While low turnout of voters characterized many voting centres in especially Aniocha North local government Area of Delta State, it was a different story for Ute-Erumu and Ute-Okpu towns in Ika North East Local Government Areas which recorded massive voter turnout.
Monitoring of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections indicated low turnout of voters, which has been attributed to citizens developing apathy due to the outcome of the presidential election that was characterized by lack of transparency in the electoral process and loss of faith in the conduct of the election umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But it was a different story in Ute Erumu and Ute-Okpu, two neighbouring towns. At Erumu Primary School, Ute-Erumu voting centre with six polling booths, the voter turnout was colossal as men and women, young and old were on ground waiting peacefully to go through the voting process. Youths came out in their numbers.
Answering questions from journalists, Dr Okubor described the experience as interesting as voting started on time at the voting centre, with BVAS working fast, policemen were around and did their bit, while voter turnout was pretty high, even as voting went on smoothly.
Okubor noted however that “The only ugly incident that happened was when on All Progressives Congress (APC) supporter tried to snatch the voting cubicle. But you know when you are in a place that is determined to be disciplined, the community decided to control him.
He continued: “Apart from that, it has been very peaceful. We are hoping that by the time the votes are counted that we will all have cause to be happy. Hopefully, we don’t experience what the whole of Nigeria experienced in the hands of INEC in the last election. But vigilance is the watchword.
“What I can tell you is that is clearly a PDP community,” Okubor said.
Same situation was witnessed at Ekpu Primary School, Ute-Okpu where a huge crowd of voters stayed patiently to take turns to exercise their franchise.
Chief Strategist to Delta State government, Dr. Festus Okubor who voted at the Erumu Primary School said the situation was calm and devoid of rancour, pointing out that peace reigned in all the six polling booths in the voting centre. For him, he believes that the PDP candidates will win the elections with large margins.
Mr. Hilary Ibegbulem, the Principal Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to journalists that it’s been quite peaceful in his voting centre at Ekpu Primary School, Ute-Okpu, even as he disclosed that that were initial challenges in a few areas involving ballot box snatching and where thugs were trying to create problems. “INEC officials and Security agents waded in and were on top of it. Otherwise, it has been very, very peaceful here,” he said.
Asked what in his view accounted for the massive voter turnout recorded in the polling centre, Ibegbulem said: “it’s the impressive performance of the governor. We actually felt a lot of the impact of his government in my community. Also, the Governor’s appointees have also done well in trying to reach out to our people because we are quite close to the grassroots.”
Asked what he thought would be the fate of his party after the voting, Ibegbulem said: “Of course, PDP will win the election with a landslide. This is because we are following the BVAs. Except something happens, otherwise outside the BVAS. But with the BVAs, PDP will win the election.”
Delta state Publicity Secretary and Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, Delta State PDP Campaign Council, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, who spoke to journalists at the Nkeze Primary School, Idumuje-Ugboko voting centre with eight polling booths, described the voting process as very peaceful with people comporting themselves. “Everybody, especially people with PVC, everybody voted without hindrance. Nobody is intimidating anybody; everybody is living like a family party divides notwithstanding. So, it’s been generally peaceful”
Asked what his expectation is at the end of the election for his party, Osuoza said: “PDP is going to win and the margin is going to be massive and I expect the same thing from all over the state.”
At Igbodo, Ika North East Local Government voter turnout was very low at the Ikpekwu Primary School voting centre, which was visited by Hon. Victor Nwokolo (PDP Ika North East) of the House of Representatives and APC’s Mr. Kamanya had a peaceful process. Despite belonging to different political parties the two indigenes of Igbodo exchanged greetings and banters.
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