Large voter turnout was reported across polling units in Edo State in the presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 25.
Across the polling units, voter accreditation and voting went on in a largely peaceful environment without any reports of violence.
However, there were reports of late arrival of materials and electoral officers in a few polling units, but as at the time of filing in this report, voting was ongoing in all the polling units visited by The Nigerian Observer.
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, cast his vote at Polling Unit 19, Emokpae Model Primary School, Oredo, in Oredo LGA of Edo State, and left at about 11:30am amidst heavy security presence.
The state Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, was also accredited and cast his vote at Azama Primary School, Unit 5, Ward 11 Jattu, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, at 10:47am.
In many other polling units visited by The Nigerian Observer, the process was peaceful.
At Oghede Secondary School, voting began in earnest at about 11:11am amid high voter turnout. However, some voters complained that the system ought to be faster.
At Osemwende Primary School, Oghoghobi, Unit 7 Ward 9, Ikpoba Okha LGA, accreditation of voters began at 11:14am in a peaceful environment.
There were, however, complaints among some voters regarding the transfer of voting units since they could not afford to go long distances to find their new units.
Accreditation and voting commenced at about 10:50 am at Unit 40, Ward 1, at The Nigerian Observer premises in Benin City. As at the time of reporting, only 35 out of 70 registered voters had presented themselves for accreditation and voting.
INEC officials arrived at 8:45am and began pasting the voters’ register at Unit 7, 8 Ezoti Primary School, Unit 9 in St. Paul Primary School and Unit 6 Ogbe Secondary School, all in Ward 1, Oredo Local Government Area.
At Unit 7, Ward 1, Ezoti Primary School, accreditation started at 9.30am after INEC assistant presiding officer explained the use of the BVAS machine to voters.
At open space by Aunty Maria Schools, Units 1-5 and 21, security agents and INEC officials were present as at 9:00am.
The Presiding Officer, Mr Ifeanyi Frank, a serving corps member, told The Nigerian Observer that sensitive electoral materials had been received and were all intact.
While pasting the names of accredited voters before the commencement of voting, Frank lamented that no provision was made for items like tables, canopies and chairs to work with. He, however, said that complaints had been made to the appropriate quarters and there was a promise that the items would be provided.
INEC officials arrived late at Egor Ward 1 Polling Unit 2, Asoro Grammar School. The PO, Medoy Samuel, said the bus conveying the INEC staff was delayed by issues around payment for the vehicle and fuel.
As at 09:21 am, some voters were yet to locate their polling units due to some changes in units.
At Agbado Primary School Ward 12, Unit 21, 23, 24, voting started at 9:00am and the process was peaceful. The voters was a mix of the aged and the young.
INEC officials and election materials arrived at Garrick Memorial School Field, Unit 18-21 at about 10:09am. Voters turned out in their numbers, but accreditation and voting were yet to begin as at 10: 09am.
At open space, Elama Palace Upper Adesuwa GRA 2, Unit 074, 075, voting started at 9:10am.
Inspector Etim Nyoug, a police officer stationed at the unit, said, “It’s been peaceful and orderly, no rancour.”
At Oghede Primary School, Unit 7, Ekehuan Road, accreditation of voters started at 10:00am.
The delay in the accreditation process left many voters fed up, but INEC officials at the unit blamed it all on the malfunctioning of available machines.
At open space opposite John’s Crown Garden (along 2nd Ugbor) Polling Unit 02/067, APC, PDP and Labour Party agents were present as voting started at 9:15am in a peaceful and coordinated manner.
Also at open space, Felicity Junction by Concord Road, Ward 1, Unit 54, voting went on peacefully and the voters were also orderly.