Voters across the 18 local government areas of Edo State yesterday turned out in their numbers to cast their votes to elect council chairmen and councillors for 192 wards in the state.
Reports indicate that it was practically a walkover for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), boycotted the election.
Ten political parties contested in the election which was generally peaceful with voters at most of the polling units filing out to exercise their franchise.
Voters turned out early in many voting centres but electoral materials came late in some of the centres visited, even as voters turnout was low in some of the centres.
At Garrick Memorial Secondary voting centre, Oredo Ward 1, Igbesamwan Primary School voting centre, Oredo Ward 9, Agbado Primary School voting centre, Oredo Ward 12 and Emokpai Primary School voting centre, where the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki voted at 12.30 pm, the election was peaceful.
At Ologbosere Primary School voting centre, Ikpoba-Okha Ward 7, with 39 units, the turnout of voters was impressive, just as it was at Itohan Secondary School voting centre, Ikpoba-Okha Ward 6.
Speaking shortly after casting his vote, Governor Obaseki said that in most units and wards, the number of people that had defected from PDP to APC had been many.
“I think it is logical because every politician aspires from his unit and if you do not give him the opportunity he will seek it from outside. So that was what happened.
“We can confidently say that the opposition party is non-existent in Edo State. It has been peaceful and orderly.
“This is a precursor to 2019. Edo State as you see it is on lockdown for APC. So, maybe the contest will be outside Edo State but Edo State is an APC state.
“The only incident we heard of is in Egor and the situation has been taken care off. I don´t see any low turnout, what has happened is that the councillors themselves, the candidates, have gone out to mobilize people.
“I had challenged them that the votes they obtained in their election must be bigger than mine when I ran for election.
“I have been monitoring the distribution of materials since morning, reports reaching me says that things have gone on smoothly”.
Also speaking after voting at Iyamho in Etsako West Local Government Area, the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the PDP had finally back been liquidated in the state, adding that he was satisfied that the PDP accepted defeat without a blow.
“You can see people are celebrating democracy at the grassroots. They are more interested in local elections because that is the man they can see everyday. You can see people are keen to vote.
“With this election, we have just completed the liquidation of the PDP. There is no further proof of that liquidation other than that they have on their own admitted defeat. They don’t regard the people who vote for them at the grassroots. They have my sympathy.
“We have demystified them and entrenched one man one vote which is an area they don’t have competence. They are not used to voting, they are used to writing results. It shows for them they are ready to spend in the big elections; that they are not interested in the elections for local people. This reveals their character. I feel fulfilled that in my lifetime, the PDP surrendered without a blow.
“Their going to court was an excuse to their members that they are alive.”
Also commenting on the election, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Esq, expressed satisfaction at the large turnout of voters despite initial logistics problems which caused delay in arrival of voting materials.
On his part, APC leader in Esan North East, Hon Joe Okojie, described the election as free and peaceful, noting that the exercise would mark the replication of development at the grassroots as seen at the state level.