The presidential and National Assembly elections in Edo State turned into war, as thugs loyal to major political parties in the state went to some polling units in Egor and Ovia North East local government areas, snatched and burnt election materials in various voting centres.
In Egor at Uwelu Primary School and Uwelu Maternity polling Centre, some thugs went to the polling units grabbed the ballot papers that the voters had used to vote and started burning all the election materials in the unit.
Also, in ward 4, in Idia College at Iyaro in Oredo Local Government Area close to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s voting unit, thugs loyal to Godwin Obaseki took the ballot box and papers and run away.
Information gathered revealed that Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate was the candidate most were voting for before the thugs hijacked the polling units.
The situation was not different at Iyuwa Primary School in Ovia North East where the INEC presiding unit officers were abducted with the BVAS machines to unknown destination.
In Auchi Ward 4, Edo North in Etsako Local Government Area, the All Progressivs Congress (APC), was leading in every polling unit in the district. Sources in the area said the INEC officials arrived there early and accreditation and voting commenced instantly.
In a related issue, another source said in Ward 6, Unit 6 in Etsako East Local Government Area, that elections did not hold in the area because of the late arrival of materials by the INEC officials assigned to the area. He also said part of the reasons why polls did not hold is because the INEC officials were not skiledl and capable to use the BVAS machines assigned to them.
Speaking after voting, former Governor of Edo state, Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion expressed enthusaism and satification about the peaceful manner of voting at George Idia Primary School, Benin city.
” Democracy is grew and is improving in every elections. So, is very encouraging that our people had come out enmass and vote peacefully to exercise their franchise to vote for the next President of Nigeria,” he said.
Asking how the BVAS machine is working effectively compare to the fear that the BVAS machine will develop faults during voting? Chief Lucky Igbinedion said:” well, I cannot speak for another voters, but my voting went on smoothly.
” And I can see my own line is reducing, which means; people had been captured approriately in time and voted. The BVAS really work in this polling unit and the electorates voted. I must commend INEC for a job well done “, Chief lgbinedion added.
For Hon. Ogbiede Ihama, PDP candidate, representing Edo South Senatorial district in Abuja, in Chief Dan Orbih faction, in George Idia Primary school, after voting in his unit, described the elections as peaceful. He said, this is the polls Nigerians were eager to voted and the went free and peaceful.
” People have been in the line and they ethumistic to vote. This is one of the elections that Nigerians are very eager to vote. I think that is been peaceful here, as always. For the workability of BVAS machines. Once you want to vote the BVAS machine will capture you in few seconds, you go and vote. The BVAS machines are good for the elections.
When asked what is the PDP changes to win the elections? Hon. Ogbiede Ihama said:” my party PDP has always win elections, and I don’t think this elections will be different by the grace of God.”
Hon. Osaro Obazee a former Oredo local government area, now aspiring to be lawmaker representing Oredo Federal constituency, after voting in his unit came with his APC loyalists to monitor the voting process in in George Idia Primary School, at Ihama in GRA, in an exclusive interview with journalists said he is very optimistic that APC will win the elections in Edo state .
Hon. Obazee disclosed that with the introduction of the cashless policy by Major General Muhammadu Buhari had brought sanity into the voting process. He expressed joy about the peaceful conduct of the elections before crisis broke out in some polling units across the state, as voting continues in some peaceful voting centres in the state.
“I want to thank God for this election. Before this 2023 elections started differernt candidates from various political parties said, this is what they are going to do. By the grace of God the elections had turn out peaceful. I want to pray that the elections end in a very peaceful manner. I want to also use this opportunity to emulate the Electorates for what happen in this polls.
” And to also advise the politicians, as much as possible to imbibe the spirit of sportmanship in this kind of game. Politics is a game of number, and if you loose this election try and embrace other opponents. I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to join this contest, and I know by the God’s grace I will win this election.,” He boasted.
When asked what gave him the impetus to feel he will win the elections? Hon. Obazee said:” in fairness, I campaign around this area during my campaign rally. The level of acceptance I got is one of the impetus that I will win the elections,” he stressed.
More so, in Evboesi ward in Orhionmwon local government area in Edo state, when one of the accredited voters, Fredrick Iduozee called to complained that INEC officials did to come to their ward , as a result of that voting did not take place in the entire ward.
Also further complaining, a chieftaincy of the PDP, and a former chairmanship aspirant in Orhionmwon local area, Barrister Osahon Ahunmwan, said out of five polling units in Evboesi ward, INEC official only came to one polling unit
Barrister Ahunmwan therefore expressed disatisification about the circumstances, and how electorates in the area were denied to vote.
Followed their various views, some of the voters who spoke after they have voted when the polls just started early, when accessing the elections, Prof Giadom Emelue of the Department of Forestry and Widelife, University of Benin, said every thing is working out very well. He described the elections as a good turn out, and that the BVAS machine is working very well.
Prof. Giadom said the enthusaism is very high and count it honor, joy to cast my vote. I pray that what had happened here will be replicated all over the country, so that we will know who will be the next President of Nigeria.” For what I am seeing here , I can see INEC doing their work effectively.”
Similar, Rev. Lucky Aghayedo described the election peaceful and stressed that the elections are different from other previous polls whereby voters are given money before they cast their votes. He added that, the cashless policy had reduced vote buying in this general elections.
” Apart from the suffering that this cashless policy had inflicted on us. It has also reduced the level of vote buying. We are all suffering it, and it had restricted vote buying too. Change people about the polls, unlike what they often experience in our past polls. As you can see, nobody is influencing anybody with money.
” Last elections politicians were giving #3000 to voters to vote for them. They will snapped it and showed to them, and vote out their conscience, now it is not happening here. For that reason, the voting is good and commendable. I think after the elections, things will go back to the normal way.” Rev. Agahyedo added.