The Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) has announced as returned and unopposed, the 57 councilors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s local government elections.
This followed the failure of Delta State main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and other parties to field candidates against those who occupy the positions and had picked form for the Saturday’s local government elections in the state.
Chairman of DSIEC, Chief Mike Ogbodu, in a press statement, said the 57 PDP councilors are being returned unopposed as no other candidates are in contention with them.
Ogbodu listed ward 4 in Isoko South; wards 5, 9, 10, 16, 18 in Uvwie; wards 1, 3, 6, 11, 18 in Warri North and wards 2, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 in Warri South as among those whose councilors are returned unopposed.
Meanwhile reports reaching newsmen reveals that some armed men on Saturday morning invaded DSIEC office in Ughelli North and set it ablaze after serious sporadic shooting to scare away people.
The youths, who earlier faced a stiff challenge from the police, invaded the office in protest of the non-inclusion of result sheets in the voting materials.
The police had earlier shot into the air to disperse the crowd amidst shots of teargas.
“Gunshots and protests at about 8:40am today, rocked the Ughelli office of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, as party loyalists who had kept vigil at the office protested what they termed as the non-availability of result sheets for today’s local council election holding across the 25 local government areas of the state.”
Trouble started when the party members, most of whom are from the opposition, insisted that they must verify the authenticity of all the voting materials before they are taken away to the respective units.
Upon verification of the materials some of the youths from the APC, invaded the DSIEC office and disrupted the process. But for the timely intervention of men of the Ughelli ‘A’ Division who used teargas and shot into the air to disperse the crowd, matters would have become worse.
A youth leader from Agbarha-Otor community, Enis Ogegere who was also at the scene of the incident, said: “Upon inspection of the materials, we noticed that there were only ballot papers and thumb printing materials excluding result sheets, this was what led to the fracas.”
Speaking on the incident, a Senior Police Officer at the Division said: “We only used minimal force to disperse the crowd, but we are handling the situation.”
Similarly, suspected supporters of PDP and APC have attacked themselves in Ellu, Isoko North Council Area, destroying their properties.
A source from the area confirmed to newsmen that the violence erupted from an APC campaigns rally allegedly invaded by some loyalists of a PDP candidate in the area.
“Some APC members were attacked and their assets destroyed by suspected PDP thugs at Ellu in Isoko North Local Government Area on Saturday morning.
The said attack, according to the source, took place near the Ellu townhall within Ellu/Ovrode Ward of Delta State.
The incident, which was reported at the Ozoro Police Station, according to our source, left one John Emobonuovie and Osomowho Idoko with various degree of injuries inflicted on them by the invaders who also destroyed a vehicle and musical instruments.
An APC Chieftain from the area, Mr. Goddy Ewerode, confirmed that the invaders also destroyed a vehicle that was deployed for the campaign during the attack.
Mr Ireanus Usiwo Emuh, the APC Councillorship candidate for the area who said he incidentally witnessed the events, expressed serious concerns about the violence attack allegedly by PDP supporters.
He however vowed that APC will not be cowed nor disenchanted from the process and calls on all lovers of peace to proceed with the elections peacefully while ensuring that their votes would count.
“There is no doubt that PDP is now afraid of the positive strides that APC has made during the campaigns and it may be thinking that it can forcefully win elections by scaring away citizens who simply intends to exercise their right to vote,” he added.
Ewerode, who earlier confirmed the incident, added: “We call on Governor Okowa to address Deltans to shun violence and give heed to the voice of the people in every area of the State to ensure peaceful and hitch-free elections.
But the Isoko Youth Apex body, Isoko National Youth Assembly (INYA) cautioned the troublemakers to maintain the sanity of a true democratic process.
President, INYA, Comrade Umuakpo Ovie and the Director of Media and Strategy, Comrade Eniwake Orogun, expressed the body’s commitment to the sustainability of peace in Isoko Nation and Delta State at large.
INYA called on all political actors to refrain from thuggery, ballot snatching and other vices that are inimical to credible polls.
“We must insist on a free and fair process devoid of violence. Let us resist being used as pawns for selfish purposes by individuals or groups who have the least concern for us as a people. They do not mean well for us and if we are pushed, we must insist on their children or wards taking the lead.
“We must understand that the ambition of no man is worth the blood of another. We call on youths of Delta state and Isoko nation in particular, to refrain from thuggery, ballot snatching and other vices that are inimical to credible polls. We must promote an atmosphere that breeds democratic tenets where everyone is free to choose their leaders.
“Remember, our votes must count as a measure of our belief in the candidature of whomever we elect to give them to, rather than financial inducement.
“Also, we must understand that for every of our vote we sell now, we will pay with our future and collective wealth as politicians and political party will by all means recoup their expenditure with resources meant for our development which eventually will be costlier for us to pay.
“We call on the political class whose modus vivendi is to precipitate violence and extract the gains therefore, to desist from inducing our youths for electioneering criminality and violence as we shall not fail to report any form of it to relevant authorities for arrest and possible prosecution.
“It is our hope that the election will turn out well and both winners and losers will take a cue from Liberia where the President elect, George Weah was magnanimous in victory and not only visited the loser but also invited him to make nominations to the government.
They further urged the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) to live up to their billing before, on and after the election and tasked all relevant security agencies to be vigilant and ensure a peaceful atmosphere throughout the polls.