Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has lauded the State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) for the smooth conduct of the local government elections in the state.
Okowa made the commendation on Saturday shortly after casting his vote at Unit 3, Ward 3, Owa-Alero, Ika North-East Local Government Area.
” I am satisfied with the process because of the smooth conduct of the election and DSIEC has given assurance that the election will be credible, free and fair.
“So far, you can see that people have come out to cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere and I must commend the electoral body.”
The governor also lauded the electoral process adopted by DSIEC which entailed simultaneous accreditation and voting, which reduced the crowding of polling booths.
“The voting pattern adopted by DSIEC is such that once you are accredited, you cast your vote and you go for your business.
“This is unlike in the past when accreditation commenced at 8 a.m. and ended at 12 noon before voting.
He noted that the process helped to make accreditation and voting easier, saying that it had also helped to compel the electorate to leave the voting centre immediately after casting their votes.
On reports across the state, Okowa disclosed that soldiers stopped some electoral officials in Ndokwa East Local Government Area from moving materials, but the situation was resolved amicably.
The governor also disclosed that some persons allegedly working for an opposition party attacked the DSIEC office in Ughelli, but the quick intervention of security agents restored normalcy.
“It is unfortunate that some persons were not ready for the elections and they resorted to violence, but thank God the situation was however put under control.
“I can assure you that generally, from information available to me, the state is calm and voting is in progress in the state,” Okowa said.
Some voters who spoke at some of the polling centres visited, expressed confidence in the electoral process.
At about 11.45 a.m., voters were seen exercising their rights at Ward 9, Akumazi; some of them said materials arrived early and there was no crisis as the election was peaceful.
However, security agents arrested two hoodlums suspected to be political thugs eith guns at Igbodo, Ika North-East Local Government Area.
A federal lawmaker, Rep. Victor Nwaokolo, said the trouble makers were caught with the guns while attempting to disrupt the election.
He said that security agents acted on a tip off and arrested them, adding that voting eventually took place in a very peaceful atmosphere after the incident.
In Emevor, Isoko North Local Government Area, a resident, Dr. Nelson Ejakpovi, said voting however started at about 12 noon.
He added that the people came out enmasss to cast their votes in a peaceful atmoshere
In Ndokwa East, a Chieftain of the PDP, Chief Godswill Obielum, who lauded the electoral process, told reporters that voting started early at Ward 20, Ushie, Ndokwa East Local Government Area.
“I score DSIEC very high in this election, they were prepared and it gave our people confidence. They came out in the morning and were able to vote in a peaceful atmosphere without any fear of intimidation,” he said.
However, the State Commissioner for Lands, Chief Chika Ossai said that due to the terrain of the state which required material passing through different local government areas from Aboh to iselegu, voting items arrived late.
He said materials arrived at about 11 a. m., adding that he cast his vote at about 12.30 p.m. at DSIEC Ward 3, Unit 5, Iselegu.
Also, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, who voted at Ward 12, Unit 3, Okpanam, said voting materials were delayed because DSIEC officials waited for security agents to deploy officers to escort voting materials.
He, however, lauded the electoral process, noting that the concept of voting immediately after accreditation helped in decongesting the polling booths as people left for their homes after voting.
In Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area, a cheiftain of APC, Chief George Okafor, lauded the smooth conduct of the elections, which he said was devoid of violence.
Okafor, who is the Vice chairman, APC Delta North, voted at unit 5, Ward 3, Ogwashi-Uku.
He, however, appealed to DSIEC to ensure that the peoples’ votes counted at the end of the day.
“Everything is going on well; you can see people voting in a peaceful atmosphere.
“However, what we expect from DSIEC is to ensure that whatever the people voted here today, let the result stand,” he said.
On the late arrival of materials, DSIEC Collation Officer for Aniocha South, Mr. Sunday Okwudihu, said that it was due to the slow mobilisation of security agents to the polling units.
“As you can see, we are still trying to get the security agents to the various polling units across the LGA, that is why we are experiencing this delay that you are seeing,” he said.
Though electoral materials arrived late at the various polling units, voting in Ogwashi-Uku was generally peaceful, as there was no report of intimidation or violence.