THE Edo State government on Saturday held its local government council elections which were reported peaceful in most parts of the state but with complaints of incomplete election materials.
In parts of Edo North like the Akoko-Edo local government area, election materials arrived early in most polling units and voting started in some areas as early as 8 a.m. and the exercise went smoothly without hitches.
But the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) criticised the exercise and the LP even protested at the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) where they complained about undersupply of electoral materials and the LP chairmanship candidate of Oredo local government, Daniel-Ero Onaghise called for the cancellation of the exercise.
Governor Godwin Obaseki who voted in his polling unit at Emokpae Primary School praised the exercise and said he believed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would carry the day because “PDP fully mobilized in most of the state.”
Speaking shortly after he voted, Obaseki said “The turnout was very impressive in spite of the rain. There was quite a considerable turnout and it showed interest in the local government election. This means that the political parties did well by going around sensitizing and mobilizing the electorates and the people.
“The process has been smooth and peaceful as a lot of people are still hanging around to see the end and conclusion of voting. I am very impressed by what has happened as the organisation by EDSIEC has gone fairly well. You have so many people still here at almost the closing of the poll, which shows that we have a fairly decent turnout.
“I have been getting updates from across the State and this seems to be the trend all over. I have not received any report of violence yet and pray everything goes smoothly.”
On complaints that materials did not arrive on time in some areas, he said “I believe that voting time will be extended and allow more people to vote, I am sure that EDSIEC will extend the time for voting I’m sure voting time will be extended instead of allowing voting to end at 2.30 pm. I’m sure they will extend and allow citizens and voters to exercise their franchise.”
On expected outcome, he said “I think EDSIEC has done well, I will expect that popular candidates will win but don’t forget that the PDP went full out to campaign for this election, I don’t know how much the other parties mobilized but I know that PDP fully mobilized in most of the state.
“I expect that you will find some opposition here and there but I know Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) went all out to mobilise for this election and I don’t know of other political parties,” he noted.
LP Chairmanship candidate
Speaking while LP supporters protested, Onaghise said I want to express my displeasure on this exercise. We had a series of stakeholders’ meetings, at a point, they said BIVAs and card readers would be used but towards the election, they jettisoned that, they said there would be restrictions on movements but two days before the election the governor announced that there will not be restriction of movement so at that point, we started suspecting but EDSIEC assured that everything will be fine. Today, it took more than six hours for materials to arrive, EDSIEC staff were not seen. I am the LP candidate for Oredo but as I speak to you, I can’t vote because there are no materials people have been waiting for since 7 o’clock. I discredit the process and I call for the cancellation of the exercise, it is so painful that I have not been able to vote for myself.”
APC State Chairman
Speaking on the phone from Ekpoma, the state chairman of the APC, Col (Dr) David Imuse (rtd) said “This election is a scam, it is a charade, they brought insufficient ballot papers but no single result sheets how can you conduct an election when there is no result sheet? It is happening right in the entire Edo Central senatorial district I am calling from Ekpoma, the same thing is happening in Esan North East, Esan West everywhere here, no result sheets and I don’t see how an election can take place without result sheets.”