…Obaseki calls for relaxation of security to allow eligible voters exercise their franchise

The House of Assembly election in Edo State started smoothly with election officials and sensitive election materials arriving at polling units in record time, a great improvement over that of the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly elections.

At the various polling units visited, it was observed that accreditation and voting started on time without hitches with the presence of party agents and security personnel.

It was also observed that there was a heavy security presence around the Benin metropolis in compliance with Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba’s directive of restriction of movement during the election period.

However, voter turnout was low at the various polling units visited.

At Units 7 and 8, ward 1, Ezoti Primary School, and Unit 9 St. Paul Primary School in Ward 1, Oredo local government area, INEC officials arrived at 7.35 am and accreditation began at 8.30 am. It was, however, observed that only a few voters were seen during the visit.

Voters turn out at Unit 7 and 8, ward 1, Ezoti primary school in Oredo LGA. Photo: Ese Amadasun

Units 42 and 43, Ward 4 along Mission Road, which witnessed electoral incidents occasioned by ballot box snatching during the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly elections, were peaceful  as at the time of the visit. INEC officials were on ground with sensitive materials awaiting voters who were yet to arrive at the polling units as of 9:24 am.

At Unit 54, ward 1, Felicity Junction, Concord road, voting commenced at 8:30 am, but the turnout of voters was a far cry from what was experienced two weeks ago in the Presidential election.

At Units 27, 28, 29, 30, 71, and 72, Uyiosa Primary School, Uzebu Quarters Ward 1, and Units 2 and 3, Ward 5, I.C.E Oredo Local Government Area, voting was ongoing peacefully with low voter turnout.

At Emokpae Primary School, Ward 5 with 10 polling units, where Gov Obaseki, alongside his wife, Betsy, cast his vote, the turnout was considerably low compared to the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

The Governor who voted at Unit 19, Ward 5 at 10:20 am amidst tight security and praises from voters, appealed to security agencies to relax the lockdown in the state to allow eligible voters to come out to cast their votes.

Governor Obaseki made this appeal while speaking with newsmen immediately after casting his vote in his polling unit in Benin City.

The governor, who was not happy with the turnout of voters, said the extreme security measure that has been taken should be relaxed, adding that the total lockdown of the city was preventing people from accessing their polling units to cast their votes.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Projects, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the election has been very peaceful and calm. He also said that the security situation should be relaxed to allow voters to come out to vote.