PROTESTS again rocked Benin City, Edo State, following the announcement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki, as winner of the September 28 governorship election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
For the umpteenth time, supporters of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, early Monday morning, took to the streets of Benin, protesting and condemning the result of the election which they said did not reflect the wishes of Edo voters.
The protesters started at the protest at Akpakpava Road junction and moved to Second East Circular Road, New Lagos Road and several parts of the Benin metropolis before returning to the Ize-Iyamu Campaign office, where they gathered once again.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as “INEC is biased, not independent; Return our stolen mandate; Police conspiracy with INEC rigged the election; Return our stolen mandate to Ize-Iyamu and sang songs.
Spokesman for the protesters, Rev Olu Martins, said it was historical and ironical that nine to 10 years ago, he was among the protesters, who occupied the streets of Benin to protest the injustice done Governor Adams Oshiomhole in the 2007 Edo State governorship election, adding that he was back in the streets this time around to protest an “electoral heist perpetrated by Oshiomhole.”
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He said, “We will not stop until what rightfully belongs to the people is returned to them. The challenge is not what happened on Wednesday, September 28th. It is the process. “For the first time in Nigeria’s political process, international observers and journalists were barred from collation on the evening of an election and asked to come back the following day.
“By the time they came back the following day, the results were ready. That’s magical. They have subverted the will of the people so, we cannot stop protesting. It simply means that some people could sit at the INEC office and write results.
“This simply means that public goodwill does not matter. It is shocking that the will of the people could be subverted in the 21st century and in 2016. This portends danger for the election that will be conducted in Ondo State in November and the general election of 2019.
“Oshiomhole came through the rule of law. Is is not historical that this thing happened about nine or 10 years ago. We were in the street for Adams Oshiomhole. Is it not ironical that we are in the streets against Adams Oshiomhole nine to 10 years later.”
The protest was monitored by the police and convened by the Centre for Leadership Initiative, which has organised similar protest s at Abudu, in Orhionwon local government area of the state.