Edo Elections: PDP’s Airhiarvbere Refuses to Congratulate Oshiomhole, May Go to Tribunal
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election, Major-General Charles Airhiarvbere (rtd) has refused to congratulate re-elected governor, Adams Oshiomhole on his victory.
Airhiarvbere’s position comes after his party officially congratulated the winner in a statement endorsed by both the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the spokesman, Olisa Meuth. President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP-dominated Senate had also congratulated Oshiomhole, who defeated PDP’s candidate by 477,478 votes to 144,235 votes.
However, speaking on Sunday night, Airhiarvbere hinged his stance on Oshiomhole’s condemnation of the election, at just about the time it was beginning.
“I won’t fully comment on the election because the acclaimed winner had, earlier in the day, [at] about 1pm condemned the electoral system,” he said. “He condemned the chairman of INEC for the process that has not ended. That process at the end of the day declared him the winner. I will observe in the next few days before I make my comment.”
In reality, Oshiomhole had criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, describing them as “a national embarrassment” and accusing INEC of “scientific rigging” in connivance with the PDP.
“At the New Era College, Upper Mission Road, they brought fake voters register different from the one the people registered. If accreditation is to stop by 12pm and by 11am (it is past 11am now), there are no materials in some polling booths, it then means Professor Atahiru Jega and INEC have no plans to conduct election. The whole idea is to frustrate the people so that they will not be able to vote, and they will declare a fake result,” Oshiomhole had said.
“Professor Jega and INEC have been an embarrassment to the nation. I am in shock with all the arrangements they have made …. INEC is the weakest link in the Nigerian democratic chain. I have no faith in what INEC is doing in Benin City …. They planned it and executed it this way. It is a shame that they have programmed this to embarrass the Nigerian nation …. Professor Jega has failed ….”
Meanwhile, Airhiarvbere thanked his supporters for supporting his failed governorship bid. “The election has come and gone. I want to seize this opportunity to thank all the people of Edo State for coming out en masse to make yesterday’s exercise the most peaceful election ever experienced in Edo State,” he said, particularly singling out for his gratitude, the voters who “kept faith” with him.
PDP may go to court
In another development, Airhiarvbere’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said it may approach a court for the nullification of the Edo State governorship election announced by the INEC if the result goes contrary to the party’s filed reports.
The PDP’s spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh, who congratulated the governor-elect of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, in a statement, said the party received the results with mixed feelings.
“The Peoples Democratic Party has received with mixed feelings the results of the Edo State Gubernatorial Election in which the candidate of the action Congress of Nigeria, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has been declared winner.
“While we await the reports of our monitors in different locations in the state in order to determine our next course of action, we commend the people of Edo State for their enthusiastic participation in the exercise,” he said.
As a party that respects the institutions of democracy, Metuh said, and in demonstration of the spirit of sportsmanship which is the acclaimed principle of the PDP under the leadership of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, we call on all our supporters to accept this results as declared by INEC.
“We congratulate the winner for this victory. This is however without prejudice to our right to seek redress if we observe from our field reports any foul play. We therefore urge our supporters to remain calm, law abiding and resist any temptation to take the law into their hands,” he added.
He said in the course of the party’s campaigns, the people were told that the PDP’s entry into the race was not a do or die affair.
His words: “We did our best to provide a credible alternative to the people of the state. We shared their hope for a re-entry into the main stream of Nigerian politics. We shared their sentiments in their yearning to join the list of progressive states administered by the PDP. However, to our disappointment, the results as declared by INEC did not go our way.”
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