The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State on Friday accused a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Dr. Mustapha Leeky of acting the script of the former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, the Edo State chapter of the APC, and its candidate in the September 19, 2020 governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, towards subverting the will of the Edo electorate..
State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, alleged at a press conference in Benin that Leeky, was working with Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, to disrupt the process for the engagement of the various Ad-hoc staff to be used by INEC in the polls.
Nehikhare said “The time-honoured tradition which mandates that all political parties involved in the electioneering process submit names of persons to be used as Ad-hoc staff is being abused by Dr. Leeky and his collaborators in the APC. Dr. Leeky, it has been gathered, has skewed the process to ensure it favours one party, whereby the final list released for training of the ad hoc staff has a ratio of 10:1, between the APC and all other parties”.
He further alleged that the Polling Officers (PO), who were supposed to be serving National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members had been changed and that Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu were nominating people, most of whom were not youth corps members, to fill these positions to actualize their plans to rig the election. The ruling party in the state also accused Leeky of engaging Supervisory Polling Officers who would serve the interest of the APC.
According to Leeky, “For the Collation Officers (CO), Dr. Leeky has been influencing the engagement of persons, with personal ties with Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, to rig the election in favour of the APC during the polls and undermine the electoral process. Dr. Leeky, we have gathered, is working within the INEC to get its officials to cheat the system. It is unfortunate that the APC has lost the hope of getting elected through the ballot and are working with Dr. Leeky and others in the INEC to subvert the will of the people.
“While we have confidence in the INEC as an institution, we are calling on them to rein in Dr. Leeky and his likes, in order to have an election that would uphold the will of the people and one that they can be proud of. We hereby call on the INEC leadership to review the process of selecting these officials and request that Dr. Leeky excuse himself from the process as his activities have been revealed to be threatening the integrity of the process, which will taint the outcome of the election”.
However, Lecky, in his terse reaction, debunked the allegation, described it as false. “It is false and not true; I am not party to that. It must be in the dream of whosoever imagined it”, he said.
But reacting on behalf of the APC, the state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Azebamwan, described the allegation as “frivolous”. “This is a phantom and imaginary transaction. I can tell you authoritatively that the APC has not and cannot delve into the affairs of a statutory body recognised by the electoral law to conduct elections in this country. This is another ploy by the PDP and Governor Obaseki to distract Nigerians and Edo people from the matter at hand. Obaseki is the outgoing governor; he should be preparing his handover notes instead of misleading the people because he is aware of his obvious imminent defeat. So, there is no truth in this frivolous allegation”.
The immediate past governor of the state also pooh-poohed the allegation. Victor Oshioke, his media aide, said “Oshiomhole is busy selling the SIMPLE Agenda manifesto to the Edo people and has no time to spend reacting to irresponsible, frivolous, baseless, daily allegations coming from the PDP”. Oshioke said “It is now obvious to any objective observer that PDP has nothing to tell Edo people about Godwin Obaseki’s wasted four years as governor. This is why they have relocated their campaign to the PDP secretariat where their Publicity Secretary reels out daily press statements of unimaginable scenarios about the coming election.
“PDP is known for rigging so they know all the ways they rig previous elections. The only way Comrade Adams Oshiomhole knows to win election is through campaigns based on what the candidate will do if he is elected. This is exactly what APC is doing right now across the state. As we speak, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Mallam Gani Audu, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all APC stakeholders in the state are in Edo Central campaigning. Does that look like people planning to rig elections to you? The election of 19th September, 2020 will be decided by Edo people with their votes, not by press releases on baseless allegations”.