CITIZENS of Edo state, Friday, have stormed the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office in Abuja in a peaceful protest, accusing INEC of complexity in the just concluded gubernatorial poll in the state.
The protesters, under the aegis of Coalition of Edo State Youth for Democracy, insisted that the result declared by the electoral umpire at the election was not the true reflection of the choice of the people of the state.
They were singing solidarity songs and carrying placards with various inscriptions such as; ‘Edo People reject INEC Result’, ‘INEC no-longer Independent’, ‘PDP won election in Edo State’, ‘We Reject Vote Declared by INEC’, etc.
However, they were blocked by fierce looking men of the Nigeria Police Force, who claimed that their letter to stage a peaceful protest sent to the force was not approved by the FCT Commissioner of Police, leading to a brief hiccup along the road leading to INEC office in Maitama area.
Speaking at the rally, a member of the Nigeria Youth Parliament, representing Edo Central Senatorial District, Hon. Prosper Iyere said; “We are here today to let fellow Nigerians known that democracy has been murdered, assassinated in Nigeria particularly the Edo state election.
“The governor has orchestrated and tried to connive with INEC to rig the election without taking the people of Edo State into cognizant.
“They have denied us our votes; election was completely rigged and we are not comfortable with it. We have of course held the series of protests in Edo state, and again we felt we should come to the capital territory Abuja because of the same issue.
“We are marching to INEC office to register our complaint and displeasure and we are going to give them the copy of the petition letter that they should ensure our mandate is restored back to Pastor Iza moje of PDP that is why we are here,” he said.
He also said that, “The issue is already in tribunal, and we think very strongly that this protest will also give sense of direction to the tribunal.
“We have a lot of evidences, we have video in CD plate and upon completion we are going to present it to all media houses for them to be guided and see that the election in Edo state was a rigged.”
Also speaking, the Edo State People Democratic Party (PDP) Youth Leader, Thaddus Irabor maintained that “It’s not good for someone to seat in comfort of his or her room and write the result of the election.”
“As it is now, democracy is threatened in Nigeria, because people of Edo state will not come out and vote again because they felt they have been cheated and their votes never counted. What is the need for them to come out to vote?
“If they know they have power to rig the election after primary election declared the person winner, don’t let us waste our resources, don’t allow people to stress themselves to campaign.
“We have our results, each of the unit, we collated our result and it showed that we have won even with landslide Victory. So the result they announced, we don’t know where they got it.
“It’s unfortunate that APC have removed the independence on INEC, they are no longer independent. Stealing peoples’ mandate is height of corruption, Edo people have been deprived of their right to choose who they want to govern them.”