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Niger Delta Militants Are Being Sponsored – Ozuemohya

Anthony Ozuemohya
Posted: Oct 8, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Pastor Peters Omoragbon was the candidate of National Conscience Party (NCP) in the September 28 governorship election in Edo State, in a telephone interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH; he spoke on the last governorship election in Edo State and the new electoral reform committee inaugurated recently by President Muhammadu Buhari. Excerpts:

What is your assessment of INEC’s performance in the last governorship election which you were a candidate?

As I said in my last media briefing and interview, I score INEC 96 percent based on their performance in the last governorship election in Edo State. Registered voters did not encounter any difficulty in locating their names at polling units and people were orderly in queuing to vote. Where I voted, there were no skirmishes, everything went on smoothly. For example, the names of registered voters were displayed on the walls adjacent to every polling unit. All you do is identify your name and serial number, join the queue and then once this has been verified by the INEC Polling officers, you are then allowed to do your biometric with the PVC Machine to authenticate you as the real owner of the voter’s card. The only thing I would suggest is that INEC should create more polling units so that it would reduce the period of queuing before people can vote.

How do you describe the aftermath of the election where some members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) went on the street protesting the result of the election?

In Edo State, 19 political parties participated in the governorship election and out of the 19 political parties, only one party called PDP is protesting. What it means is that the action does not represent the majority view of Edo people. The protest is not surprise to many people because it has gradually become our culture in the country. I am sure if it were PDP that won the election, APC would have come out to protest over the result. But protest doesn’t change result of election as we all know in Nigeria.  In any election, they must be winner and losers. It is not possible that all the people that contested an election would be declared winner. While it is their legitimate right to protest, I suggest that if they are sure of what they saying, instead of engaging school children in protests, they should gather their evidences and go to tribunal. After all Adams Oshiomhole who has been the governor of the state in the past eight years went to court to reclaim his mandate in 2008. Tell me one election result in the past that has been produced in this country without anyone coming out to protest and condemned? That spirit is wrong and should be discarded. People must learn to accept defeat in dignity. In every contest, there is bound to be a losers and winner. Every process in life is a phase that will come and go. So, it is for us to imbibe the culture of compromise. It is not about PDP, APC, NCP or any other political party. It is about Edo State and the people’s welfare.  We should all join hands to build upon the progress made so far by past leaders including Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. If the results were so endorsed as a reflection of the true representation of the voting in that LGA why would any party for that matter orchestrate infantile protest, using under aged children to protest that the election was rigged by INEC to favour a political party.

What is your advice for the newly elected governor as he will be inaugurated next month?

I want to use this medium to congratulate Godwin Obaseki on his victory at the just concluded governorship election in the state.  However, I want him to realise that his victory is not only for members of APC.  Let me tell you that between 90 to 95 per cent of those that voted in the last governorship election in the state do not belong to any political party.  I want the governor-elect to be magnanimous in victory and carry everybody along.  We have many indigenes of Edo State who are qualified and prepared to contribute their quota to the development of the state if given opportunity.   I want him to run and open door policy and carry everybody along as he prepares to assume the position of governor of the state. He should not use his position as opportunity to get back at his political enemies or other people in the state.   It is in so doing that the people would work with him in actualising his  programme or agenda for the people of the state. Finally on that matter, as he prepares to hit the ground running, we want to advise that; he should expand the composition of his cabinet beyond his political party. He is now the Governor Elect of Edo State and not that of APC.

Do you believe the recently inaugurated Electoral reform committee would be able address some inherent lapses in the electoral system?

I don t have problem with the setting up of electoral reform committee, but my thinking is that Mr. President would have sent whatever reform he wants to the national assembly instead of setting up a committee. Moreover, he has not told Nigeria what are the problem with the present electoral system. The usual thing would have been for the government to explain to Nigerians what the problem with the present system is that warrants reform.  I also feel that the committee is a distraction because I know we have more pressing issues that requires intervention than the electoral reform. Some of us are also worried on the relationship between Mr. President and the new INEC chairman.  We thought he could have borrowed a leaf from former President Goodluck Jonathan who appointed Professor Attahiru Jega who is not related to him in any way. Even when the former president was under pressure to remove him, he did not do that.  We are also worried over the status of electoral commissioners in various states whose tenure has expired.  We want President Muhammadu Buhari to do something urgent on the matter.