By Simeon OSAJIE
The Edo State chapter of Labour Party (LP) has criticized the alleged demand by Edo State Independent Electoral Commissioner (EDSIEC) for Ninety Four Million, Three Hundred and Eighty One Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Naira (N94,381,340.00)before it could release the Certified True Copies of results of a local government elections to the party.
A press statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary (SPS) of the party, Comrade Sam Oroupe and made available to newsmen stated that such action is fraudulent and mindless attempt to derail the course of justice and democracy in the state.
According to him, “The demand by the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) of Ninety Four Million, Three Hundred and Eighty One Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Naira (N94,381,340.00) before it could release the Certified True Copies of results of a local government elections to the party in the state was a fraudulent and mindless attempt to derail the course of justice and democracy in the state.
“The Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) that conducted a charade of an election is demanding for N94,381,340.00 to produce the certified true copies CTCs of just one local government.
“After the purported local government election of Saturday 2nd September 2023, where EDSIEC shamelessly announced the already written results of the PDP candidates as winners in Government House, the LP immediately approached EDSIEC on Tuesday 5th September, 2023 with a written letter demanding for the CTCs of the results to study them critically and know the next line of actions to take, but they could not provide them.
“Two weeks after much pressure by our lawyer, the Amin Secretary reluctantly own up that, actually the documents are not yet available, that it only now they are trying to mop them up from the various LGAs.
“The question now was, from where did you people get the results you declared if you are still trying to gather the results 2 weeks after the declaration?
“After much pressure, they finally came up with a publication demanding that Labour Party is to pay N94,381,340.00 to get the CTCs of Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area Elections.
“Making access to justice difficult is denial of justice itself. It is shameful that those who have served in the temple of justice are making the conditions for accessing justice difficult for the common man.”
Going further, he added: “It is, to say the least, disheartening that EDSIEC led by Justice James Oyomire (Rtd) who has served at the temple of justice has made justice inaccessible in the recent LGA elections he purportedly conducted.
“As supposed pillar of democracy, the integrity of electoral processes is crucial for the establishment of accountable and representative governments. However, when an electoral umpire refuses to release certified true copies of local government elections, it not only undermines transparency but also erodes public trust in the democratic process.
“Transparency is the cornerstone of any fair electoral process. By providing certified true copies of election results, an electoral umpire demonstrates its commitment to openness, allowing stakeholders and citizens to verify the accuracy and fairness of the conducted elections. This transparency serves as a deterrent against malpractice, fosters public trust, and ensures accountability.
“Refusal by an electoral umpire to release certified true copies of local government elections as in the case of EDSIEC raises concerns and invites speculation about the legitimacy of the process. Without these important documents, concerned citizens, political parties, and non-governmental organizations are unable to conduct independent forensic audits or verify the accuracy of the reported results. Consequently, doubts grow surrounding the credibility and fairness of the elections.
“The absence of transparency and accountability in electoral processes significantly undermines the confidence citizen place in the democratic process. When an electoral umpire withholds certified true copies, it sends a message that the umpire is either incompetent or seeks to conceal irregularities. Such actions fuel public skepticism, jeopardize citizens’ belief in the sanctity of their vote, and potentially lead to disenchantment or disengagement from the political process.”
As at the time of filing in this report, all attempt by The9JaTREND to get the reaction of EDSIEC Public Relations Officer (PRO), Albert proved abortive as several calls put across to him was unanswered.