A new twist has evolved in the ensuing battle among candidates in their bid to secure the peoples mandate in the just concluded National Assembly elections in Delta state following the allegation by the Returning Officer for Ika Federal Constituency, Dr. Godwin Aviero, that he was compelled to declare results at gun point.
He spoke to Blank NEWS Online at the Delta state Police headquarter in Asaba, where he was placed in protective custody.
Dr. Aviero, denied the results where he declared Accord Party candidate, Mr. Victor Nwokolo winner with 17, 235 votes to defeat incumbent member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Doris Uboh of the PDP who scored 15,129 votes while the DPP candidate scored 9,433.
He revealed that he was under pressure to announce the result from Ika Federal Constituency, saying “I announced some results yesterday. Let me tell you the reason, I was under pressure, in fact when I came to this place. You know, if a gun is pointed at you what is important is for you to save your life.
“Well, I would not want to mention any party but what I know is that a list was first given to me by Accord at Agbor and then we got to Asaba and you know that results of the election are to be declared at the point of the election. And it is wrong for me to have declared the results”.
Answering questions on his alleged kidnap attempt, he said, “Let me tell you, there can’t be an attempt. You are thinking it is an attempt but it is beyond that when you have about four men pushing you into a vehicle and sped away and at that time policemen came to stop them”.
On what led to his earlier detention by the police, the embattled returning officer said, “No, not detained as such. When we went back to the polling station at night, some Accord Party members, I think, wanted me to sign a prepared result on a sheet of paper. And I told them that I cannot announce the results based on what you have given to me and if I announce at all I am just doing it because you are putting pressure on me. At that point people came in to help me and the police officers there put me in a place at the police station, not that I was detained as such”.
The Returning Officer had on Sunday night alleged that he was kidnapped and later released by the police, which according to him necessitated the delay in announcing the result on that day.
Meanwhile, protesters loyal to DPP have besieged the Delta state police headquarter and INEC offices in Asaba, demanding that the Delta North Senatorial election be cancelled following the confession by the Returning Officer that he was compelled to announce results under duress.
The State acting Commissioner of Police, Adisa Bolanta had met with candidates of the key political parties in the district and the Administrative Secretary of INEC in a bid to resolve the issues where he advised them to approach the INEC in the state for an amicable resolution to the matter after which the returning officer was placed in protective custody by the police.
As at press time the candidates were locked in a very critical meeting with INEC authorities in the state and it is expected that a resolution would be reached to the agreement of all parties concerned.