The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), within the Edo governorship election, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, on Sunday expressed belief that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), would conduct free, fair and credible elections in Edo.
Obaseki stated this when he played host to the Senate Committee on (INEC), on a courtesy visit to the govt house in Benin.
According to him, as government we’ve made all the resources at our disposal available to all or any agencies of state that are planning to handle the conduct of the election weather INEC or the safety agencies.
“We want to believe that INEC, the umpire, will conduct a free, fair and credible election.
“However, the perception with the general public and our people is that the election are going to be manipulated.
“This has been the rhetoric of the opposition.
“And that it doesn’t matter what happens within the polling units, due to what they term federal might, which federal might could also be deployed to the state.
“Fortunately, also that perception has been reinforced by the the calibre of individuals who are leading the campaign on the side.
Obaseki made references to Kano, Imo and Kogi and therefore the alleged roles their governors were playing in Edo.
“The governor of Imo came into the town with a full convoy of military men two days ago.
“So, with those kind of people around it doesn’t help the boldness.
“There may be a massive fear that Edo election are going to be manipulated.
Obaseki also alluded to some survey reports that showed the respondent’s belief that they’ll not get fair outcome.
“INEC has got to convince the people even after they had made all preparations and put all the method in situ .
“The issue of perception must be addressed. INEC must begin very clearly to prove that they’re truly independent.
“Even when we are the opposition party at national level, it doesn’t mean that we’ll not get justice.
“The other area of concern to us is that the issue of security.
“We had the chance to go to inspector general of Police after our ward-to-ward rally and also to present a report back to him.
“There were about 12 attacks on us the PDP.
“I appealed to him to make sure that individuals are apprehended and prosecuted, but if these people aren’t being prosecuted they’ll just do same during the election,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman Senate Committee on INEC, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, said that the visit was a part of its oversight function to check how prepared INEC had been before the election.
“We went around the INEC headquarters within the state, and that we decide to visit one among its government offices to ascertain how prepared they’re .
“They told us that all the required materials are 90 per cent ready and that they expect more of those materials before Thursday.
“We, the members of the committee, have seen and from the record they gave us i feel that they’re ready for the elections.
“We have a number of the areas that are riverine that they have already deployed boats which will be utilized in such areas.
“We are concerned about the problem of security, we expect there shouldn’t be any sort of violence during the election.
“The governor here is the chief security officer within the sate, but here they’re bringing more security officers into the state to help him in maintaining peace.
“We won’t tolerate any violence within the state, we’ll not tolerate any trouble because we believe that if there’s any violence INEC will prospone the election which can not be good for us as Nigerians.
“Therefore, i’m appealing to government and therefore the people and all political parties to make sure that the election is trouble-free, violence-free, so people can go and exercise their rights to vote for whom they need .