…as INEC admits responsibility
By Simeon OSAJIE
The office of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) at Ramat Park, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, Edo State capital was for several hours yesterday, 18th April, 2023 blocked by Labour Party (LP) protesters from Orhionmwon and Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency over what they termed manipulation of results against their House of Representatives Candidates, Murphy Imasuen on the just concluded Supplementary Election.
The Labour Party supporters chanting solidarity songs while displaying placards with inscriptions: “Prof. Mamuad & President Buhari Should Sack Edo REC Now”, “Our Candidate Murphy Imasuen Is The Winner We Know”, “INEC-Edo REC (Mer. Effang Obo) Is A Thief”, “Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Calls For Their Vote To Be Reviewed”, “INEC Give Us Our Stolen Mandate”, “APC Is The Loser Not Labaour Party”, to express their displeasure over the result announced by INEC in favour of the APC candidate.
Spokespersons for the Labour Party protesters, Comrade Curtis Ugbo and Blessing Agho said the House of Representatives rerun election was won by the Labour Party candidate Murphy Imasuen but was allegedly manipulated for the APC candidate.
They 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.
Comrade Curtis Ugbo who submitted the petitions to the INEC Chairman through the Edo State INEC, Head of Department, Voters Education/Publicity, Mr. Timidi Wariowe 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.
Responding to the protesters complaints, 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.”
Recall the Orhionmwon and Uhunmwonde federal constituency was one of the areas that INEC held Supplementary Elections on the 15th of April, 2023.