Edo 2020: INEC Must Resist Pressure To Manipulate Poll ― PDP BoT
The success or otherwise of the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State will depend on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has observed, and therefore, admonishing the electoral body not to succumb to any pressure to manipulate the exercise.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, the Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, who made the assertion, however, expressed confidence that the electoral body will do well judging from its performance in the recent Nasarawa state assembly by-election.
Jibrin, who spoke against the backdrop of the recent meeting between the former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari. at the presidential villa, Abuja, where the ex-party boss allegedly made a statement on certain “arrests,” advised INEC to apply the Nasarawa state template to the Edo poll.
Recall that the PDP had alleged that villa meeting was a precursor to the arrest of opposition members and party stakeholders in Edo state.
However, while observing that the fact that somebody had spoken does not mean his request will be granted, Jibrin also noted that the PDP did the right thing by raising the alarm on the possible motive of the meeting.
The PDP BoT boss warned that if there was any plan to use security to unduly influence the election, it should be aborted.
He expressed confidence that given the political realignment that has taken place in the state, the PDP will win the election even as he observed the APC is jittery over its impending defeat at the poll.
He said: “Look at Nasarawa State. INEC must be praised because they did not introduce anything bad in the election. I hope INEC will follow what happened in Nasarawa by-election and do the same thing in Edo state and use the template for 2023.”
The Nasarawa-born politician added: “We have the Chief of Staff, we have Oshiomhole, we also have INEC, which is organizing this election. I am more concerned with INEC. INEC should not fear anybody, please.
“They must do their work as specified in the constitution of Nigeria and in their own guidelines.
“I told you that we have just finished an election in Nasarawa. Look at what INEC has done. Do you have any cause to blame INEC? Don’t Nasarawa state have a governor who is APC? Don’t you have this Chief of Staff?
“It depends on the people. When some people come to talk to you, you are only listening, they don’t know your action.
“So, it’s also good that the PDP raised alarm. I think the PDP did the right thing to raise alarm. If there is any plan, it should stop. And if there is no plan, they should never try it.”
Senator Walid expressed confidence that the PDP will win the Edo gubernatorial election but appealed that the citizens should shun violence and allow for a peaceful, free, fair and transparent exercise.
According to him, “PDP will win Edo state hands down. With the people decamping from APC to PDP, we have no fear at all.
“We are doing our best, the National Campaign Committee and the zonal campaign committee are doing their work and the feedback is fantastic, and APC is becoming jittery. They know that they have lost Edo state already. They know that.
“We are doing possible best, but all I will advise is that they should shun thuggery, fighting, destruction of lives and property as is being done now. If this continues, it will not talk well of the people of Edo.
“Let them be patient, allow for a free and transparent election.”