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Edo State Government Accuses APC of Disrupting Voter Registration Process

The Edo State government has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of disrupting the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in the state.

Before the registration began, acting state chairman of the APC, Jarret Tenebe, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the exercise due to damage to its state headquarters, materials, and equipment from a recent downpour.

Despite this, INEC, through a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, announced the relocation of the exercise to its secretariat at Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area.

At a press conference on Friday, the APC alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC were colluding to manipulate the CVR in favor of the PDP. This accusation was quickly dismissed by INEC’s Edo chapter Head of Voters Education and Publicity, Timidi Wariowei, who called it unfair.

Following these events, the Edo State government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, condemned the APC’s alleged actions. The government accused the APC of inciting violence and creating a crisis to halt the CVR, stating that after failing to get INEC to cancel the exercise, the party resorted to violence.

The government also condemned a shooting incident at Idia College, which injured an innocent student, criticizing the APC for choosing violence. The statement read:

“The attention of the Edo State government has been drawn to deliberate attempts by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stir violence and cause crisis in the state, in a desperate move to halt the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The state government strongly condemns the recent attack and shooting at Idia College a couple of days ago, which led to the injury of an innocent student. To say the least, this is most troubling, disheartening, and shameful and is never a way to play the opposition role expected of a responsible opposition party. It is utterly appalling that a political party would resort to attacking a CVR centre to obstruct eligible voters from registering to participate in an election that it is contesting. One is left to wonder how the APC plans to get the electorate to vote for its candidate.”

The state government called on security agencies to rein in what it termed as agents of violence. “We say no to such shenanigans and resort to violence by the APC and its agents and call on security agencies to rein in these agents of violence. We thank God there was no loss of life from the reprehensible act and are, therefore, warning the APC to desist from this dishonourable conduct and rather embrace democratic norms. If the APC has a candidate to sell and believes in the viability and credibility of its candidate, the party should get more people to register and should also campaign to convince the people to vote for him, instead of resorting to attacking Edo people and disrupting the peace in the state.”

The government urged the people of the state not to be discouraged by the APC’s actions and to take advantage of the CVR exercise to register for their Permanent Voter Cards and participate in the September 21 gubernatorial election to ensure a free, fair, and violence-free electoral process.

A source close to the APC stated that the party would respond when necessary, noting that the police and the Department of State Services were investigating the matter. “The APC will come out with a reaction to this allegation when it is necessary. Right now, the police and the DSS are already investigating the matter,” the source said.

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