Eligible voters in Delta State will head to the polls today, Saturday March 6, 2021 to pick the next local government chairmen and councilors across the 25 council areas in what pundits say is expected to be a test race for 2023.
BIGPENNGR reports that the two longtime rivalry parties in the state who are squaring off for the race are the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC).
It was gathered that some of the registered political parties are either ‘settled’ or have back out of the race.
About 48 Political Parties in State had recently filed a lawsuit challenging the conduct of the March 6, 2021 Local Government Election by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSEIC) following their reported exclusion from the ballot.
The lawsuit was filed by All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) and New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGPN) on behalf of others at the Federal High Court, Asaba. It was clear if the suit would see the light of the day or the parties have chosen the option of settlement but both PDO and APC had engaged in war of words of alleged plot to subvert the ballot.
BIGPENNGR reports that PDP and APC had alleged plans to cause violence and rig the election. PDP had during the week in a statement by it’s publicity secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza accused the APC of plans to instigate violence during the election.
Osuoza had said the opposition party was not prepared for the election, adding that candidates of the APC failed to campaign because they had nothing to showcase.
He said the APC at both the state and federal levels has failed Deltans in all ramifications, and urged the electorates to cast their votes for PDP candidates in Saturday’s local elections.
But in a counter statement, the publicity secretary of the APC, Sylvester Imonina, Esq, had said that PDP hurriedly raised the alarm of planned violence because the APC uncovered the ruling party’s plot to compromise the process in collusion with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC).
Imonina in a statement late Wednesday, had alleged that the electoral umpire has been compromised by the state government with the recent presentation of eight Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) to members of the commission.
According to reports, contrary to the PDP claims that APC failed to campaign, Imonina stated that his party’s candidates vigorously went round their areas of jurisdiction to seek for votes, adding that the outpouring of support from the grassroots indicated that Deltans have rejected the PDP.
Meanwhile as Deltans prepared to exercise their franchise in today’s local government election, the Commissioner of Police Delta State CP Ari Muhammed Ali had enjoined stakeholders and the political parties to play by the rules.
The CP gave the warning in a joint security meeting with sister agencies which includes the NIGERIA ARMY, NSCDC, IMMIGRATION, ROAD SAFETY AND NDLEA, as well as DSIEC and the representatives of the two major political parties in the state – PDP and APC.
In attendance was the chairman DSIEC, CP Mike Ogbodu (Rtd), and the other security agencies were duly represented, the PDP state organizing secretary, Chief Sunday Onoriode represented the PDP while the APC state vice chairman Chief George Okafor represented the APC.
The CP assured all present that all modalities has been put in place to have a hitch free election.
In the meeting, he disclosed that 8,292 Police men have been deployed, special constabularies are to assist police while about 3,000 personnel from other sister agencies have all been deployed to various polling unit, according to a statement by Acting Police Public Relation Officer, DSP. Edafe Bright.
The CP stated that, voters are to park their vehicles at least 300meters away from the polling unit, while also stressing that there will be a joint patrol team comprising of the Police, NSCDC, and the Nigeria Army to patrol round the state in a bid to ensure that all the government directives are strictly adhered to.
He advised all other security agencies to ensure that their men slated to be at various polling unit are deployed Friday 5/3/2021, so that they will be at their polling unit as early as 0800 hours on Election day.
The DSIEC Chairman also informed the police and other agencies present that student writing NECO exams should be allowed to move during the elections, as it is a national assignment, provided they present a valid means of identification.
The Commissioner also advised the representative of both the PDP and APC to talk to their supporters, to ensure a hitch free election. In their response, they said they have warned their supporters, and noted that election is not do or die affair.