… As angry mob set ablaze DSIEC office at Ughelli
By Shedrack Onitsha, Atevure Princes & Akpos Oghenetega
Wild spread violence, non-availability of original results sheets and other electoral malpractice marred the Delta State local council election held on Saturday across the 25 council areas of the state.
Members of the leading opposition political party in the state, the All Progressive Congress, APC, resisted alleged attempt by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, to conduct the election without ward collection result sheets leading to crisis in most part of the state.
Our reporters who monitored the exercise across the state, reported most places visited, electoral materials arrived late and voting didn’t commence in most parts of the state until about 1pm, while most local government in Delta Central, electoral materials hijacked.
DSIEC office at Ughelli set ablaze by angry mob
Angry mob allegedly razed down the Ughelli office of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, following the discovery of by some APC party loyalist of what they termed as “non-availability of original result sheets” for conduct, leading to protest.
Trouble started at about 8:40am today, when some youths who had kept vigil at DSIEC office learnt that there was no results sheets for the election; demanding that until results sheets are provided, materials for the conduct of the election should not be moved.
This came to a halt when the Returning Officer, RO, one Mr Isaac Ajekuko could not give reasonable explanation of the whereabouts of the result sheets for the election when asked by the youths, a situation that spur the youths who are mostly electorate according to a source to stage a protest.
Attempt by the police to disperse the youths failed, and they later regroup in what appears as a mob action and lunch attack at the DSIEC office where voting materials for Ughelli North were kept and set it ablaze.
ADVOCATE correspondent reported that efforts were however not made to put off the fire, as security personnel posted to the guard the place was overwhelmed as they watched helplessly.
Speaking on the incident, a senior police officer at the division said: “We only used minimal force to disperse the crowd, but we are handling the situation.”
DSIEC adhoc staff killed, others injured
Meanwhile, unidentified DSICE adhoc staff, was allegedly killed by suspected political thugs during his official duties at Onitsha-Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Aniamaka, when contacted confirmed the incident, said the yet unidentified man was not killed, but rather, he “slumped and died.”
According to him, “an autopsy would be carried out to ascertain the cause of death,” he added.
The tail of violence was not different at Ughelli South LGA, as political thugs allegedly loyal to one of the political party went berserk at Otu-Jeremi, on the eve of the election; exerting mayhem with three APC members allegedly shot and wounded, and more than 10 persons wounded with machete cuts.
According to an APC chieftain, Chief Brighton Obiokor who is the party chairman in the local government, stated three vehicles with registration numbers; LAGOS JJJ980AP, EDO AE255EHR and EDO URM382QT were damaged.
Chief Obiokor in a press statement said, “As at 12 noon, one of the injured Mr Ego Gbekuhor is in critical condition, while the others, Mr Ohwovedirin Ubukeroro and Mr Michael Ighofiota are undergoing treatment for gun-shot wounds.
“As a result of this incidence, and lack of result sheets, the election was unable to hold in Ughelli South LGA.
“Therefore, any purported results declared for this LGA is null and void,” he added.
At Ethiope West violence was also allegedly unleashed on the electorate particularly at Jesses and Mosogar were it was reported that thugs loyal to the two major political parties engaged each other in a war-like fight leaving many with machete cuts.
However, for the late arrival of electoral materials and non-availability of results sheets in most parts of the state, the election was relatively peaceful in parts of Delta North and South.