From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Voter apathy, general low turnout and early arrival of electoral materials on Saturday characterised the Governorship and House of Assembly elections across Delta State.
Though largely peaceful, the exercise recorded pockets of violence in some areas.
In Evwreni community, Ughelli North Local Government Area, political thugs disrupted the exercise as they destroyed election materials including BVAS machines during an invasion.
Some persons suspected to be political thugs have invaded Evwreni town in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State to disrupt the ongoing Governorship and House of Assembly elections
Security operatives deployed to the community were said to have to done nothing to repel the rampaging thugs suspected to be loyal to a state official in the area.
The violence came on the heels of the alleged razing of the home of the former chairman of Ethiope West Local Government Area in the state, Dr. Wilson Omene.
The house of Dr. Omene, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Mosogar, was reportedly razed during the early hours of Saturday.
Meanwhile, the outgoing governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa who voted at his unit 17, ward 02 (Eghoma Primary School), Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area at 9.50am, described the exercise as peaceful.
His daughter, Marilyn Daramola, who is the House of Assembly candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Ika North-East constituency also voted at the same centre.
Okowa, vice presidential candidate of the PDP, said everything was working perfectly, but raised alarm that some people were planning to destroy electoral materials in some parts of the state.
He called on security agencies in the state to be on red alert with a view to apprehending those plotting to distort the electoral process.
According to him, there was information that some people were, also, trying to impersonate the military and the police by putting on their uniforms, adding that the security agencies were on the lookout for such persons.
“There was lots of intelligence gathered across the state on people planning to destroy electoral materials and the security agencies have to be on red alert.
“I hope that our people across the state will try to understand. But we have also asked that where people have their voter cards and they are moving, they could try to ease that restriction.
“Also, the security agencies should ensure that vehicles are searched because the restriction is actually for vehicular movement,” he said.
The governor described his own process of accreditation and voting as seamless, saying: “I just cast my vote. Everything is working perfectly here in my unit. The capture was quickly done and the process was seamless.
“But to go beyond this, I have been talking to security agencies across and there are a few issues concerning persons not being able to get to their polling units because of the restrictions.
“We hope that it will lighten up very soon. It is unfortunate and I hope that our people will bear with the security agencies.
“But beyond that, from the reports we are getting thus far, everywhere is very peaceful and we thank our security agencies for this.
The PDP vice presidential candidate admitted that there were challenges during the February 25 national elections, saying that the entire world looked forward to electronic transmission of results.
“Unfortunately, INEC told the world that their server was down that morning and that they could not transmit results, a development that created doubt in the entire process of that election held on February 25th.
“Well, the election is already a subject for the court to decide but I hope that INEC is able to stay credible in this current electoral process so that Nigerians may have confidence in this.
“But for the February 25th election, majority of Nigerians do not have confidence in that because it was an election in which a very important aspect of the Electoral Act was ignored which obviously led to the manipulations we all suspect.
“But we have been promised again that the BVAS will work and that there will be transmission of results in this current election.
“We hope that they do not come back to give us any more reasons why the results are not transmitted from the polling units.
“Of course, you expect that a lot of people who are feeling disenfranchised from the last election may sit back home. But that is not the best thing.
“The best reaction is actually to come out and cast your votes once again and try to defend the votes. I call on all Nigerians to come out en-masse and cast their votes.
“You don’t see something going wrong and you sit back to allow it to go completely wrong. You take the bull by the horn, cast your votes and even defend it the more,” he added.
In their respective remarks after voting, three governorship candidates including Ovie Omo-Agege of APC, Sheriff Oborewvori of PDP and Kenneth Gbagi of SDP expressed confidence that they would win the election.
Omo-Agege, who voted at his Orogun Ward 2 Unit 19, Ughelli North LGA at 11.11am, said: “We believe that we are going to win at the end of the day, no doubt about that.
“There has been the feelers for more than a month and the momentum was there all along coming into the polls today, so l expect that at the end of the day, we would be declared winner.
“PDP entered into this contest with a determination to ensure that attacks are launched on polling units across the state, most especially in Delta Central to destroy the votes.
“We have received reports of those attacks in polling units in Evwreni, Ughelli South, Oteri and of course there are some mischief going on since last night in Gbaramatu and Oproza in Warri South West”.
Oborevwori, on the other hand, voted at Oha One, Unit 33, Osubi, Okpe Local Government Area of the state, at exactly 9.30am.
The PDP candidate expressed optimism that he would win, adding that his party had worked so hard for it.
Oborevwori said it was also expected that the exercise would be properly conducted and peaceful across the state, stressing that every critical stakeholder must strive to further strengthen the democratic process in Nigeria.
Gbagi of the SDP also expressed confidence that his party will win in the governorship election in the state in a landslide victory.
Gbagi voted at unit 15, Jeremi Ward II in Ughelli South Local Government Area.