Chief Great Ogboru, the candidate of Labour Party for the April 11 governorship election in Delta has urged that soldiers should not be deployed for the 2015 general elections, even as he noted that the expected pilot test of the Card readers to be used for the elections has not been carried out satisfactorily.
Ogboru, who spoke with newsmen in Lagos, on Wednesday February 25, 2015, said that deployment of soldiers for elections could take away the civility of the process, noting that the presence of the military may send wrong signals and possibly discourage some eligible voters from turning out at voting centres on election days.
“We shouldn’t deploy soldiers,” the Delta governorship candidate told newsmen, emphatically.
Chief Ogboru also expressed his views on the preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the elections stressing that that INEC should have test-run the card readers to be used for accreditation during the elections, before deploying them in the over 119,000 polling units across the country.
“There should have been a pilot test; we are apprehensive of the outcome of the use of card readers,’’ Ogboru said.
The Delta Labour Party governorship candidate, who had earlier made this demand at an interactive press parley with newsmen at Grand Hotel, Asaba on Sunday, February 8, 2015, had argued that INEC had not displayed genuine preparedness for the elections, as it had not tested the card readers in a pilot programme under election conditions.
Chief Ogboru, popularly called ‘The Peoples General’, had averred at that media briefing that, “If INEC does not do a pre-trial test of the card readers then we are taking a grave risk on election days. The sensible thing to do is to test the machines so that the people are expected to use then on election days will be satisfied that the machines will run smoothly”.
According to him, “For you to use any new technology in the magnitude that it is expected, in this case, the Card Readers, there has to be a test-run of the equipment to check whatever efficiency, effectiveness and poor outage in them. Without this important exercise done, that level of preparedness is doubtful”, he stressed.
“It is an opportunity for INEC to do a test run in at least two local government councils in each state under election condition. That is the only time that we can now put our faith in these machines, if the test run is successful. But if that is not the case, if the test run fails, the question we will ask ourselves is, should we actually use the machines?”, he pondered.
Reacting to the scheduling of the elections Ogboru said that the order of the elections should have been reversed to further reduce tension, even as he added that that though the Presidential election had attracted so much attention that had heated the polity greatly, the elections dates had already been fixed and his position was only a suggestion.
“The tension about the presidential election is so much; I advocate that the governorship election should come first. However, we can only advocate, but not decide,’’ he said.
Responding to inquiries on his decision to contest the Delta governorship election again, Ogboru said that he was making another attempt after previous attempts in 2003, 2007 and 2011, as he believes that he had made a lot of progress over the years and is now better experienced and more prepared for the governorship than ever before.
Chief Ogboru, who affirmed that the Labour Party is fully on ground in the state and will win in a free and fair election in Delta State in 2015, further said that the Labour Party programmes were meant to bring a paradigm shift in the state with a system that would improve the lives of the people.
The candidate said that though he intended to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta, he pledged his support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid.
Ogboru lauded President Jonathan for providing a conducive atmosphere and ensuring that credible elections had been organized in 2011, saying that the president deserved his support.
“The Labour Party in Delta is aligning with Mr. President,’’ he said.