Delta LG Election: PDP, APC In War Of Words

Asaba Delta State Local Government Election was yesterday enmeshed in crisis following the death of an ad hoc staff of Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) and violence unleashed on voters by thugs alleged to be members of the opposition party.

Also, the election witnessed a delay in the distribution of election materials and subsequent disappearance in some areas.

The situation led to hot exchanges of words between the leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) over the alleged malpractices perpetrated during the election

Although, the election witnessed massive turnout in Okpanam, Akumazi, Igbodo and Kwale axis of Delta North Senatorial District;

but at Ozoigwe Primary School, Asaba, Oshimili South Local Government Area, and Akwukwu-Igbo, Oshimili North LGA, prospective voters waited for hours for materials to arrive, while in Ibusa, Oshimilli North LGA, voters were locked out as at 10:30 am.

The situation was the same at Obiaruku, Ukuwani LGA as materials were yet to be distributed to polling units as at 11 am.

The election, took a worrisome dimension as an ad hoc staff of the State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC was reportedly killed at Onitsha-Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state.

Sunday INDEPENDENT gathered that the deceased in his 30s was reportedly killed by suspected political thugs.

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Mr. Andrew Aniamaka said, “The yet unidentified man was not killed but slumped and died.�

He added that autopsy would be carried out to ascertain the cause of death.

Pandemonium broke out in Ughelli North where some armed men yesterday morning invaded DSIEC office and set it ablaze after serious sporadic shooting to scare away people.

The youths invaded the office in protest of the non-inclusion of result sheets in the voting materials. The police had earlier shot into the air to disperse the crowd.

Governor Okowa who spoke yesterday at Ward 3, Owa-Alero, Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State shortly after casting his votes at Polling Unit 3, asserted, “I am satisfied with the process.�

Trouble started when the party members most of whom were from the opposition, insisted that they must verify the authenticity of all the voting materials before they were taken away to the respective units.

A youth leader from Agbarha-Otor community, Enis Ogegere who was also at the scene of the incident, said: “Upon inspection of the materials, we noticed that there were only ballot papers and thumb printing materials excluding result sheets, this was what led to the fracas.�

On the situation report generally across the state, Governor Okowa disclosed that at Ndokwa East LGA, soldiers stopped electoral officers from moving materials, a situation which he said, was addressed, adding that at Ughelli North, suspected members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were said to have razed DSIEC office.

“It is unfortunate 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.�

He stated that DSIEC, 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 electoral process adopted by DSIEC, which entails simultaneous accreditation and voting process reduced the crowding of polling boots,� the governor said.

A leader of APC, Chief Hycinth Enuha, accused DSIEC of non-provision of candidates’ booklets, maintaining, “At Nsukwa, the Returning Officer and other Polling Agents absconded.�

At about 11.45 am, voters were seen exercise their rights at Ward 9, Akumazi. Some of the voters said materials arrived early and there was no crisis as the election was peaceful while two suspected members of the opposition were arrested with guns at Igbodo, Ika North-East LGA of the state.

The lawmaker, representing Ika Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, who voted at Ward 8 – Unit 8 said the two thugs that were arrested at Ilabor Primary School in Igbodo, by Anti-Cult Squad of the council area, attempted to hijack the process with guns.

At Ward 7, Emevor, Isoko North LGA, Dr Nelson Ejakpovi said at about 12 pm that, “I just voted, the people came out enmasse to vote, voting is in progress and it is very peaceful.�

The State Commissioner for Lands in the state, Chief Chika Ossai, however, disclosed that due to the terrain, which requires material passing through different LGAs from Aboh to Iselegu, voting materials arrived at about 11pm, 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.

The Commissioner for Information, Hon. Patrick Ukah who voted at Ward 12, Unit 3, Okpanam said, voting materials were delayed as DSIEC officials waited for security agencies to deploy officers to escort voting them to different areas.

PDP Chairmanship candidate for Warri South LGA, 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 by the DSIEC.

But Dr Cairo Ojuigboh, an APC chieftain has described the election as a fraud perpetrated by the state government. He said the State Assembly should

Meanwhile, DSIEC has announced the returned unopposed of 57 councilors of the PDP. Chairman of DSIEC, Chief Mike Ogbodu, in a press statement, said the 57 PDP councilors are being returned unopposed as no other candidates are in contention with them.

Ogbodu listed Ward 4 in Isoko South; Wards 5, 9, 10, 16, 18 in Uvwie; Wards 1, 3, 6, 11, 18 in Warri North and Wards 2, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 in Warri South as among those whose councilors are returned unopposed.

Isoko Youth Apex body, Isoko National Youth Assembly (INYA) has cautioned the troublemakers to maintain the sanity of a true democratic process.

President, INYA, Comrade Umuakpo Ovie and the Director of Media and Strategy, Comrade Eniwake Orogun expressed the body’s commitment to the sustainability of peace in Isoko Nation and Delta State at large. INYA called on all political actors to refrain from thuggery, ballot snatching and other vices that are inimical to credible polls.

“We must insist on a free and fair process devoid of violence. Let us resist being used as pawns for selfish purposes by individuals or groups who have the least concern for us as a people. They do not mean well for us and if we are pushed, we must insist on their children or wards taking the lead.

“We call on the political class whose modus vivendi is to precipitate violence and extract the gains therefore, to desist from inducing our youths for electioneering criminality and violence as we shall not fail to report any form of it to relevant authorities for arrest and possible prosecution.�

Meanwhile, numerous holidaymakers were stranded in Onitsha, Anambra State yesterday, as the River Niger Bridge was closed to all road users due to local government elections in Delta State.

According to the travellers, police officers, members of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and authorities from the state government, announced to them that gate to the bridge would remain locked till 3pm yesterday because of the election in the state, reports, The Cable.

The travellers, going back to their various bases, mostly in the Southwest, said they were stuck in the resulting gridlock for over four hours with no respite in sight.

“We have been here since 6 am,� one of the stranded commuters who identified himself as Emeka said.

But Bisi Kazeem, spokesman of the FRSC, justified the closure.

“It is because of the local government elections in 25 local governments that the bridge was shut down,� he said.

“But now (1 pm), I can authoritatively tell you that it is opened because of the cars on the bridge.�

Kazeem said there was a press release by the FRSC to announce the decision to shut the bridge. The press release, he said, was sent on Friday, January 5, but did not gain traction in the media with rarely any broadcast, print or online media bearing the news.

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Delta LG Election: PDP, APC In War Of Words Delta LG Election: PDP, APC In War Of Words Reviewed by Unknown on January 07, 2018 Rating: 5

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