- Category: April 2011 Polls
- Published on Sunday, 10 April 2011 11:10
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 1694
While final results had not been declared at press time, indications pointed to a total loss for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Party agents, journalists as well as Policemen and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ran for dear life as the suspected political thugs took over the premises. The fate of sensitive election materials was unknown at press time.
Meanwhile, soaking in praises over the largely successful conduct of yesterday’s elections, Professor Attahiru Jega has declared his absolute non-partisanship in the exercise over which he presides.
Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also denied insinuations that he is supporting any particular political party.
He boasted that he had shamed his critics with the smooth conduct of the National Assembly election, saying he was ready to defend all his actions in the build-up to the exercise.
The INEC chairman made the statements yesterday at the Commission’s headquarters while briefing the press.
He, however, admitted that the commission had problems with organising the elections with the late arrival of voting materials in some states.
He disclosed that INEC had taken note of its mistakes and pledged to rectify them in the future elections.
Commenting on the insinuations of partisanship, he said: “I feel insulted when people say that I am partisan or that we are supporting a particular candidate. It is an insult. It defies logic to say that at my stage in life I would be said to be partisan. We have accepted to do this job and we would do it no matter the amount of blackmail.
“What happened with the printing of the presidential ballot papers was that we awarded the contract to an American company and when you are preparing for an election, as you are printing the ballot papers for the main election, you would also be printing the one for the re-run elections so that you are not caught napping. The company that got the contracts for the printing, we gave it the security features that we wanted on the presidential ballot papers. Initially, they said they would print the ballot papers for the re-run election first before the papers for the main election.
“They recommended a company in South Africa that would do it. So, that was what happened. I can defend all the actions we have taken. People insinuate that we are divided, but that is far from the truth. We remain focused.”
On the number of people arrested during the yesterday’s National Assembly election, he said: “About seven people were arrested in Nasarawa apart from the one in Bayelsa State. In Zaria, some people were caught with ballot boxes. They went into a house and there was a mob action. They were saved by the military men.”
Meanwhile, there have been condemnation of the bombing in the INEC office in Suleja on Friday.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, , who spoke with reporters after voting at Ward 11, African Church Grammar School, Ita-Iyalode, Abeokuta, said the bombing was a grievous dimension to the nation’s democracy, urging security agencies to unravel those behind the dastardly act.
His words: “You can’t say everything is a laughing matter the way I said I dey laugh o. But it is a serious matter now. This one is serious in the sense that we must learn from the mistakes of the past. It is not something that should be trivialized. It is also serious in that the bombing in Suleja is a phenomenon that should be condemned in a democratic culture.
“I took part in first election in Nigeria in 1959 and from 1959 to 2007, I have not heard of situation where people take a bomb to INEC or FEDECO office. In 2007, they tried to drive a petrol tanker into INEC building in Abuja but God saved the situation. This time, we should appeal to all Nigerians not to be involved in an election that takes lives of the people we want to govern or legislate over.”
The Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, speaking with reporters after casting his vote at Ward 12, Isote, Sagamu, said the Suleja bomb blast was most unfortunate and condemnable.
He commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives, saying they paid the supreme price for democracy.
He said, “We must salute the resilience of Nigerians for their patience and interest in the democratic process. From what we have seen today there appears to be a marked improvement over what happened last week, we pray that this will be conclusive. The postponement in some parts of the country including that of five federal constituencies in Ogun State is unfortunate; we are hopeful however that the whole process would be successfully concluded so that we can further deepen democracy in the country.”