The Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) has returned the 22 chairmanship candidates of the People Democratic Party (PDP) as winners in last Saturday’s council elections across the 25 local government areas of the state.
Elections, however, did not hold in the two councils of Ughelli North, where the DSIEC office was razed, and Ethiope East as a result of violence.
Chairman of the commission, Mr. Mike Ogbodu, who supervised the declaration of results in Asaba Sunday, rescheduled the elections in the two councils for Tuesday.
Ogbodu also said the result for Ika South could not be declared due to the absence of the returning officer for the locality who was said to have been indisposed.
On the councillorship seats, Ogbodu said PDP clinched 424 seats, while APC won in only Ward 02 of Aniocha North Local Government Area.
He said, in accordance with Section 46(1) of the DSIEC Act, 59 councillors of the PDP were returned unopposed, adding that the postponement of the polls in Ughelli North and Ethiope East was backed by Section 33 (1&2) of the same Act.
Ogbodu added that the result of the councillorship elections for Otor-Owhe Ward 01 of Isoko North Local Government Area was yet to be declared owing to an order of the High Court in Delta State.
But reacting to the conduct of the polls Sunday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state alleged that at least three of its members were shot at and several others sustained matchete cuts during the local government elections.
The APC state chairman, Mr. Jones Erue, in a statement, described the local government elections organised by DIESEC as a sham and called for their total cancellation.
“The Delta State local council elections that took place on January 6, 2018, with Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) as the umpire, was a total sham that cannot stand the test of credible, free and fair elections as required by democratic principles.
“To let it stand would be that DSIEC has, in connivance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), perpetuated a greedy and political dynasty that is already gasping for life,” he said.
Erue noted that the elections were substantially non-compliant with the provisions set out in the DSIEC Act, recalling that sensitive election materials were not delivered as expected to most of the polling units where the actual elections were to take place.
He further alleged that where materials were delivered, they did not arrive on time, or were hijacked and re-directed along the way.
“It was observed upon close examination that the result sheets did not accompany the materials in most of the LGAs.
“Where result sheets were produced, they were in sharp contrast with the samples that were presented to our party officials during the DSIEC training exercise, and so were fake.
“Many returning officers were neither at the polling units to conduct the elections, nor to announce the outcome.
“For example, a DSIEC returning officer at Ozoro in Isoko North Local Government Area was arrested at a hotel annex in Ozoro facilitating illegal thumb-printing of votes, and was handed over to the Nigeria Police at Ozoro,” he stated.
The Delta APC chairman also observed that violence marred the elections in a large number of LGAs and wards, adding: “In fact, we gathered that the DSIEC office at Ughelli was burnt down while election materials were not issued.
“We are not shocked by the outcome of the elections because we had issued a note of caution previously, warning about the potential for active connivance between DSIEC and PDP officials or agents.”
Erue maintained that APC in Delta State was prepared for peaceful elections “but unfortunately the people were let down with DSIEC demonstrating to the whole world that it was unable to deliver in the conduct of peaceful elections on behalf of the people”.
He recalled that the PDP had been boastful that the APC had no political structures in the state, observing that the elections had proved that to be completely false.
“The bastardisation of these simple elections which ought to have been peaceful shows that PDP is now a dying party in the state, and that they were totally amazed by the level of preparedness, organisation and mobilisation that APC mustered across the entire state.
“There is no doubt that PDP is now experiencing a backlash from the masses, given the overall poor performance by its council officials and the state government that oversaw the councils.
“In all of this, we are most saddened that during the elections, at least three of our members were shot at in Ughelli South LGA, and not less than a dozen others were cut with machetes and injured by PDP thugs, just as numerous vehicles were damaged.
“We wish these gallant persons a swift recovery in the weeks ahead, just as we extend our deepest appreciation to them for standing up for what was right and just.
“We stand with them in their pain and by God’s grace, timely recovery,” he said.
Source: This Day