12th April, 2011
Kwara State on Monday erupted in spontaneous protest as thousands of ACN supporters stormed the streets of Ilorin to voice their rejection of the results of Saturdayâ€™s National Assembly election which was declared in favour of the ruling PDP.
They alleged that the PDP had connived with some INEC presiding officers to alter the outcome of the ballot, especially when the ACN candidates were leading their counterparts well into the night until the PDP came from behind to emerge victorious.
The party is due to address a press briefing on Tuesday on the outcome of the election, especially the violent intimidation of the voters in Asa, Ifelodun and other areas where ACN agents were arrested and detained until the end of the election.
ACN Governorship Candidate, Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN), led the mass protest, flanked by the Kwara ACN Caretaker Committee Chairman, Kayode Olawepo; Senatorial Candidate (Kwara Central), Ibrahim Oloriegbe; Senatorial Candidate (South), Anu Ibiwoye; Senatorial Candidate (North), Musa Audu; and other party top shots.
What later turned out to be a huge protest, which caused hour-long traffic jam along the Gari Alimi Road, began at the party secretariat on Asa Dam Road, where all the ward chairmen and agents had converged to deliberate on the outcome of the election which some observers and international media initially said was in favour of ACN candidates in Central and South Senatorial Districts.
â€œWe thank the good people of Kwara for coming out en masse last Saturday. We know they voted for us massively, but their mandate was stolen. Please donâ€™t despair because we will restore this mandate through legal means. But let it be clear to these riggers that it can no longer be business as usual.
“We will no longer allow anybody to impose himself or herself on our people. The people of Kwara want a change and this was what they demonstrated last Saturday when they trooped out in thousands to vote for the ACN. But this mandate was stolen. We will help our candidates to reclaim their stolen mandate, no matter what. We urge our people to be calm and not to resort to violence,â€ Belgore told the protesters.
â€œThis rally is to send a strong message to these election riggers and their collaborators to desist henceforth. We won the election with a landslide but they manipulated the outcome in continuation of the status quo. This will not stand. We will challenge it in court. But let it be clear that we will not watch while they steal the mandate of the people.â€