By Miracle Enuji
The Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), on Sunday January 7, 2017 announced the results of the just concluded local government elections in the State.
Announcing the result in Asaba, DSIEC Chairman, Barr. Mike Ogbodu said the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, cleared Twenty Three chairmanship seats and 424 councillorship seats across the state while the All Progressive Congress (APC) won one councillorship seat in the state at ward 2 in Aniocha North local government area.
The Chairman added that the result of the councillorship election for Otor-Owhe Ward 1 (DSIEC Ward 09) of Isoko North Government Area is yet to be declared owing to an order of the High Court of Justice, Delta State sitting at Ibusa.
In the two councils where elections were canceled due to reported violence, Ogbodu said elections will be conducted in Ughelli North and Ethiope East Local Government on Tuesday January 9.
Meanwhile, a Coalition of Civil Society Groups led by Comrade Richard Adebayo and Comrade Ndubuisi Izuchukwu, have commended the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC and the Security Agencies for the preparation in providing all the needed logistics and materials including secured and peaceful environment on time which actually encouraged the success of the election.
While commending Deltans for their maturity during and after the conduct of the election, the CSO in enlarged press briefing of journalists in the state capital said, “We conclude by saying that the January 6th 2018 Delta State Local Government election actually took place as scheduled under a conducive and peaceful atmosphere across the entire state.”
“We therefore adjudge it to have met the accepted standards in line with the electoral laws;, the results should be accepted by all the candidates and political parties as a true reflection of the wishes and decisions of the electorates.”
However, All Progressive Congress, (APC) in the state has rejected the council polls stating that the election was a complete sham.
In a press release signed by the state chairman of APC, Jones Ode Erue, the party submitted that, the Delta State Local Government Council election that transpired on January 6, 2018, with Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, as the umpire was a total sham that cannot stand the test of a credible, free and fair election as required by democratic principles.
The full statement read thus; DELTA STATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL ELECTION WAS A TOTAL SHAM,
“The Delta State Local Government Council election that transpired on January 6, 2018, with Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, as the umpire was a total sham that cannot stand the test of a credible, free and fair election as required by democratic principles. To let it stand would be that DSIEC has in connivance with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, perpetuated a greedy and political dynasty that is already gasping for life.
This election was conducted in substantial non-compliance with the provisions set out in the DSIEC Law 2017 for the following reasons:
1. Sensitive election materials were not delivered as expected to most of the polling units where the actual elections were due to take place;
2. Where materials were even delivered, they did not arrive on time as most were hijacked and re-directed along the way, and it was observed upon a close examination that the result sheets did not accompany the materials in most of the LGAs:
3. Where result sheets were produced, they were in sharp contrast with the samples that were presented to our party officials during the DSIEC training exercise, and so were fake;
4. Many Returning Officers were not at the Polling Units to conduct the elections nor to announce the outcome. For example, a DSIEC Returning Officer at Ozoro in Isoko North Local Government Area was arrested at a Hotel Annex in Ozoro facilitating illegal thumb-printing of votes, and was handed over to the Nigeria Police at Ozoro;
5. Violence marred the elections in a large number of LGAs and Wards where election was due to take place; in fact, we gathered that the DSIEC Office at Ughelli was burnt down while election materials were not yet issued out.
We are not shocked by the outcome of the election because we had issued out a note of caution previously, warning about the potential for active connivance between DSIEC and PDP officials or agents.
Our party was very well prepared for peaceful elections. Unfortunately, the people were let down, but more importantly, DSIEC demonstrated to the whole world that it is not yet able to deliver such an onerous responsibility for conducting peaceful elections on behalf of the people.
We recall that PDP had been boastful that APC was not on ground in the state, however this election has proven that to be completely false. The bastardization of this simple election that ought to be peaceful shows that PDP is now a dying party in the state, and that they were totally amazed by the level of preparedness, organization and mobilization that APC mustered across the entire state. There is no doubt that PDP is now experiencing a backlash from the masses given the overall poor performance by its Council Officials and the state government that oversees the Councils.
In all of this, we are most saddened that during the process of this election, at least three of our members were shot in Ughelli South LGA, and not less than a dozen others were cut with machetes and injured by PDP thugs, just as numerous vehicles were damaged. We wish these gallant ones swift recovery in the weeks ahead, just as we extend our deepest appreciation to them for standing up for what is right and just. We stand with them in their pain and by God’s grace, timely recovery.
It is disheartening that the people of Delta State have been robbed once again of their constitutional and inalienable right to freely pick leaders of their choice. This is a crime against the people, and the day is nearer when PDP will have no choice but to beckon to the voices of the people who are tired of the poverty that PDP has inflicted upon them over the years.
We are quite confident that the PDP administration in the State will also take a bow come 2019 when the people will finally be liberated. We cannot wait for that day to come to pass.
On the strength of the unexpected outcome of this election, we call on DSIEC to cancel the elections across the state, and organize a repeat election that will be more transparent and peaceful in order to substantially comply with the extant DSIEC Law 2017. We are well abreast of the actions that we may have to take should DSIEC fail to react positively to this request.
We will formally convey a report of our observations and findings during this election to DSIEC in the days to come, and hope that they would listen to the voice of reason as Deltans have spoken loudly enough.