The rescheduled Edo state governorship election was witnessed by a large turnout of voters just as it recorded peaceful and hitch free conduct with adequate security officials detailed to provide security services
Reports from some parts of Edo South senatorial district, monitored, described the exercise as peaceful and orderly in most of the centers visited.
Though there were reports of malfunctioned card readers, however it only took the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials just few hours to rectify such complaints
At Iguododo, Orhionmwon local government area of Edo state which is the home of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, accreditation and voting started at about 9.18 a.m
There was a large turnout of voters who had converged on the Iguododo Primary School before the arrival of INEC officials.
There was however just one party agent belonging to the PDP and the presence of security personnel on ground to maintain peace and order.
But speaking after casting his vote, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he was confident that at the end of the exercise, victory will be his but added that ” We are praying to God that what we are seeing here is the same thing we will see in other places. I am impressed. The turnout is massive and the voters are orderly.
“They have been using security agencies to harass our people; Even till last night. I have also spoken to their superior who has assured us that those who are doing so are on their own, but, they will call them to order.
“We are also aware that governors of Lagos state, Akinwumi Ambode and Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufair are in Benin. That is worrisome. Campaigns have ended.
“If security agencies can enforce the restriction of movement order, I wonder why they (security) should allow the governors to come to Edo state. We think their reasons cannot be genuine. Edo people should be left to vote.
But, in spite of all that, we have held that some persons had planned to smuggle in results at the Wards and Local government levels. But, I am confident that this one will not work.
“Only last night All Progressives Congress chairman and another person were arrested last night by the Nigerian Army at Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Oko in Benin. 8000 Permanent Voters Cards and N15 million were recovered from them. We do not know whether they have been released. But, the puzzle remains one of the things we would have to unravel.
“As the election draws to a close, they (APC) have directed their supporters at the various collating units to disrupt the process wherever they find out that they are losing. We should be extra vigilant.
Also the state’s deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, while speaking at Iyobosa Primary School, Urhomehe in Orhionmwon local government, described the exercise as peaceful adding that “from my observation, I think there is a great improvement in our electoral process. It’s been orderly and peaceful and I hope it’s same across the state.
“I think my party will win the election at the end of the day, it’s going to be victory for us.”
Addressing journalists after casting his vote at Iyamho Primary School, Ward 10, Unit 2, Governor Adams Oshiomhole expressed hope that Edo people are ready to celebrate democracy, stressing that the process has been calm and orderly.
The Governor, who noted that it may be too early to begin to make comments on the process, hinted that reports reaching him from Edo Central said that thugs suspected to be sponsored by PDP had snatched the card readers.
According to him “the report reaching us from the Onojie of Opoji said PDP thugs have snatched the card readers in order to disrupt the process. So, we are dealing with that because the people have a right to vote and the right cannot be compromised and INEC has a duty. It is not negotiable to ensure that the people of Opoji has a right to vote.”
Oshiomhole, who frowned at the security lapse that resulted in the problem, noted that “I don’t know how that happened, we are supposed to have enough security in every polling units and if you have security in every polling units and some rascals and hoodlums can still come and carry the card reader, then it raises a lot of problems.
The governor also alleged security lapses at Emu and Esan South East, accusing a former member of the Edo House of Assembly of firing at the voting public in an attempt to disrupt the process. “We have also received report that a former member of the Edo State House of Assembly at Emu in Esan South East has been shooting at the voting public. Because he saw that the people are not voting for PDP, he opened fire and he was shooting at the voters”, adding that he has drawn the attention of Police to the issue, while commending INEC for introducing the new process of voting immediately after accreditation.