•Two shot in Otu-Jeremi
•APC rejects exercise, calls for a ‘real election’
The 2018 Delta State local government election turned into an orgy of violence yesterday with armed thugs setting the State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) office in Ughelli on fire.
At least two persons were shot, also in Ughelli, for allegedly resisting an attempt by hoodlums to hijack elections materials.
Reports from different parts of the state indicated manipulation at different stages of the election process.
Chieftains of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) described the election as a sham.
They called for a fresh process.
It was gathered that trouble started in Ughelli, headquarters of Ughelli North council area of the state at about 8:30am when DSIEC officials were about dispatching election materials to the various units.
Some armed men unexpectedly invaded the office shooting sporadically, and proceeded to set the office ablaze.
Party representatives and observers who had gathered there took to their heels, witnesses said.
Officials of opposition parties in Udu council area, refused to allow distribution of election materials ostensibly after a top official of DSIEC had run away with some election materials.
An uproar ensued only for a group of Peoples Democratic Party members pretending to be vigilance men push their way through the crowd, loaded the remaining materials into waiting vehicles and sped away.
Election materials remained held up at the Divisional Police Station at Otu-Jeremi, Ughelli South by noon.
The Nation gathered that voters and members of the opposition parties kept watch around the police station following reports that sensitive materials, including result sheets, were missing.
A chieftain of the APC in Otu-Jeremi, Ifeanyi Adjekota, called for the rescheduling of the election in the area in view of obvious irregularities.
The chairmanship candidate of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in Uvwie council area, Ufuoma Okenini, alleged intimidation and threat to the lives of members and supporters of his party by those he described as “thugs of the PDP”.
Later in the day, the Delta State APC tentatively rejected the local government council election across the state, saying the exercise could not be described as an election, but a sham.
Governorship candidate of the party in the 2015 election, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, said reports from all parts of the state showed that it was neither free nor fair.
Emerhor, who spoke in his Evwreni country home, said the party caucus would make a formal pronouncement on the exercise.
He called for a fresh exercise, devoid of questionable practices.
Former Acting Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Pastor Power Aginighan; the chairmanship candidate of the party in Uvwie council area, Ufuoma Okenini and the Thomas Emami, a former councillor in Warri Southwest and younger brother of the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, all spoke along the same line. Emerhor said: “There was no election in Ughelli North. The same thing that happened in Ughelli North happened all over.
“We are calling for the outright cancellation of the election. There were no sensitive materials. I can confidently tell you that the strategy of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was not to conduct elections in the state. It was clear that the PDP are afraid that they are not going to win the election.
“I am sure that you witnessed what happened here in Ughelli North where the DSIEC office was burnt down. The same story you hear here is the same story everywhere. No government should deceive the people and pretend to be conducting an election. If you go round Ughelli North, there is no election going in any of the communities.
“There was no election in Delta State. The PDP government in Delta State is acting with impunity because they are the ones that elected the DSIEC board. They can go ahead to announce any result. But all we know is that we will not accept any result they will announce. There was no election so therefore we will not accept anybody that they will swear in as the winner.”
Narrating his ordeal, former councillor representing ward 3 of Warri Southwest council area, Thomas Emami, said he managed to escape death from those he described as thugs of the PDP, who descended on him at the council’s secretariat in Ogbe-Ijoh, while trying to prevent the hijack of materials.
According to him, he was thoroughly beaten by his assailants, who were bent on stealing materials. He said he was rescued both time by security agents and some community youths who took him away in a boat.
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