…as INEC admits responsibility
By Simeon OSAJIE
The Labour Party (LP) candidate for Orhionmwon/Uhunwonde Federal Constituency in the just concluded Saturday 15th February Supplementary Election, Hon. Elizabeth Ativie led protesters today, Tuesday 18th April, 2023 to Edo State office of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to protest against surcharging of the party’s 2,414 votes during collation thereby depriving them of their victory.
The protesters disrupted vehicular and human movement around INEC vicinity at Ramat Park, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, Edo State capital with different inscriptions: “Labour Party Rejects The False Allocation Votes”, “Edo REC Has Compromised With APC In Matter Of Orhionmwon/Uhunmonde Constituency”, “INEC Correct The Omission Of 2,414 Votes For Labour Party”, “INEC Release Labour Party 2,414 Votes Already Collated By the Commission,” etc.
Hon. Ativie, and supporters were chanting solidarity songs as a way of expressing their displeasure over the tempering of 2,414 votes which was not added to the number of votes pulled by Labour Party in Orhionmwon/Uhundonde
Federal Constituency election.
Spokesperson for the Labour Party protesters, Hon. Elizabeth Ativie said the House of Representatives rerun election was actually won by herself as candidate of the Labour Party but was allegedly manipulated for the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate.
Ativie said the Returning Officer didn’t add up the 2,414 votes of the Labour Party candidates which was earlier omitted even when the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) gave the directive for its addition before the supplementary election.
The Labour Party candidate Elizabeth who submitted the petition to the INEC Chairman through the Edo State INEC, Head of Department, Voters Education/Publicity, Mr. Timidi Wariowe on behalf of the State Chairman of the Party, called for the authentication of the result and complete the collation and declare the Labour Party candidate the original winner of the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal of House of representatives elect.
Addressing the protesters, Edo State INEC Head of Department, Voters Education/Publicity, Mr. Timidi Wariowe said INEC is fully aware of their claim. He added that INEC have received the petition written by Edo State chapter of Labour Party in respect of the omission of 2,414 votes of the party’s figures in Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency.
“We could not do it because it was not out duty to do so, that the 2,414 votes were not added to the votes of the Labour Party.
“The Resident Electoral Commission (REC) cannot enter any figure to the number of votes as only the Returning Officer that can do so,” he said.
He added that, “the Collation Officer was instructed to add the figures before the coalition of the supplementary votes. Unfortunately, the condition overwhelmed him and enters the new figures and announced the results.
“There is a widow of seven days. So, we are going to submit the petition to our headquarters in Abuja as early as possible for INEC to handle the issue. The law is very clear. There is a widow to look into the law, we are going to handle the matter expeditiously, we here in Benin City don’t have the power to do anything,” he concluded.