Posted by News Express | 6 January 2018 | 1,701 times
The ongoing local government election in Delta State that initially started peacefully turned violent following a reported attack on the Ughelli office of the State’s Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC). At least three persons have been injured and the office razed.
Eye witnesses said that the building was set on fire by angry youths who are alleging that they have been disenfranchised.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said reports reaching him indicated that the heinous act was perpetrated by suspected members of the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
On the situation report generally across the state, the Governor disclosed that at Ndokwa East local government area, soldiers stopped electoral officers from moving materials, a situation which he said, was addressed.
“It is unfortunate,” he said, “that some persons were not ready for the elections and they resorted to violence, I personally led the campaign of the PDP round the 25 local government areas of the state, even to areas I did not visit when I was campaigning for the governorship position and after that, the campaign from Ward to Ward, house to house continued while other political parties were not involved in any campaign. I can assure you that generally, from information available to me, the state is calm and voting is in progress in the state.”
Okowa, however, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the local government council election.
Governor Okowa, who spoke at Ward 3, Owa-Alero, Ika North-East Local Government Area shortly after casting his vote at Polling Unit 3, asserted: “I am satisfied with the process.”
“DSIEC (Delta State Independent Electoral Commission) has given assurance that the election will be credible, free and fair and so far, you can see that people have come out to cast their votes,” the Governor said, observing that the electoral process adopted by DSIEC which entails simultaneous accreditation and voting process reduced the crowding of polling boots.
According to him, “The voting pattern adopted by DSIEC is such that once you are accredited, you cast your vote and you go for your business unlike in the past when accreditation commences at 8am and end at 12 noon before voting will commence; with this process, accreditation and voting continues from 8 am to 3 pm and you are expected to leave the voting centre immediately after casting your votes.”
Those who spoke at the places visited expressed confidence in the electoral process, saying DSIEC was prepared for the election.
At about 11.45 am, voters were seen exercise their rights at Ward 9, Akumazi, with those who spoke to the press saying, materials arrived early and there was no crisis as the election was peaceful while two suspected members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) were arrested with guns at Igbodo, Ika North-East LGA.
Speaking with journalists, the member representing Ika Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, disclosed that the trouble makers were caught early enough before they perpetuated their acts which was designed to disrupt the election.
He stated that security agencies nipped the situation in the bud by arresting the two APC members, stating that voting took place in a very peaceful atmosphere after the incident.
At Ward 7, Emevor, Isoko North LGA, Dr. (Pharm.) Nelson Ejakpovi, said at about 12 pm that, “I just voted, the people came out emeses to vote, voting is in progress and it is very peaceful,” while Chief Godwill Obielum disclosed that voting started early at Ward 20, Ushie, Ndokwa East LGA.
According to Chief Obielum, “I score DSIEC very high in this election, they were prepared and it gave our people confidence that they could come out in the morning and were able to vote in a peaceful atmosphere without any fear of intimidation.”
The Commissioner for Lands in the state, Chief Chika Ossai, however, disclosed that due to the terrain which requires material passing through different local government areas from Aboh to Iselegu, voting material arrived at about 11 pm, stating that he cast his votes at about 12.30 pm at DSIEC Ward 3, Unit 5, Iselegu.
He stated that the area was peaceful and voting was in progress as at the time of filing this report while the Commissioner for Information in the state, Hon. Patrick Ukah who voted at Ward 12, Unit 3, Okpanam said, voting material was a little delayed as DSIEC officials waited for security agencies to deploy officers to escort voting materials to different areas.
He lauded the electoral process, noting that the concept of voting immediately after accreditation helped in decongesting the polling booths as people left for their different homes after voting.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairmanship candidate for Warri South local government area, Hon. Michael Tidi voted at 10.15 am at Ward 17, Unit 14, Idimi-Jakpa quarters, Okere and expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the election the DSIEC, stating: “This is one of the best organised election by the DSIEC, it is transparent, and people are happy to come out and vote without fear, with confidence that their votes will count.”
The Commandant of the Delta State Nigeria Security and Civil Corps, Ego Sam, who was seen monitoring the exercise, said, all measures were taken in collaboration with other security agencies to ensure a hitch-free election in the state.
She observed that the election was peaceful without security threat.
•Additional reports by Channels Television.
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