News Politics

Voter apathy, late commencement of vote mars Delta council polls

…As police foils attempt to raze Ughelli DESIEC office

…Election was peaceful, Oborevwori, Augoye, Oboro, others

…It was a sham, APC chieftain Jaro Egbo

 

By Shedrack Onitsha, Akowel Wealth, Ovasa Ogaga & Akpos Oghenetega,

Low turnout of voters, late arrival of materials, and commencement of voting reportedly marred the local government elections held across the 25 local government areas of Delta State.

Advocate.ng correspondents report, that electoral material was distributed late and voting did not commence on time in most of the local government area, while in Ughelli North local government area there was reported protest by APC leaders alleging that materials were not distributed at all.

There was also a reported case of an attempt to raze down the Ughelli office of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC by suspected hoodlums on the eve of the local government election.

It was gathered that some angry mobs allegedly stormed the DSIEC office at Ughelli, but the timely intervention of the policeman, a situation Advocate.ng gathered lead to the movement of the material to a different location.

The incident which occurred at 08:20 pm on Friday reportedly caused panic in the area as there were gunshots throughout the night to keep the hoodlums in check.

Residents of the area who spoke Advocate.ng but pleaded for anonymity said: “The hoodlums wanted to raze down the DSIEC office, but for the timely intervention of security personnel on guard, peace was restored.

“The salvo lasted till about 01:45 am in the early hours of the morning.

It was gathered that on the eve of the local government elections, security agents drafted from the state command foiled and dispatched the hoodlums.

READ ALSO:Delta LG Polls: Tension in Ughelli as attempts to raze DESIEC office foiled

According to a security source, “actually there were some persons lurking around the DESIEC office last night and today but the security agents are on the ground to quell any attempt.

The source lamented that tension is currently high here because as of 9.40 am election materials were yet to arrive at Ughelli DESIEC office.

However, it was gathered that material was allegedly distributed at the Ughelli Township Stadium, a move some opposition leaders condemned, attributing to a ground plan to rig the election.

As of 9:30 am today, reports across the state show that voting has not commenced in most local governments.

Our reporters, however, reported that voting material was distributed at about 8:30 am at Ukuwani LG area and voting is commenced immediately.

There was also a reported case of voter’s apathy and a late start in Sapele, Ughelli South, Udu, Oshimili North, and South and other parts of the state.

Some skirmishes were reported at some voting centers in Oshimili South and Oshimili North local government areas of Delta State over the late arrival of materials for local council polls.

Officials of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) were also not sighted at the voting centers so far monitored.

As at 9 am when our correspondent visited Uzoigwe Primary School in Asaba, materials were yet to arrive though a handful of voters were on the ground with an overwhelming presence of security agents.

At Illah and Okpanam in Oshimili North, materials and DSIEC officials were still as of 10 am.

As a result, the youths at ward 04 with 09 units, became restive, until the officials arrived at about 10.20 am to begin distribution of materials to the various units.

A political leader in Illah, Ifeajika Olisa however said the community was peaceful, expressing hope that the polls would be peaceful.

Olisa noted that the late arrival of DSIEC officials and materials was not the making of the community, adding that the commission may have run into some hitches in terms of logistics.

“You can see the turnout, we are politically conscious in this community. Now that materials have arrived, more people would come out to exercise their civic responsibility,” he stated.

Meanwhile, voting materials are yet to arrive as at 11 pm at the DSEIC office in Sapele, when our correspondent visited. However, chieftains of the PDP and APC were seen milling around the Secretariat.

An APC Chieftain who craved anonymity said it was obvious the ruling party PDP is up to some games but we will see”

Some of the units were without voters with the security men and polling agents seen idling away.

It was also observed was no enforcement on the restriction on movement vehicles as was announced by the Delta State Commissioner of Police, as people were seen going about their normal business and vehicles moving without restriction.

Our election monitoring team this morning also observed that the Agbarah-Otor market was filled to the brim covering the road.

The speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori has described the local government elections as peaceful as he commended Deltans for coming out to cast their votes willfully.

Speaking at Osubi in Okpe local government area, Oborevwori said, “First of all, we give thanks to God for the peaceful election that is going on and when you have a sellable candidate that is being accepted by the people, things will always go well.

“Our chairmanship candidate of the PDP is accepted across party line, hence the large turnout of the people and from the feelers, I am getting, the people are happy to vote for our candidate, we are coasting to victory”.

This is a local government election and it is a grassroot thing so I am glad people are going to their wards and units to decide who they want”.

Also, the Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye commended DSIEC for putting materials together. The exercise, for now, has been very peaceful and turnout is very impressive, we started very early in ward 10 and this is unit 8 where I voted.

ALSO READ:Delta LG Election: Tension is building in some voting centers in Oshimili LGAs

 

“I want to appeal to the Okpe people to be patient and see to the end of the election. Those who are contesting are all Okpe sons and there is the need for us to understand ourselves.

Meanwhile, speaking on the outcome of the election, the Chairmanship candidate of the PDP in Ughelli South Local Government Council, Dr. Richard Kofi described the election as generally peaceful, free, and fair.

According to him, “PDP will carry the day because the APC is not on ground, they didn’t even campaign and worse still they have nothing to campaign with, because APC-led federal government has only inflicted pains in the past 6 years unlike PDP government in Delta which has brought much development to our people, so, we are sure of a resounding victory.”

On his part, the Chairmanship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Okpe local government area, Mr. Isaiah Onoriode Esiovwa also described the exercise as peaceful.

According to him, “As you can see accreditation and voting are going peacefully and I believe that at the end of the poll, I will come out victorious.”

Speaking also, the former member representing Sapele/Okpe and Uvwie constituency at the House of Representatives, Evelyn Oboro commended the orderly conduct of the election saying: “The truth is that, PDP has done well in Uvwie and the people Know, from what I see, PDP is sure of victory because a few days ago, the strong members of APC joined PDP.”

The member representing Uvwie constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Solomon Ighrakpata commended the electorates for coming out massively to vote for the polls.

According to him,”PDP has done very well in Uvwie, PDP is sure of victory, I advise the people to support the government of the day and especially the government led by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.”

Chairman of the PDP in Isoko South, Chief Godspower Obaro, Chieftains of the party in the council area Chief Ferguson Onwo, Chief Johnson Erijo, Sir Itiako Ikpokpo expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the election.

Chairmanship candidate of the APC, in Isoko South Local Government, Mrs. Hoplyn Ayu, has raised an alarm over what she described as the poor conduct of the election.

She alleged that the electoral materials distributed by DSIEC to most of the wards in the council area were incomplete. “I don’t know how the people are going to vote without materials. We cannot reach the Electoral Officer. At first, his phones were ringing and later, it was switched off.

Speaking in the same vein, Olorogun Jaro Egbo described the election as a charm, stressing the need for a constitutional amendment to allow the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC conduct local government election.

Chairman of the APC in the local government area, Mr. John Urete, alleged that there were no voting materials in some of the wards, adding that the voter register in some of the wards is fake.

At Aviara where he cast his vote, Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Isoko South, Mr. Victor Asasa, described the exercise as peaceful.

 

 

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