There were reports of irregularities in some areas of Warri South, Udu and Ethiope East council areas in Saturday’s Local Government elections in Delta State. While the People Democratic Party (PDP) appear to be coasting to victory, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), pulled out of the council polls over perceived irregularities. APC in a statement by its caretaker Publicity Secretary, Sylvester Imonina, accused the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) of refusing to allow its representatives take statistics of electoral materials before distribution to the voting centers on Friday.
It alleged that the electoral materials purportedly transported to DSIEC offices at LGA secretariats were not taken to some LGAs such as Patani and Burutu, while other areas, such as Ethiope East, where materials were taken to, had no result sheets. A chieftain of the APC, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo said the election did not take place in Ward 10, Samagidi-Kokori, Ethiope East LGA. According to him, electoral materials did not arrive until 9:30am and it was realised that the DSIEC officials brought only ballot papers, with no result sheets. Ogbetuo also disclosed that armed hoodlums suspected to be PDP loyalists stormed the venue and disrupted the exercise.
In Urhoka-Abraka unit 1, Ward 9, officials of DSIEC were turned back, for bringing fake result sheets to the venue. According to an APC agent, Akporkiniovo Edwin, party faithful turned back DSIEC officials for bringing “fake” result sheets to the unit. It will be noted that Kokori and Abraka communities are APC strong hold. At the polling unit of the PDP candidate for Udu LGA, Jite Brown, Evwriri Primary School, Aladja Ward 18, unit 2, voting ended at about 12pm, with the PDP leading by 582 votes, while the APC had 53 votes. The presiding officer, Ese Obake, who disclosed this, stated that the election which began at about 8am, “went well”.
Community president of Aladja, Elder Otto Ogbiruveta, commended DSIEC for the “peaceful” polls. However, unconfirmed reports claim that the exercise was manipulated in the area. Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, described the election as peaceful in Okpe council area. Briefing newsmen at his Osubi Ward 6, unit 9, he assured that the PDP candidate, Isaiah Esiovwa, who has been accepted by the people, will emerge victorious. While the exercise was relatively peaceful across Warri South LGA, there was report of no electoral materials at the supposed collation centre in Igbudu Ward 9.
Speaking, chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Delta State branch, Jonathan Giama, said “In Igbudu Ward 9 where materials are supposed to be collated, there were no materials and nobody on ground. But other units had materials.” He added that the rights group was not listed among election observers in the state, stating that it was due to “poor management” on the part of DSIEC.