Ward Delegate Election: Etsako Central results canceled over kidnap of nine electoral officials


The Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anthony Aziegbemi, on Monday, explained that the State’s 3-man Ad-hoc Ward Delegate Electoral Committee led by Enugu State Governor, Peter Mbah canceled results from Etsako Central Local Government Area because election did not hold in the LGA as nine electoral officers were kidnapped at Jattu on their way to the LGA.

Aziegbemi disclosed this while briefing journalists in Benin City, on the success of the election that was held yesterday across the State, which he described as the best ever conducted in Nigeria since 1999.

He said: “The Congresses went on well. It was peaceful, fair and credible but with one incident that led to the Committee canceling the exercise from Etsako Central.

“The nine electoral officers were kidnapped around Jattu on their way to Etsako Central Local Government Area of the Edo State on the morning of the exercise. As at the time we were closing the Congress yesterday, the whereabouts of these men were not known.

“The Commissioner of Police was immediately called upon to investigate the issue. As at the end of the exercise, the electoral officers were still not seen. So, the Committee took the decision to cancel results from Etsako Central as the result from that area will have no effect on the overall results in terms of the governorship primary on the 22nd of February 2024.”

According to him, “In PDP, life comes first and the lives of the electoral officers are important.  So, canceling the result was the best decision the committee took in this regard. People can’t be in the kidnappers’ den while the election takes place.

“We expect that Etsako Central is supposed to give 31 delegates and overall, we are expecting 594 delegates to vote in the governorship primary later in February.  If you take that ratio 31 to 594, perhaps the decision to cancel is the best taken by the Committee.

“The governor has spoken with the Police and Inspector General of Police to ensure that these people regain their freedom and expect that they will not be harmed. The security situation in Edo State has improved tremendously and incidents of kidnapping have also reduced. This is a one-off act which is very sad; I trust the security agencies will get to the bottom of this.”

Noting that the outcome of the delegate election was peaceful, fair, and credible, the PDP chairman further noted, “The electoral officers appointed by the electoral committee were all in their centers on time, making sure logistics were made available to ensure a smooth process. The process of the election was very credible and transparent.

“The outcome of the Congress has shown that PDP in Edo State is the best organized in the Country. This is so because the leader of the party and governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki is driving the party to achieve this.

“On behalf of the PDP family in Edo State, I congratulate the leader of the party in the State who has pushed us that much to be able to achieve such a credible, fair, and peaceful congress in the history of PDP in Nigeria.”

He added, “In line with the timetable released by INEC and the PDP National Headquarters, on the 4th of February 2024, the National Working Committee organized the election of three ad-hoc delegates in Edo State.

“I have never seen a well-organized and transparent election in the history of PDP and the Congress is the best organized since 1999 in Nigeria. We took it upon ourselves as a party to print the party’s register in the 192 wards collation centers in the State.

“The party’s card and voters card were used as means of identification. The electoral officers used these two important documents to clear members in the party’s register to enable them to vote.”

On aggrieved members, Aziegbemi noted: “They have a right to their views but I disagree with their position as the Congress was very peaceful, credible, and fair. I urge them to approach the appeal panel which was set up to address the grievance of aspirants and headed by Sen. Seriki Dickson former Governor of Bayelsa State.”

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