Etsako East Local Government secretariat in Agenegbode witnessed chaos on Monday evening as protesters, suspected to be thugs, vehemently blocked the newly inaugurated chairwoman, Ms. Benedicta Attoh, from taking office.
The unruly mob, chanting war songs, barricaded the entrance to the secretariat complex, alleging widespread rigging in the recent council election held last Saturday. They insisted that their candidate had emerged victorious but was unfairly thwarted in favor of Ms. Attoh, who represents the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ms. Attoh found herself stranded outside her office, attempting unsuccessfully to pacify her supporters in a desperate bid to avert a potentially grave crisis.
The infuriated protesters, primarily composed of youths, made a resolute pledge to occupy the secretariat indefinitely, vowing to render it ungovernable until their candidate is rightfully sworn in.
In response to the escalating tensions, concerned members of the community have issued an urgent appeal to Governor Godwin Obaseki to intervene promptly and defuse the volatile situation.
Adding fuel to the fire, David Imuse, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state, issued a stern warning earlier on Monday against the inauguration of any chairmanship and councillorship candidates declared victorious in the contentious local government elections. Imuse denounced the elections, claiming there was no legitimate poll in the state, and emphatically asserted that the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) should not release any results under any pretext.
Imuse’s statement highlighted his belief that the elections had been marred by “fraudulence and deception” orchestrated by the Edo state government, particularly Governor Godwin Obaseki. Imuse went on to criticize the absence of EDSIEC officials at polling units and results collation centers, alleging deliberate interference by the Obaseki administration.
In conclusion, Imuse called for immediate intervention, transparency, and accountability, urging stakeholders, civil society organizations, and the general public to join in demanding justice and fairness for the people of Edo state. This situation underscores the need for a thorough investigation into the conduct of EDSIEC and the state government, he emphasized.