By Carol V. Utulu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday in Asaba won 23 out of the 25 local government areas of Delta in Saturday’s council elections across the state.
Chairman of Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), Mr. Mike Ogbodu, gave the details when he announced the results on Sunday in Asaba.
He said that PDP won the chairmanship elections in 23 local government areas.
According to him, elections have been postponed in Ethiope East and Ughelli North areas due to reports of violence which has resulted in the burning of the DSIEC office in Ughelli.
He said elections in the two council areas would be held on Jan. 9, 2018.
“Following the completion of collation and counting of results from the chairmanship and councillorship elections held last Saturday across the state, I wish to announce that the PDP won the chairmanship elections in 23 local government areas.
“Election in Ethiope East and Ughelli North were postponed due to reports of hostility that were deemed not suitable for the conduct of elections.
“However, the commission wishes to announce that chairmanship and councillorship elections in the two local councils will now hold on Tuesday, January 9, 2018,” Ogbodu said.
Ogbodu said that the PDP also won 424 councillorship seats across the state, adding that 59 councillorship candidates of the PDP were returned unopposed.
He, however, disclosed that councillorship elections could also not hold in Ward 2 and Ward 4 in Oshimili North local government area.
He said elections could not hold in those wards as a result of a court order restraining the conduct of elections there.
According to him, the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) won one councillorship seat in Ward 2, Aniocha North local government area.
However, the APC in the state has kicked against the exercisr, describing the conduct a and subsequent results as a big sham.
State Chairman of the APC, Mr. Jones Erue, expressed the party’s position in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Asaba.
He also alleged that the elections were conducted without substantial compliance with relevant laws.
“This election was conducted in substantial non-compliance with the provisions set out in the DSIEC Law 2017 for the following reasons.
“Sensitive election materials were not delivered as expected to most of the polling units where the actual elections were due to take place.
“Where materials were even delivered, they did not arrive on time as most were hijacked and re-directed along the way.
“It was observed upon a close examination that the result sheets did not accompany the materials in most of the local government areas.
“Even where result sheets were produced, they were in sharp contrast with the samples that were presented to our party officials during the DSIEC training exercise, and so were fake.
“Many Returning Officers were not at the Polling Units to conduct the elections nor to announce the outcome.
“For example, a DSIEC Returning Officer at Ozoro in Isoko North Local Government Area was arrested in Ozoro, facilitating illegal thumb-printing of votes,” Erue said.
Erue also alleged that the election was marred by violence in a large number of council areas and wards where election was due to take place.
He said that the burning of DSIEC Office in Ughelli was a clear testimony to his claims.
He also said the APC in Delta was not shocked by the outcome of the election.
Erue said the party had issued a note of caution previously, warning about the potential for active connivance between DSIEC and PDP officials or agents.
He said that the party would formally convey a report of its observations and findings during the election to DSIEC in the days to come.
“We hope that they will listen to the voice of reason as Deltans have spoken loudly enough,” Erue said.
In another reaction, DSIEC Director of Public Affairs and Communication, Mr. Arubi Orugboh, dismissed the accusations of the APC.
He described the party’s observations as blatant lies designed to discredit the image of the commission.
“These cries and allegations are usually normal in an election, especially when a party has lost out woefully. It is not a new thing.
“If you followed this election very well, you will agree with me that the APC is not on ground even during the campaign before the elections.
“The allegations that DSIEC colluded with the PDP to divert electoral materials are entirely false and can never hold water.
“Non-sensitive materials were dully dispatched to every ward across the state before the election day; so also, on election day, we delivered sensitive materials accompanied by security agents.”
Orugboh enjoined the people of the state to disregard the cries and allegations of the APC and accept the result of the election as the wish of the electorate of the state.