- APC Accuses DSIEC, Okowa, PDP Of Massive Rigging, Connivance
- PDP Chief Admits ‘Error’ Exonerates Party Of Any Political Blame
By Hamilton Nwosa(Head, The New Diplomat’s Polling, Research & Data desk)
The Delta State Local Government election which took place throughout the state Saturday has been concluded. But certainly not without hitches as one of the contesting parties, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) pulled out of the exercise mid-way.
As early as 8am, the election materials from the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC’s office Asaba had arrived the Divisional Police Stations and Local Govt Council headquarters across the state accompanied by electoral officers, security men and party representatives.
The New Diplomat‘s team which monitored the exercise in different parts of the state reported that there were complaints that one of the sensitive materials, result sheets, which ought to come along with the election materials were conspicuously absent in most units and wards across the state.
Our correspondents also reported that in some wards/units where the result sheets were missing, the DSIEC officials on ground appealed to the party agents who were around to go to their various wards and units to commence the process of accreditation and voting, assuring them they would supply the result sheets whenever they arrived.
However, our correspondent gathered that it became clear that result sheets were allegedly hoarded away by the DSIEC in compromise with a particular political party. And where result sheets were available, they were alleged to be fake.
When our correspondents visited Ozoro, the headquarters of Isoko North, election materials piled up at the Divisional Police Station with no distribution to wards and units going on.
The APC chairmanship candidate, Mr. Cornellus Ugo, who was at the station was seen complaining of lack of result sheets for the exercise.
Ugo said DSIEC supplied all the sensitive election materials except result sheets, adding that without the result sheets candidates and party agents would resist the commencement of the exercise.
He said: “We are prepared for the election today. As at yesterday, DSIEC indicated that they were prepared for the election and that all materials have arrived from the Central Bank branch in Asaba.
“But as it stands now all materials are packaged to go to the wards and units but what they are telling us now is that the result sheets of the chairmanship were around, but that the result sheets for Councillorship were being expected.
“They therefore advised party agents and DSIEC officials to go to their wards to commence the exercise without the result sheets, adding they will be supplied later.
“We are insisting that for DSIEC to convince me that they are conducting free and fair election, they must show us the result sheets.”
Also speaking to our correspondent, the PDP chairmanship candidate for Isoko North, Deacon Christian Eteire admitted that all the sensitive material were available except result sheets.
Eteire said the absence of the result sheets might be a mistake from DSIEC, adding that it was not the fault of the PDP nor its candidates.
“What the man (DSIEC) said was that he forgot the result sheets when he was coming and that voting should commence whenever the result sheets arrived they will distribute them to the wards and units.”
“When asked whether that was a normal process, Deacon Eteire said ‘there was always room for mistake “
At about mid-day, The New Diplomat‘s correspondent reported that the leadership of one of the political parties participating in the election, the All Progressives Congress, APC, had issued a press release announcing it was pulling out of the election due to the absence of result sheets.
The party alleged that DSIEC, PDP and Gov. Okowa had cheated Deltans at the council polls.
The release signed by Sylvester Imonina Esq., Publicity Secretary (Caretaker) APC Delta State, recalled the concerns raised by APC days ago, where it accused DSIEC, PDP and Gov. Okowa of planning to orchestrate widespread irregularities.
The party noted that APC representatives were not allowed to inspect the materials which DSIEC were preparing to send to the different LGAs.
The APC further alleged that materials did not get to some LGAs such as Burutu and Patani, adding that where the materials arrived the LGA’s they were without result sheets.
The party also alleged intimidation, brutalization, arrest and detention of opposition party members, citing Ozoro in Isoko North as one of the areas were overzealous policemen visited mayhem on representatives of APC.
“Yesterday, 5th of March, 2021 at DSIEC headquarters in Asaba, Delta APC Representatives were not allowed to take statistics of the materials that Dsiec intended transporting to the different LGAs in the State.
“This is despite the insistence of the Party’s Representatives that it is the right of political parties to inspect and confirm what material is meant for “what and where.
“In Burutu and Patani Local Government Areas, election materials were not taken to anywhere near the Local Government Areas!
“In LGAs where materials were purportedly taken, there were/are no results’ sheets. This to our mind is evil. There cannot be Elections without results sheets!
“Some APC members and Leaders who peacefully protested the anti-democratic vices going on in the different Dsiec offices and Police Stations were intimidated, harassed and humiliated.
“In particular, at the Police Station in Ozoro, Isoko North Local Government Area, on the instigation of PDP leaders in Isoko North, some APC Stalwarts were arrested and still being kept in police Cell by the overzealous Divisional Police Officer and men under his control.
“In view of the above, Delta APC hereby boycott the charade called “Delta State Local Government Council elections although, 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,” APC said.
Meanwhile, the withdrawal of the APC from the Local Government Election in the state may not have affected other political parties including the ruling PDP in the State from going ahead with the conduct of the election.
When The New Diplomat visited Eku in Ethiope-East LGA, it was discovered that voting was going on steadily.
At the unit close to the market, where the Honourable Commissioner of Urban Renewal, Olorogun Barr. Arthur Akpowowo cast his vote, the exercise went hitch-free.
Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after casting his vote, Akpowowo said the exercise was very peaceful in Ethiope-East, adding that he visited nearly all the wards and it was peaceful.
He said: “Voting is going on peacefully across the wards. I have been to Okpara, Ovu, Orhoakpo, Egbo, Eku voting was going on peacefully.”
Also speaking with newsmen in Orhoakpo, former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Barr. Mrs. May Iyasere, confirmed that election took place peacefully, adding that the withdrawal of APC from the election did not affect the conduct of the exercise.
“Voting in Orhoakpo was very peaceful. People were allowed to cast their votes for candidates of their choice. Nobody bothered anybody”, she said.