Offa rerun election greeted with protests

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Following the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Abdulwaheed Olanipekun, as the winner of the last Saturday’s Offa Local Government rerun of Kwara state, protesters thronged the streets of Offa, the headquarters of the local government area, and Ilorin, the state capital, demanding the release of the real results of the election

The rally which began at 10am at the former Congress for Progressive Change’s (CPC)’s office on Offa Road, was led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, including former chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, Comrade Sola Iji; the Campaign Director of the ACN governorship candidate in 2011, Dr Sa’ad Omoya; Otunba Iyiola Oyedepo; Mohammed Dele Belgore’s running mate, Joshua Adeyinka and Rev. Bunmi Olusona.

The protesters who were monitored by heavily armed riot policemen, with their Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), marched through the road via Flower Garden to the late General Abdulkarim Adisa Street in the GRA, terminating at the KWSIEC headquarters.

Addressing reporters, Comrade Iji said: “If you have been following events of Saturday till yesterday and this morning, you will discover that the local government election, which was held in Offa, Offa Local Government Area of the state, on Saturday, the results were not announced at the polling units. The results were collated at all the 12 wards. We approached the local government collation centres, where we expected that the results collated at the wards would be collated for final announcement of the winner of the election.

“Unfortunately, the Returning Officer, who is the Local Government Electoral Officer of the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC), just disappeared. He absconded. We waited there till about 10pm before the materials were moved to the headquarters of KWSIEC in Ilorin that night.

“We met with the Chairman of KWSIEC, Dr Uthman Ajidagba; he feigned ignorance. He said he didn’t know where the electoral officer was and some of his junior officers. We met with the chairman and about three or four other officers of the commission. They promised that the result would be announced. They said we should return on Sunday morning by 10am. But surprisingly, by around 5am, we started hearing from Kwara Radio the same KWSIEC chairman announcing the false results.

“It was not in his place to announce any result. The results ought to be announced at the point where the collation ought to have been concluded, which is the local government headquarters of KWSIEC. So, for him to assume illegally the responsibility of the Returning Officer for the election in a local government is not acceptable.

“We have rejected the results because he knew they were not the results of the election conducted in Offa on Saturday. So, we are here to register our protest, to tell the world that KWSIEC has started on a journey it cannot foretell because our party, the APC, will not accept it.”

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