By SIMON ELEGBULEM, Benin City
ALL is set for the Local Government Council election in the 18 Local Government Councils of Edo state today, as the Edo state police command deploy over five thousand policemen across the 18 Local Government Council of the state.
The Edo government yesterday announced restriction of movements from 6:00am to 5:00pm during which the elections will hold today.
It said in a statement that “Only security personnel, electoral officers, accredited election observers, accredited press men and others on essential duty are exempted from this restriction order.
Meanwhile, thse embattled chairmanship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ikpoba-Okhai Local government Council of the state, Chief Edegbe Ugbogbo was yesterday quized by the police over allegation of threat to life against Mr Amos Omoregie, who is laying claim to the PDP ticket in the area.
It would be recalled that the High Court in Benin had earlier granted an injunction restricting Chief Ugbogbo from parading himself as chairmanship candidate of the PDP in the area. Mr Omoregie emerged as the authentic candidate of the PDP in the area at the congress conducted on the 9th of February, but was surprisingly replaced by Chief Ugbogbo.
The implication is that the PDP may have no chairmanship candidate in Ikpoba Okhai Council in today’s election. Meanwhile, the state Police Commissioner, Mr Folunso Adebanjo has vowed that his men will not tolerate any form of thuggery in today’s election and warned candidates to admonish their supporters against any form of violence.
According to him, “What happened in Fugar last week will not be allowed to happen again. We will not allow thugs to destroy the election and that is why we are warning our political leaders to warn their supporters to shun violence. The police will continue to maintain its neutrality and we appeal that people should play according to the rules because anyone caught making trouble will regret ever being in this state”.
Saturday Vanguard also learnt that soldiers have been drafted to areas according to security reports may experience violence.The Edo State Independent National Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) said arrangements for the distribution of election materials to the entire 18 Local Government Councils have been concluded. Spokes woman of the Commission Mrs Uwagboi, said election materials will get to each polling center early today.
According to her, “everything is ready for the election. We have ensured that materials get to centers as at when due. We are only advising politicians to play according to the rules to avoid violence. For us, we are ready for a free and fair election”.
Debunking the allegation by the PDP that ACN members were recruited as adhoc staff, she asserted that “the Commission has flushed out all those identified as partisan politicians when the new Chairman came in. So it is not true, we have staff that are not partisan and they have undergone training on how to conduct free and fair election. This is a new branded EDSIEC and it’s determined to conduct an election that will be hailed by every one”.
Saturday Vanguard learnt that there is still tension in Fugar Etsako Central where two persons were shot dead last week during a clash between Action Congress of Nigeria youths and that of the PDP. It was learnt that some former Niger Delta militants have invaded the area with a view to cause mayhem. The ACN had earlier raised an alarm over plot to disrupt the election in the area due to the feelers by the top shots of the PDP in the area that they may not win the election.
Governor Oshiomhole led the ACN campaign in the 18 Councils and reminded them of the rot in the state during the PDP administration and urged voters to support the ACN so that the incoming chairmen will replicate the developmental strides of the state government at the grass root.
The the PDP was not visible in most of the councils accept areas they believe they can flex muscles such as Esan North East, Chief Anenih’s domain, Etsako Central and Ovia North East where Chief Gabriel Igbinedion hails from.
In Ovia North East both the ACN and the PDP fielded women. Mrs Lucy Omagbon, former Woman Leader of the PDP in the state will be slugging it out with Mrs Elizabeth Edonwa-nagbon of the PDP. She picked the PDP ticket after she dumped the ACN when she could not pick the chairmanship ticket of the party.
She will be banking on Chief Igbiendion’s support but Mrs Omagbon is expected to triumph the same manner she defeated the Igbiendion’s in the area during the governorship election.
Etsako Central is where the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadohme and the chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Dan Orbih hails from.
However, Vanguard learnt that security will be biffed up in Fugar, Ovia North East and Uromi. As the political leaders move to their various communities, the ACN is expected to win in the entire 18 Local Government Councils despite the PDP’s last minute battle to win in some Local Government councils.
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