Edo voting process: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu, REC differ views


Different views have been coming from the two major contenders of the Edo State governorship position, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of All Progressives Congress, APC, including Mr. Johnson Alalibo, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state. 

Their reactions on today's electoral activities in Edo state cut across the situations of electoral gadgets, claims of vote-buying, crisis in some polling units and other related issues, NATIONAL PANEL reports. 

According to Channel, in the early hours of Saturday, there was mild tension at Emokpae Model Primary School in Oredo Local Government Area of the state, where Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is one of the candidates in the poll, went to cast his vote.

The fracas resulted from a misunderstanding between an agent of a political party and a supposed election observer. This occurred while some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission were setting up for the election.

Also in the earlier hour of today, at the Emokpae Model Primary School in Oredo Local Govt, security operatives and INEC officials tried to organize voters who turned out in their numbers, waiting to vote. 

The party agent was said to have mistaken the observer for another party agent and challenged him for sitting on a seat meant for the electoral officials. As a result, both men engaged in an altercation as other electorates at the venue watched.

The situation was later brought under control following the intervention of the security agencies on the ground.

Obaseki has lamented and  berated INEC
after having stood for a couple of hours at his polling unit.

The incumbent governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Edo election, Godwin Obaseki, later got his chance to cast his vote.

Speaking after voting, Governor Obaseki said, he was “surprised” and “shocked” at the slowness of card readers after  casting his vote in the Governorship poll being held in the state.

He said it is sad that such a glitch is being experienced after INEC had given assurances that such problems would be avoided.

While Governor Obaseki is decrying the slowness of card readers, his major opponent in the guber race, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu said, he has no complaints about the process so far after casting his vote in Iguododo ward five, unit 26 of the Orhiomwon local government.

According to Ize-Iyamu: “I have no complaints, the process is okay; the INEC people came on time; they appear to be well prepared; so far, so good.”

The APC gubernatorial candidate further stated that sometimes, proceedings are delayed for too long, adding that since the INEC officials started the process early, then it means that the pressure is “not there” which is quite good.

He expressed happiness that in some places, they have started voting which is good, according to him, the feedback from his people at other venues suggest that all is going on well.

Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson Alalibo, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Edo State says all is well with the electoral exercise in this state, a claim aimed at dismissing contrary claims by Governor Obaseki.

According to the Commissioner, there are not so many queues as reported, and as such, no one can really say the process is slow.

Similarly, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr Philip Shaibu has said that though there have a few not too palatable reports, the election is going on peacefully.

A confident Shaibu told newsmen he was confident in the outcome of the polls if things are not altered from the state in which they are.

The deputy governor who in the late hours of the morning voted at his polling unit in Jattu, Etsako West local government, said, “so far so good, apart from the report, I am getting from some places that vote-buying, we have told them that anywhere they find anybody buying votes, they should let us know.

“I am happy that EFCC is also moving. So there is a particular person they are trailing now. Apart from that, the election is peaceful. You can see there is no violence in this ward.

“It is peaceful and things are going on well apart from some reports I am getting in other centres like in Auchi, I learnt they were buying votes (from) the former local government chairman.

“We have also alerted security. Apart from that, I think the violent aspect of this election so far is out.”

The running mate to Governor Obaseki said he is satisfied with the turn out of voters, but stressed that things would have been more if not for initial tension that followed the electioneering campaign.

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