Although the electioneering process started out on a slow pace for instance in ward II Aibiokuna in Orhionwon local government area of Edo South, voting materials arrived at about 10.30am, but soon after things gradually picked up as the day progressed, and despite the postponement of election in Oredo and Ikpobha Okha councils, both in Edo south senatorial district due to incomplete materials, the election is reported to have witnessed a large turnout.
The elections in Oredo and Ikpobha were postponed to avoid unnecessary allegations later by aggrieved parties, according to a statement issued by the commission’s chairman, Solomon Ogor,said that “this was necessary to forestall allegations of foul play”.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr Pius Odubu, said people were happy and enthusiastic.
Although allegations after allegation has trailed the election, prominent among the allegations are those put forward by the People Democratic Party (PDP), the party’s candidate in the last governorship election, Major General Airhiavbere (rtd), said he blamed voter apathy on what he described as the non-performance of Governor Oshiomhole.
Although some ACN chieftains said the PDP is only crying now because the PDP suffered a major setback as its vice chairmanship candidate, Paul Ojemun, defected to the ACN Friday night.
Edo north senator, Domingo Obende, said the ACN was prepared for the election and that he was sure of victory. He said the candidates were properly nominated for the election.
Governor, Adams Oshiomhole stated that he is committed to building democracy in Nigeria and would therefore not manipulate electoral process to favour any candidate, this he said in his Iyamho hometown shortly, after casting his vote at Iyamho Primary School in the Edo local government council elections.
He used the opportunity to take a swipe at Chief Gabriel Igbinedion and the Minister of Works, Mike Onolehmemen, whom he alleged used security agents to intimidate voters. He said: “You can see that I have just voted and it is peaceful. The local government election is like a community issue; everybody knows the other. There are no ethnic and religious issues. But the area where we have some concern is the report we got from Okada, where Chief Igbinedion brought mobile policemen all the way from Abuja. There were more than a dozen armed policemen. He was walking on the streets of Okada and they followed him all the way to Okada police station where election materials were kept.
“First, Chief Igbinedion did not register to vote in Okada. You can play back past election for the gubernatorial election. He is registered to vote in Benin City, and you can check from the voting register. His name is in Benin City.
“By law, there is restriction of movement. Igbinedion is not supposed to travel to Okada, let alone walk on the street in a place where he is not registered, and protected by police illegally acquired from Abuja. But I have asked to talk to the Commissioner of Police and the Director of SSS to prevail on him not to continue to breach the law. We will try to investigate the policemen used to subvert the law.
“The problem with Nigeria is that some people who have made money believe they are above the law and sometimes the authority indulges them.”
What is generally accepted by all parties is that, the turnout was encouraging and even though administrative challenges existed, it was a good turnout. How the elections will swing is yet to be determined but what is certain is that, all eye’s would be on Edo state electoral commission as it prepares to start announcing results.