The Delta State chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC, joined the spate of protests that has greeted the results of the March 28, Presidential and National Assembly polls across the country, when members of the party stormed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC office in Asaba to register its displeasure over what it referred to as a deliberate attempt by the PDP, to manipulate the results already collated from the various polling centres across the state.
Led by its Governorship candidate and business mogul, Ortega Emerhor, the APC members, brandishing posters with messages like “PDP, stop the falsification of results” and “INEC release our original results” amongst others, said that the results being collated by the electoral body in Delta state was unduly being and that INEC should ensure that the results were not tampered with.
The group was initially barred from entering the premises and proceeding to the INEC office, but on explaining their mission to the office, the police law enforcement officers, who displayed great maturity and understanding, then allowed the core leaders of APC, lead by its governorship candidate O’tega Emerhor, Deputy Governorship Candidate, Thomas Abanum, State chairman APC, Jones Erue and the Director General, O’tega campaign committee, Bejamin Ogbalor, amongst others to proceed to the main building.
The group, which was received at the INEC main gate by the administrative Secretary of INEC, Delta State, Barr. TON Ongele, queried why it was taking so long to conclude the collation of the results from Delta State, when results from most states had already been announced and accused Delta INEC of attempting to collude with the PDP in the state to inflate the results in order to beef up the numbers in the collective calculation.
Emerhor claimed that the announcement Delta result was being delayed because the figures were being inflated in some local government areas of the state in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said, “There are two sets of results in some local government areas. Isoko South, Isoko North, Warri South-West, Ughelli North and Ethiope West have two sets of results. Our agent inside called us to tell us that the result that is being collated here is different from the results that were originally distributed to us and he was being overwhelmed and intimidated for protesting too vehemently. We don’t even accept the first set of results, which were even inflated in the first place. What we are talking about now is second degree inflation and we reject the results and call for the cancellation of the elections,” he said.
“This is not an allegation, our agent told us that he had reported to the state collation officer and he told him to fill an incident form. That means they want to take the inflated result to Abuja and we are saying we will not accept it.”
Adding his own voice to the complaints, the Benjamin Ogbalor, the director general of the APC governorship campaign organization, and O’tegaEmerhor, said that, “On the election day, PDP rigged massively and they got bogus figures. Being a peace loving party, we did not do anything. We did not go into any form of violence. But we kept our result sheets from the various local governments right from the presidential and National Assembly results.
“The presidential and National Assembly elections have the same accreditation, so the upper limit for accreditation for Delta State is already established by the cumulative results from the local governments and also the cumulative results from the National Assembly. So we were surprised to discover that the PDP has rewritten all the results since it dawned on them that our presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, is leading,” the APC official said.
He alleged that the polling figures from Delta have been inflated and falsified to make up some of the deficits that have been recorded nationally,” describing the manipulation as “unfair and criminal, even as he regretted that the returning officer “is a professor who is condoning this kind of criminality.”
In his response, the Delta INEC administrative Secretary, Barr. TON Ongele, who went back and forth twice, from the protesters to the INEC Delta leadership told the
APC protesters that he would pass their complaints to the REC, Mr. Aniedi Ikiowak, even as he assured them that there was only one set of results before the collation officer, Prof. Aluko and that is the result that would be submitted to the National INEC in Abuja.
The protesters then proceeded on a demonstration march along Okpanam road, singing victory songs and wielding brooms and completely took over a section of the road for several hours as motorists were carefully diverted to the second lane and traffic moved slowly for a while, before the crowd dispersed.
The final vote tally of the Delta state as announced by INEC was; APC: 48, 910, PDP: 1, 211, 405.