By Mick Oseji, Asaba
Violence erupted in parts of Oil bearing Delta State on Saturday as residents, especially registered voters, trooped out to cast their votes in the Governorship and State House of Assebly elections in the state.
In Mosogar, Ethiope West Local Government Area, Delta State three persons were reportedly shot dead while the house of a former Chairman of a local government council, Dr. Wilson Omene was razed.
It was not yet clear as of 3pm what led to the deadly violence, arson and shooting but sources said the deceased died shortly after a gun duel between security operatives and irate youths.
Also, in Evwreni, Ughelli North LGA, thugs took to violence and attacked INEC officials, destroying about three BVAS machines and other electoral materials in the area, according to report.
The Daily Crucible learnt some of the officials were said to have sustained injuries and voting was disrupted in many polling units in the area.
At Amukpe, Sapele Local Government Area, one of the youths lost his hand during a clash in one of the polling units in the area.
According to Vanguard in its report, voting for the governorship and state Assembly elections started early at various polling units across the state.
The polling materials arrived at the various RAC Centres on Friday and as at 7 am, officials of INEC had begun the distribution of the items to the various units.
There was high presence of security operatives in Asaba, the state capital, Ogwashi-Uku, Kwale, Oleh, Ozoro, Agbor, Ughelli, Obiaruku, Aboh, as
voting commenced between 8am and 8.30 am in the areas.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who voted at his unit 17, ward 02 (Eghoma Primary School), Owa-Alero in Ika North-East LGA at 9.50 am, noted that everything was working.
He said: “Everything is working perfectly here. But there are a few issues of persons unable to get to their units because of restrictions, but we hope they are able to meet up before the close of election.
“Security agents are on red alert because of reports of people planning to disrupt the exercise. Some people are trying to impersonate the military. So we are calling on the security agents to be on the look out. Everywhere appears to be very comfortable and calm.”
The governor’s daughter and House of Assembly candidate of the PDP for Ika North-East constituency, Marilyn Daramola, who also voted at the same centre with his father, expressed optimism that the party would triumph in both the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Delta State, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, who voted at Oha ward one, Unit 33, Osubi, Okpe Local Government Area of the State at exactly 9:30am, expressed optimism that he would win, adding that his party had worked so hard for it.
Oborevwori said it was also expected that the exercise would be properly conducted and peaceful across the state, stressing that every critical stakeholder must strive to further strengthen the democratic process in Nigeria.
The Speaker commended INEC for the early arrival of materials at the governorship and house of Assembly elections
Governorship candidate of the APC in Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who cast his vote at his Orogun Ward 2 Unit 19, Ughelli North LGA at 11:11am, expressed optimism that his party would win in the polls.
Omo-Agege said: “We believe that we are going to win at the end of the day, no doubt about that; this has been the feelers for more than a month and the momentum was there all along coming into the polls today, so l expect that at the end of the day, we would be declared winner.
“PDP entered into this contest with a determination to ensure that attacks are launched on polling units across the state, most especially in Delta Central to destroy the votes.
“We have received reports of those attacks in polling units in Evwreni, Ughelli South, Oteri and of course there are some mischief going on since last night in Gbaramatu and Oproza in Warri South West.
Also the governorship candidate of APGA, Chief Great Ogboru said: “Until this time, it has been peaceful. So let us see the situation later in the day. Let us hear the results if the uploading of the units results will take place before we can start to judge.
“But the Verification in the voting process was okay because the BVAS worked. My thumbprint was captured .
On their parts, the governorship candidates of the SDP and LP, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Mr. Ken Pela respectively, also expressed optimism that the would win the election.
Pela however said his enthusiasm had been dampened by reports of vote buying by some political parties and violence in some parts of the state.
Gbagi who is leading in the polling units counted in Oginibo, his hometown, said; “the time to liberate Delta has come”.