by Adeniyi Abdul
Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has spoken on the reasons behind his strong criticism of the Independent National Electoral Commission at the start of the polls during the recent Edo gubernatorial elections.
It could be recalled that the governor had branded the body “an embarrassment”, and went further to allege a plot to prevent members of the public from voting. Oshimole has now defended his earlier criticism of INEC and elaborated on his reasons for making those statements.
Speaking at a press conference, Governor Oshiomhole maintained that INEC had failed in several regards and could not be excused for certain lapses.
“At the commencement of the poll, I made a statement about my impression with the way the election was going on. I was very hard on INEC because I felt and I remain convinced that INEC cannot be excused for not being able to deliver polling materials at a time provided by themselves, 8 a.m.
“And given the fact that this was just one state election and with all the assurances we were given and knowing fully well that the materials were delivered from CBN to INEC office mid day on Thursday, there is no justifiable reason why INEC failed the people of Edo South to deliver voting materials on time.”
“I believe that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, I believe he demonstrated uncommon quality of leadership, even under tension he maintained his cool.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he conducted himself very responsibly. The challenge however is that in the course of trying to ensure effective supervision of the election, some of the people posted to Edo are people who cannot be considered as fit and proper persons to be entrusted with any sensitive national assignment that requires uprightness and a level of integrity.”
He also sent a message to INEC Chairman Professor Attahiru Jega, saying “I want to appeal to Prof.Jega to save his own name by not deploying corrupt INEC officials to conduct elections no matter where the pressure is coming from.”
According to the governor:
“He must understand that whatever INEC does or fail to do, in the final analysis, the buck stops at his desk. He must bear the full responsibility of the conduct of any INEC official. And I ask him to investigate why within Benin City, what led to the delay such that within Benin City where the materials are, for three hours, materials were not delivered and yet the same materials were delivered in some parts of Edo North and through out Edo Central so that he will give appropriate sanctions to those who tried to disenfranchise people from Edo South. And those local governments are the most populated in Edo.”