CANDIDATES of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaking with newsmen after casting their votes at their respective wards on Wednesday, they commended the commission and the electorate for the peaceful conduct of the poll, despite the high political tension created in the state before the period.
Obaseki told newsmen at his Unit 19, Ward 4, Benin, at about 10.30 a.m. that he was particularly impressed with the prompt commencement of the exercise across the state and the peaceful conduct of voters.
He expressed hope that the peace, large turnout of the electorate and adequate security that had characterised the exercise so far would be sustained to ensure that it ended peacefully.
On his part, Ize-Iyamu commended INEC and the electorate for the peaceful conduct of the poll.
The PDP candidate, who voted at 9.55 a.m. at Ighododo Primary School unit of Ward 5, Orhiomwon Local Government Area of the state, however, urged supporters to be vigilant and cautious, while they also monitor the process adequately.
According to him, “the PDP will more vigilant in the sorting and counting of the ballots,” adding that so far, the exercise had been peaceful.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole commended the electorate in the state for turning out in large numbers to cast their votes.
Oshiomhole, shortly after casting his vote at Unit 2, Ward 10, in his Iyamho community in Estako West Local Government Area of the state, at about 11.00 a.m., said “I am very impressed with the turnout of voters in these polling units. What is happening in these three polling units is a perfect example of what election should be.”
He commended INEC for adopting simultaneous accreditation and voting, which he described an improvement on the part of the commission.
Also speaking after casting his vote around 11.00 a.m. at Iyobosa Primary School unit of Ward 7 in Orhiomwon Local Government Area, the state deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu, told newsmen that the electoral process had remarkably improved from what it used to be.
Obudu expressed optimism that his party, APC, would win the election, adding that he was sure that the electoral process in Nigeria would improve to be like that of the developed world.
National chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who voted at Ward 2, Unit 2, Oredo Local Government Area, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the election.
“It is peaceful so far. This is the best turnout I have ever experienced. People are now keen to express their democratic functions and democracy has become totally widespread,” he said
He described the security put in place as lovely, saying, “all the security agencies have given us iron-clad assurances that there will not be no incident, at least no major incident.”
Former chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, called for peace among the people of the state.
He made the call after casting his vote at Uzenema Primary School, Urue-Uromi, in Esan North East Local Government Area of the state, at about 8.20 a.m.
The PDP chieftain expressed satisfaction with the timely arrival of electoral materials as well as the peaceful conduct of the exercise in the area so far.
However, there were cases of inducement of voters and outright sharing of cash ranging from N1,000 to N3,000 to voters.
While the election was largely peaceful with little skirmishes, Nigerian Tribune observed that inducement of voters was prevalent in all the 18 local government areas of the state.
In polling units visited, voters were seen collecting money from agents of political parties.
People were also seen running from their homes to the polling units to collect money, even as some youths engaged each other in open confrontation over issues relating to money.
It was drama in Ukoni polling centre in Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area of the state, when a man snatched a bag of money being distributed, apparently to induce prospective voters.
The money was being distributed to some voters who were waiting to be accredited before the man snatched the bag and bolted away.
In the process, many of the currency notes were scattered on the ground, leading to a scramble by those present to get their hands on some of them.
Attempt to catch the culprit to retrieve the money proved abortive as he disappeared into the crowd.
The turnout was, however, impressive across the state, as voters thronged the polling units to cast their votes in an election where accreditation and voting started simultaneously at about 9.00 a.m. in many places.
At a unit in Ward 8, Efandion, Uromi, voters, as at 2:30, could, however, not exercise their voting rights, owing to the malfunctioning of card readers and lack of generators to power them.
It was gathered that a staff of INEC at the unit insisted that she would not do anything until her supervisor arrived.