From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Voter apathy and late arrival of electoral materials on Saturday characterised the conduct of council elections across the 25 local government areas of Delta State.
Although the exercise was generally peaceful in polling units visited by our correspondent, the main opposition political party, All Progressive Congress (APC) pulled out midway into the polls.
In Asaba, Oshimili South LGA, materials and officials of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) did not arrive voting centres until about 9.30am.
When our correspondent visited Uzoigwe Primary School, a handful of voters were sighted, with an overwhelming presence of security agents, waiting for the election to commence.
The situation was tense in Illah, Oshimili North LGA, where materials and DSIEC officials were yet to arrive at about 10.30am when the voting centres were visited.
But at Akumazi ward 09 in Ika North-East LGA, voting had been concluded as early as 1pm, as voters said materials arrived early and that the election was peaceful.
In ward 09 Okpanam, Oshimili North LGA, voting commenced at about 11am.
Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in the state, Patrick Ukah told journalists after voting that the community is peaceful, adding that voters would turn out enmass for the polls.
In Aniocha South LGA, chairmanship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Jude Chukwunwike who voted at Ubulu-Uku ward 07, commended the conduct of the election, and said there was massive voter turn out.
Also, a former member of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpor said the exercise commenced early in Aniocha South LGA, and gave kudos to DSIEC.
At about 2.30pm, sorting of votes and counting was already going on at wards 07 and 18 (Omu Boys Primary School), Ibusa in Oshimili North LGA when our correspondent visited.
In pulling of the exercise, APC in a statement by the state publicity secretary, Sylvester Imonina, cited late arrival of materials and missing result sheets in some cases as reasons for pulling out.
Imonina accused the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) of colluding with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to stage managed an election geared towards deceiving and cheating Deltans.
“In LGAs where materials were purportedly taken, there were no results’ sheets. This to our mind is evil. There cannot be Elections without results sheets
“In Ethiope East, unconfirmed report says that materials were purportedly taken there. However, there are also no results’ sheets.
“In few places in Asaba and the home town of the Governor where what looks like ‘elections materials’ were taken to, there were no election results’ sheets too.
“In view of the above, Delta APC hereby boycott the charade called ‘Delta State Local Government Council elections’.
“Though, the decision of Delta APC might be painful in view of the huge resources already committed by the party and our candidates to the project of making Delta State a better place,” it read.
Meanwhile, in Ughelli North, an alleged case of attempted arson was reported as security agents were said to have aborted attempts by suspected thugs to razed DSIEC office in the area.
It was gathered that on the eve of the elections, security agents drafted from the state command foiled and dispatched the hoodlums.
According to security source, “actually there were some persons lurking around the DSIEC office last night and today but the security agents are on ground to quell any attempt.”
The source lamented that tension is currently high here because at 9.40am election materials are yet to arrive at Ughelli DSIEC office.