From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
One person whose identity could not be verified was on Saturday allegedly shot during the by-election for Isoko South Constituency I seat at the Delta State House of Assembly.
The victim, suspected to be a voter, was allegedly shot at a polling unit in Irri town by armed hoodlums who invaded the voting centre to snatch ballot materials.
An eyewitness said the hoodlums shot sporadically in the air to scare away voters before one of them aimed at the victim for reasons yet to be established.
It was not clear if the victim would survive the gunshot after he was rushed into a bus and ferried away to an undisclosed hospital.
In the ensuing commotion, the hoodlums were said to have made away with the voting materials.
Meanwhile, the new Bimodal Voters’ Accreditation System (BVAS) deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the election as a test run for the 2023 general elections failed in some polling units during the by-election.
But for the BVAS failure in some units, the by-election was adjudged to be generally peaceful by stakeholders.
The election also witnessed an impressive turnout of voters across several units and wards in the constituency.
At Oleh, the council headquarter, some presiding officers including Tope Adido, Aisha Turayo, Nnamdi Okolo complained that the machine had difficulties capturing the thumbs and faces of some of the voters, especially the aged.
Party agents Emmanuel Akpor of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mosis Lagos of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Anthony Ejome of the All Progressive Congress (APC) said there was no incidence form or similar alternative for those whose facials and thumbs were not captured by the BVAS machine.
Regardless of the shortcomings, the candidate of the PDP, Mr Evivie Ovuakpoye, who spoke to reporters, said he preferred the new mode of voter accreditation.
On his part, APC candidate Dr Ogaga Ifowodo commended INEC for its attempts to enhance the integrity of the voting process, even though he admitted that the new technology needed improvements if it must be sustained.
The state coordinator of civil societies, Okeze Odughala, affirmed the tranquillity and credibility of the elections, and commended INEC for introducing BVAS which he said ‘had no technical issues in his unit.’
The by-election was occasioned by the death of the former representative of the area, Kenneth Ogba of the PDP.
Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state Monday Udoh-Tom had while reacting to the alleged failure of the BVAS machine in some units admitted that though there were some technical hitches in some polling units, the exercise was smooth in most parts of the constituency.
He disclosed that the technical problem experienced in some areas, which were sorted out, came from just eight BVAS out of 84 that were deployed, saying that to generalise that the machines flopped in the ongoing election was unfair.
He explained that four of the machines were a result of the wrong positioning of cameras, as the background of the pictures does not conform with BVAS requirements.
He said the other four machines were later replaced to enable voting to commence, maintaining that no one was disenfranchised in the polling units that experienced the technical problem from the device.