From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has announced the cancellation of the controversial ward congress of All Progressives Congress, APC, held on Tuesday in the South Senatorial District of the state following “large scale irregularities”.
Addressing journalists in Government House, the governor said a review of the exercise showed that officials appointed to conduct the exercise muddled it up by refusing to show up at congress venues.
He explained that there was no register and result sheets in almost all the venues scheduled for the exercise, while in few area within Benin, many used unfair tactics to scare those who came to cast their votes.
“After listening to reports in Edo South, we discovered what was done is not satisfactory and in line with
democratic practices. Therefore the exercise without accreditation has rendered the exercise a nullity. There is no doubt that those who troop out to vote were members. But one cannot say that those who voted were actually members of the party since there was no accreditation,” he said.
Oshiomhole noted that because of the absence of officials, those who came out to vote resorted to self-help by appointing officials among themselves to conduct the primaries, adding that those officials involved in the shoddy exercise will not participate in the congress rescheduled to hold on Saturday.
“We cannot say we are progressives if we keep on doing the same thing we criticise others of doing. The
cancellation is not about the conduct of those who went there to vote, but the actions of those who were charged with the responsibility to conduct the exercise”, the governor stressed.
Oshiomole appealed to all to accept the verdict, saying “if we don’t practice one man one vote, we
cannot have the courage to preach it. We must lead by example. We have to teach other political parties how to consolidate democracy”.
He warned those in the habit of making trouble to steer clear of the venues for the rescheduled congress, stressing that anyone caught with weapons will be treated like a common criminal.
The Eson of Benin Kingdom, Amos Osunbor, led thousands of the protesters on Wednesday in Benin City, warning that they may seek an alternative party if the exercise was not cancelled.
Osunbor who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved faction, said the call for cancellation became necessary because the conduct of the congress did not follow due process and was characterised by violence and thuggery.
As part of protest, the house of the interim treasurer of the APC in the State, Theophilus Okoh, located at Ibore, Esan Central local government area, was also set ablaze unknown persons.