By Perez Brisibe
THE last may not have been heard of last Saturday’s local council election in Delta State as the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and the All Progressives Congress, APC clashed in parts of the state with both sides trading counter accusations of electoral irregularities.
At least one person was confirmed dead while several others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds and machete cuts during the election which was conducted between 8.00 a.m and 3.00 p.m. last Saturday.
Udu, Ethiope East, Ethiope West, Ughelli North and Ughelli South council areas were some of the areas that recorded pockets of violence while an adhoc staff of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC was allegedly murdered by thugs in Onitsha-Ugbo, Aniocha local government area as scores of others at Ughelli North, Isoko North and Burutu council areas were attacked by angry mob said to thugs loyal a political party.
Though the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Aniamaka Andrew confirmed the death of the DSIEC staff, he denied that the victim was murdered, saying, “He was not killed, he rather slumped”.
Despite the violence and non-availability of some sensitive voting materials which were said to have marred the elections in parts of the state, the electoral umpire on Sunday, announced results with the PDP sweeping the polls.
Calling on DSIEC to cancel the election, the APC described the election across the state as a “sham a pointer to the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state is “dying.”
Chairman of the party in the state, Jones Erue in a statement, said: “Upholding the election would be that DSIEC has in connived with the PDP to perpetuate a greedy and political dynasty that is already gasping for life,” adding that the “election was conducted in substantial non-compliance with the provisions set out in the DSIEC Law 2017 because sensitive election materials were not delivered as expected to most of the polling units where the actual elections were due to take place.”
Describing the election as a disappointment, leader of the APC in the state, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and the senator representing Delta Central Senatorial district, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege in their respective remarks, said: “If Okowa and PDP are sure that they are popular in Delta State, they would have allowed the elections to go on smoothly by providing all the needed materials for the election including the result sheets.
“What happened today (Saturday) is a pointer to the fact that Deltans are tired of the PDP in Delta State and the people resisted them.”
However, the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa while applauding DSIEC for the conduct of the election, said: “I am satisfied with the process.
Governor Okowa who voted in ward 03, unit 03 at about 11am, Omi primary school, Owa-Alero, Ika North East local government area amidst a poor turnout of voters, said: “The process is good so far, I got accredited and voted immediately and I can see other people on the queue waiting to be accredited and vote so that they can leave.”
The chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Kingsley Esiso on his part also described the election as free and fair.
“The election was free and fare in areas where election was held. And at such areas, the people came out massively to cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere with DSIEC reading out results for the election right now.”