From: Ben Dunno, Warri
The ongoing elections into the 25 Local Government Areas of Delta State, recorded its first violence attack in the early hours of yesterday as the office of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), in Ughelli, headquarters of Ughelli North Local Government Area was completely razed down.
The arson was reportedly carried out by some unidentified gunmen who invaded the premises at about 8:16am while the DSIEC officials had commenced the distribution of the electoral materials in the presences of some political party members in the area and other security personnel monitoring the exercise.
It was gathered that the attackers who carried out the mission in a ‘Commando like Operation’, wasted to time by shooting indiscriminately into the air and scaring away everyone withing the premise before pouring petrol everywhere are setting the entire place ablaze.
In the course of the stampede, many residents of the area including the DSIEC officials, security personnel as well as Journalists who were on election monitoring sustained various degrees of injuries in an attempt to escape being caught up in the attack.
While the reason for the attack on the DSIEC office remains unknown as at the time of filing this report as no group has laid claim to the action, many are of the opinion that it was a calculated attack to pre-empt the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state from imposing unpopular candidates on the people.
A source who spoke under anonymity disclosed that what happened was a demonstration of the people disenchantment with the ruling party in the state who had perfected plans on how to rig the election across the 25 local government area through the instrumentality of the DSIEC.
According to him, “We are all aware that this election was just a mere formality as the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and the state controlled DSIEC had drawn up the list of its Chairmen SBD Councillors of the 25 Council areas and are Judy waiting to swear them in immediately”.
In a similar development, at Olodi Primary School, Okumagba Avenue in Warri South Local Government Area, the presence of policemen deployed to the place could not intimidate the chieftains of both the ruling PDP and the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) who were at each others neck over the control of the area.
It took the distressed call for reinforcement by the police and the timely arrival of military personnel from the 3Battslion in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government to bring some level of control to the area as it was already becoming tensed and crowdy.
Meanwhile, the Delta state Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) has declared 57 PDP Councilors unopposed ahead of today’s elections.
This followed the failure of Delta State main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other parties to field candidates against those who occupy the positions and had picked form to return.
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.
He 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.