Delta By-election: One Killed, Another Hospitalised As Exercise Records Large Vo

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By Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha, OLEH ONE person was Saturday, shot dead at Irri ward 10 polling unit 5 by suspected hoodlums during the Delta State House of Assembly bye-election in the Isoko South Constituency l to snatch ballot papers being used for the election. A source who pleaded anonymity said the hoodlums armed with AK47 riffles shot sporadically in the air to scare away voters, lamenting that one of the hoodlums shot at the victim for a yet unknown reason. Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that one other person was reportedly inflicted with gunshot injuries at Oleh and is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital. The exercise which recorded a large turnout of voters was hitherto peaceful across the five wards of the constituency, as electorates applauded the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC before the ugly incident occurred. There were however issues of machine malfunctioning which delayed the process in some of the units. Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Ovuakpoye Evivie, who cast his vote at Oleh ward I unit 6 described the BVAS as perfect, adding that “I commend INEC for what l am seeing. The process is fast, unique and simple. The system shows that votes will count.” On his part, Director-General of the PDP Campaign Organization, Sir Itiako Ikpokpo said; “I think this is an interesting election and INEC has tried to do things differently; l am impressed. “The only hiccups l hear is that some of the machines are not working in some of the units. If we continue like this with this kind of manpower and personnel, l think we are getting there slowly but surely.” He expressed optimism that PDP will win the election. Speaking with newsmen after casting his vote at unit Candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Mr. Emumena Michael said: “I believe INEC has improved it’s a system. The system is seamless; however, it is human beings that run the system. Appealing to INEC to avoid corruption in the process, he said: “If rules and guidelines are obeyed, what l saw now is a system that can take our current electoral process to the next level.” Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr Ogaga Ifowodo described the process as very orderly, saying “l am very impressed by the conduct of the voters so far and l think it is democracy working in earnest”. Ifowodo who spoke with newsmen after casting his vote at Oleh Ward I, unit 6 applauded the new system introduced by INEC, saying “Every step that has been taken to enhance the credibility, fairness, accuracy and integrity of the voting system is welcome. “I hope they will do even more to guarantee the integrity of the process.” Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Monday Udoh-Tom, said the exercise went on smoothly except for eight out of the 84 Bimodal Voters accreditation System machines that had initial issues. Udoh-Tom said the technical problem experienced in some areas, saying; “out of 84 polling units, 8 BVAS had issues. Four were as a result of the wrong positioning of the cameras. It means that the voter position for snapping was noisy, meaning, the background of the pictures does not conform with BVAS requirements”. He said four of the machines were later replaced to enable voting to commence, disclosing that no one was disenfranchised in the polling units that experienced the technical problem from the device. Speaking on the conduct of the election, Managing Director of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Askia Ogieh said the exercise was peaceful and devoid of violence during the voting, “but I cannot be able to speak on what may the situation at the point collation.” On his prediction, he said: “is PDP all the way”, saying “the APC is a house divided against itself. The APC is having irreconcilable differences among them. It will take the second coming of Christ to settle. The crisis is beyond redemption.

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