BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI,ILORIN
Scores of protesters, who are members of All Progressive Congress (APC) stormed the streets of Offa and Ilorin Monday demanding for their mandate allegedly stolen by the PDP.
It would be recalled that KWASIEC declared candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Abdulwaheed Olanipekun as the winner of the office of the chairman with all the councillors in the last Saturday local government election rerun in Offa.
The protestors who poured to the major streets of Offa, headquarters of Offa local government area and Ilorin, the Kwara state capital demanded for the official results of the election.
Speaking with reporters, Comrade Iji said the protestors had come to the KWSIEC headquarters to register their rejection of the results.
According to him, “If you have been following events of Saturday up till yesterday and this morning, you will discover that the local government election that was held in Offa, Offa local government area of the state on Saturday; the results were announced at the polling units; the results were collated in all the twelve wards.
And 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 and we waited there till about 10pm before the materials were moved to the headquarters of KWSIEC here 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 and 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 results.
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 results because he knew that was not the results of the election conducted in Offa on Saturday. So we are here register our protest to tell the whole world that KWSIEC has started on a journey it cannot foretell because our party, All Progressives Congress will not accept it.
“We know that we have won and that is why we are here peacefully to register our protest, unfortunately they have told us that the man is not in the office. He is supposed to be in the office, he is a civil servant, he ought to be here, he is not here. They have not told us of any ceremony that he is engaging in.
“If he is engaging in any ceremony we will move there to register our protest before everybody. As far as we are concerned this result has not been announced. We want him to give us the official results of the election and we should be there when the collation will be concluded that is why we are here.”
The protests in Ilorin were led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains. The APC chieftains at the protests include, former chair, Caretaker Committee of the former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, Comrade Sola Iji, campaign director of the governorship candidate of ACN in 2011, Dr Sa’ad Omoya, Otunba Iyiola Oyedepo, Mohammed Dele Belgore’s running mate, Joshua Adeyinka, Rev Bunmi Olusona among others.
The peaceful rally commenced around 10am at the former Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)’s office, Offa road, Ilorin.
The protestors marched through Offa road via Flower Garden area to late General Abdulkarim Adisa street in GRA and burst out at the popular Fate road before finally berthing at the KWSIEC headquarters in the road.
Heavily armed anti riot policemen with their Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) mounted sentry at the gate to prevent breakdown of law and order.
Inscriptions in some of the placards read: ‘We want out to collect our mandate’; ‘we demand for justice’; ‘Yio le koko lote yi’; ‘Ajidagba is playing with death’; ‘All we are saying, give us our mandate’; ‘Ajidagba, ole, Barawo, thief.’