election, alleging inducement of voters as reasons. 

He told Vanguard, last night: “The turnout was impressive because Edo people wanted change. But the people where disenfranchised by the PDP and APC. This is not the democracy we laboured for. This is not the kind of democracy we want to leave for our children. “I asked for the cancellation since 2.p.m (yesterday) because there was no election. In my unit where I voted, the APC thugs went there, and they took the ballot box,” he alleged. 

The national leadership of the PDP alleged on Wednesday night that the APC was planning to overturn its alleged victory in the Edo State governorship election. The party said the results it received from its agents in the state indicated that it was leading the APC with a wide merging in the election.
Spokesperson for the party and member of its National Caretaker Committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, said in a statement in Abuja.
Adeyeye said, “Having received results from our agents at approximately 1,800 of the 2,627 polling units spread across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, we can confirm that our party has attained a near unassailable lead in the Edo State governorship election.
“The results so far confirmed to us that our candidate has garnered approximately 55 per cent of the total votes cast by voters.’’
He alleged that the PDP was aware of the alleged connivance between the state government and a national commissioner at INEC to rig the election in favour of the ruling party in the state.
Adeyeye, a former minister of state for works, added, “We will like to reiterate our earlier note of warning: The Edo people and our party will resist any attempt to subvert the collective will of the people as expressed by their votes today.”
He urged members and supporters of the party in the state to continue guarding their votes at the ward collation centres and the local government collation centres. “Eternal vigilance is the price we all have to pay for victory,” he added.
Also in a statement, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, said it was surprised that INEC had delayed the announcement of the results from wards.
He said, “Voting stopped at 2pm and votes were counted immediately at the unit levels. From results made available to us, we are in a very comfortable lead.
“We are, however, shocked that up until now, no ward result has been declared.