Blank NEWS Online can disclose that the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Emmanuel Agwariavwodo, has gained early lead in the Delta Central Senatorial bye-election held Saturday and confirming his possible declaration as winner at the poll.
Feelers from some tallied results of Saturday’s bye-election in Delta Central senatorial district, Delta State indicated that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, seemed to have coasted to an early lead in Sapele, Ughelli South, Ughelli North, Ethiope-East and Udu Local Government Areas.
The Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP) candidate, Ede Dafinone, was understood to be leading in Okpe Local Government, but it was believed he was going to lose the senatorial election with PDP’s performance in Ethiope-West and Uvwie .
The former senator, the late Senator Pius Ewherido, won the seat in 2011 on DPP platform and his death, June 30, occasioned the bye-election
Former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, hinted newsmen that PDP trounced the other parties in all the units in his ward and in the entire Ughelli South Local Government.
According to him, “In Unit 2, Jeremi Ward 2, we scored 467, the other parties scored zero. We, the leaders, told them clearly who to vote for and they did not make a mistake about it. It is 100 per cent”.
Chairman of the Delta State PDP Campaign Council and Commissioner for Housing, Paulinus Akpeki, was said to have turned the tide against the DPP in Sapele, but the results were not confirmed at press time. Akpeki reportedly lost three out of the 17 units results that were counted as at 4.00 pm.
However, the state chairman of DPP, Chief Tony Ezeagwu, in a statement, indicating that his party might have lost the election, said DPP is rejecting results of the election with claims of irregularities and outright rigging by the PDP.
According to him, ‘’INEC deliberately delayed materials so that our agents could not go with the officials. In places where there were materials, there were no officials from the Commission while in places where there were no materials, there were officials. As a result of that, we in the DPP are rejecting whatever result INEC will announce. The election is a sham.”
But speaking with reporters shortly after casting his vote at his hometown of Olomu, Ughelli South Local Council, the PDP candidate, Chief Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, said he is satisfied with the conduct of the election, adding that “All the aspirants worked with me. We campaigned throughout the length and breadth of the district. The party is the one to beat in the state.”
The All Progressive Alliance (APC) senatorial candidate in the Delta Central bye-election, Chief Otega Omerho, alleged rigging in Aladja wards by the PDP and illicit “thumb printing” in secret locations by the ruling PDP.
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Prof Amos Utuama, while casting his vote at Jeremi Ward 2 denied allegations of rigging, saying that it has become commonplace in Nigeria for losers to find excuses.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta, Mrs Gesila Khan, on Saturday in Ughelli said voting in the Delta Central Senatorial District’s bye-election went peacefully in spite of initial challenges, explaining that the exercise ended on schedule and the conduct was successful.
“Normally, voting ought to have commenced at 12.30 p.m., but because of initial hiccups, it was not so. However, it all ended peacefully at the end of the day.
“There can never be 100 per cent perfection in any election conduct anywhere in the world,’’ she said.
Speaking also, the Delta Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikechukwu Aduba, said the bye-election was peaceful because his men were at all the voting centres to maintain law and order.
He had earlier warned against violence during the poll, threatening to deal with any person found disrupting the election and also warned policemen in the state to steer clear of politicians and government officials during the exercise, saying that any violation of the order would be severely punished.
DPP Draft Statement On Rigged Election:
Today, the Urhobo people were violently denied the collective right to choose a senator of their own. The proposed election to elect a senator is now emerging as a complete sham which we can not associate with under any guise. The scale of impunity and violence by the PDP, thugs/cultists and ‘security agents’ is just unimaginable. The involvement of state security apparatuses is particularly questionable. We are at a loss why and how such violence and external interference have to be brought into Urhobo in the name of election. We dissociate ourselves from the so-called election.
There was no election and we know the conflagration that could follow if we do not stop our people early enough from going to Collation Centres to witness the collation of fake results. It is our responsibility to prevent a total breakdown of law and order. We therefore call on all our agents and election officials to avoid the temptation of physically challenging the PDP and security and. INEC officials, both real and fake, at any designated Collation Centre. We urge our people to hold the peace no matter the anger, intimidation and violence.
As law-abiding people, we in the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) do not give credibility to that which is undemocratic, threatens the unity of our people and makes us a laughing stock. We believe in the vision of our leaders to make our people great based on the finest ideals of democracy. We shall continue to explore all lawful options to this end.
Today, most unfortunately, our people have been setback but our commitment to democracy and justice remains unshaken. We trust our candidate, Chief Ede Dafinone, who was set for a landslide victory and all our members and supporters to abide by our value of peace even in this clear case of extreme provocation. This value has brought us this far and we have no doubt it will always prevail.
Chief Tony Ezeagwu
DPP Delta State Chairman
2.00PM, October 12, 2013.