…alleged massive vote buying, intimidation, destruction of electoral materials in some parts of the state
By Simeon OSAJIE
The State Houses of Assembly election which took place across the country witnessed low turnout of voters across the major towns in Edo State, but with massive vote buying as well as violence across the state.
The turnout of voters and the enthusiastic to vote compared to the last presidential and National Assembly elections was very poor.
In the state capital, INEC officials came out very early in all the different voting centers, but voters turnout was very poor which shows there was voters apathy.
Speaking after casting his vote in Polling Unit 019 Ward 4 in Oredo local government area of the state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the state governor complained of the tight security around the city. He appealed to the authorities concerned to relax it, as voters are finding it difficult to move to their polling units to cast their votes.
“You can see that most people have not come out to vote, but I believe they will come out later, but the security situation should be relax to enable them to come out to vote,” he said.
However in some of the unit monitored ,the voters interviewed who pleaded anonymity for fear of being attacked complained of serious massive vote buying ,as each vote was going for N10,000 -N15,000 at Agbado primary school along Akpakpava road and other units visited for the exercise, it was alleged that 8million Naira was dropped at Agbado primary school and Emokpai Primary School respectively for that purpose.
In Sobe, Ewuere and Avbiosi village, all in Owan west local government areas of Edo State, there were violence attack by thugs from one of the party, PDP, at Ihoro and Ugbada primary schools Avbiosi respectively where they noticed they were losing in any of the units their thugs come in a commando style with different weapons and shooting sporadically to scare the people away from the different polling center from casting their votes, some of the voters pointed out.
They were however resisted by the people who stood their ground from further destruction of the electoral materials which led to alot of persons sustaining serious injury in the process.
At the IDP camp in Ohogua community In Ovia north east , hoodlums invaded the polling units at the camp and carted away electoral materials thereby destructing the voting process in the camp
Also report from Edo central District says the same low turnout of voters is witnessed, adding that only the real politicians are the ones coming out to vote.
In Auchi, the headquarters of Etsako west LGA , a visit to most of the polling units witnessed voters apathy, trickles of voters coming in to cast their votes unlike the presidential , Senatorial and House of Representatives election.
In an interview, APC chieftain who is also the managing director of Benin Owena Rivers basin development Authority BORBDA, Engr. Saliu Ahmed who cast his votes in ward one of the local government said although the turnout of voters was low as the time he voted, he was optimistic it will improve before the ending of voting period
Similarly the situation was the same in Agbede, South Ibie in Etsako west LGA, Igarra in Akoko Edo, Fugar, Etsako central, Okpella, Agenebode in Etsako East, Warrake, in Owan East.
According to Respondents across the various units visited, they all attributed the voters apathy to lack of confidence on INEC, the lost out of their candidates in the last election and the scarcity of cash to solve logistics problem as well as earlier reports making the rounds that thugs were being recruited to cause mayhem across the state hence alot of persons stayed home.