By Emma Amaize, Jimitota Onoyume, Festus Ahon , Godwin Oghre, Perez Brisibe and Ochuko Akuopha
Violence and non-availability of some sensitive voting materials marred the local government elections in some parts of Delta state yesterday.
An adhoc staff of the State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) was allegedly murdered by thugs in Onitsha-Ugbo , Aniocha local government area while the office of the commission was reportedly set ablaze in Ughelli local government.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Aniamaka Andrew, who confirmed the death, however, said the official slumped, stressing that he was not murdered as reported.. “He was not killed, he rather slumped”, he said.
In Ethiope east local government area, the elections were reportedly suspended and materials returned to the DSIEC office in Asaba. Dr Ovie Ughwanogho, the state leader of All Progressive Grand Alliance, said it was a shame that the exercise was suspended, alleging connivance between the electoral body and security agencies to thwart the will of the people. “We will resist it”, he said.
Despite the burning of the DSIEC office in Ughelli, a former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, said he voted at his Oginibo ward and enjoined Deltans to perform the civic responsibility in an atmosphere devoid of violence.
Meanwhile, immediate past Commissioner for Youth in Delta State, Comrade Omolubi Newewumi, staged a comeback to the PDP, dumping the APC.
Omolubi, a strong grassroots mobilizer in Sapele local government, who decamped to APC shortly after the governorship election that brought in Senator Okowa as governor, announced his return after a closed-door meeting with Okowa.
The member representing Warri at the House of Representatives, Daniel Reyenieju, said his comeback would add more value to the party in the state.
The election was characterized by low turn out of voters in Isoko North, Isoko South, Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West Local Government Areas.
At Isoko South, Ndokwa West and Ukwani Local Government Areas, distribution of materials to the various units started between 7 am and 7. 30
There was, however, late distribution of materials to some of the polling units at Isoko North and Ndokwa East Local Government Areas, with some DSIEC officials blaming the development on insufficient security personnel.
Meanwhile, three persons have been reportedly arrested in connection with the burning down of the DSIEC office in Ughelli.
A senior officer at the Ughelli Area Command of the police said the suspects had been taken to the headquarters of the state police command in Asaba for investigation.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The youths attacked policemen on ground. But we were able to arrest three of them.”
Confirming the arrest, the police spokesman Aniamaka, declined further comments on the matter.