Governor of Delta State and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has assured Deltans that he would come tops at the Saturday polls.
His major contender, Chief Great Ogboru of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who spoke with journalists at Abraka after casting his vote at Ward 1, Unit 8, at noon, also gave assurances of emerging victorious at the poll.
Okowa, who spoke in his Unit 3 Ward 2, Omi Primary School, Owa-Alero, Ika North-East Local Government Area after casting his vote alongside other members of his family at around 8.40a.m, predicted his victory at the poll.
The governor wore white long sleeves shirt, white trousers, white baseball cap and a black pair shoes.
He was accompanied to the voting centre by his wife, Dame Edith and his children who voted at different polling units.
Speaking to journalists, he said: “by the grace of God, I will emerge victorious; I have partnered with Deltans, I have worked with them, and by God’s grace, a lot of them will vote for me.
“The only thing we are doing is to ensure that those who planned to use thugs to disrupt the elections will be handled by the security agencies because aside plans to disrupt the elections, it would be a no contest situation.
“So far, the electoral process is peaceful, and we pray to God that it remains peaceful; people are coming out in their large numbers to cast their votes, a lot of votes have been cast already despite the fact that it is still very early in the day; we hope that the voting process remains peaceful across the state.”
Speaking further, Okowa assessed INEC as having done well.
“I believe the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has done well; everything appears to be working well, but the day is just starting and of course, we are still perfecting our system but, the best thing is the effectiveness of the response to handle any challenge as they occur by the INEC officials.
“INEC did well to deploy a lot of youth corpers at each polling unit, that has made the job easy as they assist themselves, we can see that there is a lot of assistance to each other,” Governor Okowa noted.
The APC governorship candidate, Chief Ogboru, on his part, described the security situation as short of the expected standard.
He decried some pockets of violence in parts of riverine areas as well as Ughelli axis.
Earlier in the day, two APC supporters were injured when an orgy of violence erupted at a polling unit in Afiesere community, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Sources said the violence broke out following alleged moves by an agent of one of the political parties to sway eligible voters into voting their party.
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There was also a mild drama at Iyede Unit 8, Ward 2, Isoko North LGA as both APC and PDP supporters clashed over an allegation of manipulation of the voting process, even as electoral observers and journalists sighted in the unit were chased away from the ward.
At Iyede Ward 2, Unit 3, the polling unit was chaotic as some party agents alleged that PDP thugs chased away APC agents and supporters and other party’s supporters from the unit.
One of APC agents, who gave his name as Clement Omoemu, alleged that he was badly manhandled and chased away with security agents looking the other way.
Oghara-Iyede is the country home of Delta State Commissioner for Housing, Arch. Joe Ogeh.
Journalists on elections monitoring were also prevented from gaining access to Beneku Community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State.
Boat operators at the Ase creek said they got an order from above not to allow people into the community, except with a clearance from “above.”
It was, therefore, not clear if elections held in the community as of the time journalists left the creek.
Meanwhile, Hon Evans Ivwurie, House of Assembly member who is seeking re-election, has frown against the alleged snatching of ballot boxes by APC members in Ward 2, Unit 2 in Otorho Primary School, Abraka, adding that PDP agents were chased away from the polling unit.
He, therefore, called for the cancellation of the exercise at the polling unit.