Voters today trooped out in large numbers at polling centres across Nigeria’s Edo state, where a high stake governorship election pits Nigeria’s opposition party candidate, Adams Oshiomhole and the ruling party candidate, Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere. There are other five minor contestants.
Oshiomhole, a former national labour leader and incumbent is widely favoured to win, but many Nigerians and voters in the state are apprehensive about the possibility of the agents of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to rig the polls in favour of the retired army general.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that voters turned out in large numbers with some arriving at the polling centres at 6a.m.
In Benin and nearby local government areas, prospective voters arrived at polling centres as early as 7a.m. waiting for electoral officials to arrive so that they could be accredited to vote.
In Aduwawa polling unit in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, some voters told NAN that they arrived at the centre at 7 o’clock to exercise their franchise.
Although the electoral officers had yet to arrive at the centre at 8.11 a.m., more than 150 prospective voters had queued up to be accredited for voting.
A voter, Mr Solomon Abangwe, said that he arrived at the station at 7.30 a.m.
At Oba Market, Urhokpota Hall, in Oredo Local Government Area, a large number of voters waited for election officials to be accredited to cast their ballots.
The situation was the same at Eyaen Ward 7 in Uhunwonde some party agents expressed satisfaction with the large number that waited to be accredited to vote.
An electoral official told NAN that because of the large population in the area, the centre was carved out into six voting units to take care of the population.
At Asoro Polling Station in Oredo Local Government Area, a prospective voter, Mrs Esehe Idehen, said she had been at the centre with 10 members of her family to exercise their franchise
“I ready to wait till 5 o’clock,’’ Idehen said in pidgin English.
Another voter, Mr Patrick Omoregie, said: “I came very early just as all other persons. Although the electoral officials are not here, we are ready to wait. ‘’
An agent of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Osazuwa Emokpae, said he arrived at the polling centre at 7.30p a.m and added that he was not worried that the election officials had not arrived at the centre.
However, the agent of the candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Chidubem Ijeaku, said that he was worried that if the officials did not arrive on time the people might leave.
At Garick Memorial Nursery/Primary School polling centre, the polling booth of the PDP candidate, Gen. Charles Arhiavbere, a voter, Rev. Sonny Ewerisima, said he arrived at the station at 6.a.m.
Meanwhile, accreditation of voters started in Ehor Uhunmwode Local Government Area, at 8a.m.
In Auchi in Etsaka West Local Government Area, the main market was closed as voters thronged to the polling centres to exercise their franchise.
The accreditation of voters began at 8a.m. in the area and went on peacefully