The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) govern-orship candidate in the September 10 election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has asked foreign missions and agencies in Nigeria to send observers and monitors to ensure that plans by any party to rig the elections are nipped in the bud.
Ize-Iyamu said that the presence of such agencies would also put the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under intense pressure to ensure that they conduct free, fair and credible elections.
He said in Benin that although 19 governorship candidates have been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the elections, “it is no secret that the two main contending parties in this election are the All Progressives Congress, APC, (the party of the outgoing governor and of the Federal Government of Nigeria) and our party, the PDP, which is the immediate past ruling party in Edo State.”
Ize-Iyamu stated that “the PDP is interested in a free and fair election where the votes of the people of Edo State will count and the party is ready to ensure that its main opponent, the APC, does not manipulate the polls and results.
“All we request is a level play field, which the incumbent has so far failed to provide. You must be aware of the obstacles they have put in our way to prevent us from campaigning effectively as well as their denial of our use of public facilities like venues, radio and television to reach the people. Even our billboards and posters are vandalized.”
He therefore called on foreign embassies and High Commissions of countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia, China, France, Germany, The Vatican, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Union, as well as agencies such as International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, USAID, DFID and Ford Foundation to ensure they register their teams with INEC as independent election monitors and observers.
He expressed hope that with their presence, the voters will not be disenfranchised and the process will not be manipulated.
According to him, “the PDP in Edo State places a high value on election observation across the State and would therefore welcome the presence of observers and monitoring teams to observe the forthcoming elections to forestall any attempt by any party to truncate the democratic process.”
He also requested the embassies to appeal to the President Muhammadu Buhari not to militarize Edo State during this period so as to avoid chaos.
“We believe your appeal to the Federal Government, INEC, the Judiciary, Army, Police and other security agencies will go a long way in ensuring that there is free, fair and credible election and that there will be peace in Edo State before, during and after the governorship election on September 10,” Ize-Iyamu said.
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