Saturday, November 21, 2015 1:45 pm
There was high turnout of voters as accreditation for the Kogi gubernatorial elections began across the state on Saturday morning.
On a drive from Lokoja to Odu Ogbogaya, the home town of Governor Idris Wada who is also the PDP candidate, it was observed that people are already for accreditation to start as early as 7.30 am. Meanwhile, there is high turnout of voters of voters at Odu Ogbogaya ward 001 where Governor Wada is being expected for accreditation.
The governor is yet to show up as at 9.45 am when this report was complied. However , it was observed that there were minor hitches with the accreditation as the readers keep rejecting some fingers.Also, the security presence is very low and electoral officials are finding it difficult to control voters who are long queues of three rows.
Sea of cameramen and journalists are waiting for Wada to show up for accreditation at his Odu Ogboyaga ward 001 polling unit.
The governor’s expansive mansion is just about 500 metres to the polling unit.
Kogi state Labour Party governorship election candidate Philip Salawu during his accreditation alleged that a particular political party was jamming the card readers in some polling units to justify manual accreditation so that they can rig the election in the area.
But in the polling units visited by our reporter so far, there has been no complain of card readers’ failure.
At last, Governor Wada arrives for accreditation around 11.23 in a convoy of three SUVs. The Governor who was dressed in a sparkling white agbada with a blue cap to match was accompanied by some of his aides. He was being immediately attended to by electoral officers as he was not asked to join the queue.
“Something funny is going on here,” angry Wada blurted out as wife, Halimat can’t find name of voters’ register. Incidence from was filled by INEC officials who complained that they don’t even have enough of such forms, though they need to fill it for many people having problems with their accreditation. The Governor said he will take up the issue with the REC.
Prince Abubakar Audu, APC governorship candidate was accredited at exactly 12:18pm, at unit 010, Ogbonicha ward.
There is high presence of security personnel patrolling the streets of Lokoja to maintain peace and enforce the restriction of movement order. A Police personnel who pleaded not to be named, however, complained of lack of payment of their allowances, saying it was subjecting them to hardship.
A total of 183 voters were accredited at open space, Odidoko, PU 001, Ogugu ward 3, Olamaboro LGA
1.30pm: Voting starts in many parts of Kogi State
Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC candidate votes at unit 010, Ogbonicha ward, in Ofu LGA. he arrives in a convoy of exotic vehicles to vote. He came in an Escalade Suburban and was done within five minutes.
Kogi deputy governor Yomi Awoniyi cast his ballot at Ward 4, Unit 4, Mopa in Mopa-Amuro Local Government Area of the state.
Awoniyi, said that the electoral arrangement in the state was the first of its kind, noting that ‘’ everything has been calm and peaceful except at ward 7 Unit 1, where there was little crisis which has been resolved’’.
NAN monitoring the accreditation of voters before voting began in all LGAs said the card readers worked ‘effectively’ in all local councils.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited some polling units in different parts of the state observed that not much hitches had been recorded by INEC officials handling the card readers.
Some party agents and election officials who spoke with NAN in separate interviews also confirmed that there was great improvement in the effectiveness of the machines compared to the last general elections.
A visit to polling units in Okene, Ogori-Magongo, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Kabba-Bunu, Mopa-Muro, Yagba West and Yagba East local government areas of the state indicated that the machines were working well.
NAN reports that only a few challenges were encountered with the machines in Kabba/Bunu, Ijumu and Ajaokuta local government areas of the state.
However, an INEC official in Egbada-Egga in Ijumu Local Government Area, Mr Michael Obinna, assured that the hitches associated with a few of the machines were being addressed.
It will recalled that about 4,000 card reading machines had been deployed by INEC for the governorship election in the state.
The commission said the machines had been ‘’configured, tested and ready to go’’.
Meanwhile, the election has been generally peaceful across the state.
After voting, APC senator representing Kogi Central spoke with newsmen: