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Edo Governorship Election 2016 – LIVE UPDATES

A voter casting his vote at the Edo election
Nineteen candidates are vying for the ticket to the Government House. But the main contest is seen to be between Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress, the ruling party in the state, and Andrew Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party.
There’s only one female governorship candidate, Tracy Agol, the 44-year-old Peoples’ Party of Nigeria aspirant.
Seven political parties have women as their deputy governorship candidates.
Edo State has a total of 1,925,105 registered voters; 192 Registration Areas (RAs); 2,627 Polling Units (Pus); and 4,011 Voting Points (VPs).

A total of 25,000 police officers were deployed across the state to ensure peace and security during the polls, while 44 observer groups were accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission as election monitors.
PREMIUM TIMES’ Josiah Oluwole and Ben Ezeamalu are in the state to bring you live, minute-by-minute updates of the election as it unfolds in the 18 local government areas of the state.


Voting material have arrived at Polling Unit 005 in Benin.
An INEC adhoc staff explains the voting process to prospective voters at a primary school in Benin.
“The process has changed. Now after accreditation, you vote immediately.
“Voting starts by 8 am and stops at 2pm. Those who are in the queue when it’s 2pm will be allowed to cast their votes.”

At PU 001 in Asoro Primary School, Benin, a party agent attempted to tell people to vote for her party.
Chaos ensued.
Eghosa Arase, a voter, said everything was fine until the agent began canvassing for her party.
“The election is going peacefully, but some certain things is happening, some other members of some party, they are trying to cause crisis though we’ve tried to bring everything down.
“When you want to canvass, you have to canvass at home before you come here.”
PREMIUM TIMES found out that one of the major parties was giving out N2,000 to have people vote for its candidate.
80-year-old Alice Akpaha arrived at the polling unit with her temporary voters card and was told she couldn’t vote.
“They’ll give you the one you can use in 2019,” a party agent told her.

Voting has commenced at PU 021, Emokpae Primary School, Benin.

Godwin Obaseki, the APC candidate, arrives at his polling unit to cast his vote and shouts of ‘next governor, next governor’ rents the air.
Mr. Obaseki joins the queue to vote.

Mr. Obaseki, speaking in Pidgin English, said he is impressed with the voter turnout at his polling unit.
“Na my papa area where dem born me. So a lot of my family dey around here and everybody dey happy say governorship candidate come from their own area,” he said.
Mr. Obaseki is queued behind his wife. There are still 26 people before them.
“The queue for my unit is still very long, it will take some time but I no mind at all. Everything dey very calm, peaceful, no trouble at all.”
Peter Nwadichi, an election monitor and the Coordinator, Network on Good Governance, told PREMIUM TIMES that “The process has been peaceful in the sense that materials came on time. As we speak people are being accredited, voting is taking place simultaneously.”
“For now, INEC has gotten it right. The card readers have not malfunctioned, they are working perfectly for now. We have not seen anybody that complained that the card reader is giving them problem, so let us just assume that the card reader process is going on smoothly.”

PDP candidate, Andrew Ize-Iyamu, yet to vote at his Iguododo village.
He took out time to move around his community greeting elders and community leaders.
Voting commenced in the area AT about 8.30 a.m. and everywhere is calm and peaceful.
While doing this, cameras were not allowed to take pictures.

Mr. Obaseki voted at exactly 10.30 a.m., one hour after joining the queue.
Afterwards, he told journalist he had confidence in INEC conducting a free and fair poll.
“We’d had an isolated incident from somewhere in Edo Central but I think that is being handled.
“My expectation is that at the end of the day, the exercise will be peaceful because what is important is that we don’t lose lives, we don’t spill blood because of election. My hope is that we a very peaceful election and at the end of the day we strengthen our electoral process.”

APC Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, arriving and casting his vote at PU001, Staff Training School, Benin.

Mr. Oyegun after voting:
“I am very pleasantly surprised because this is the best turnout, I’ve always voted here, this is the best turnout I’ve ever experienced. It presumes that something good is about to happen, that people are keen to express their democratic options.
“It’s peaceful so far, I’ve been watching on TV.”
At the PU where he voted, PREMIUM TIMES observed APC members compiling a list and giving out money (a beneficiary said it was N10,000 each) to voters. A fight almost broke out in the process.
When Mr. Oyegun was confronted with the development, he replied:
“When I look at a place like this I don’t know how you can give someone money. How do you know somebody has voted, given how secret it truly is, nobody will know how you’ve thumb printed.
“Please is there somebody sharing money let me go to him and take my own.”
On the security arrangement for the election, the APC chairman described it as “lovely.”
“Well, I’m national chairman of the party and it was something that was of grave concern for us all the time. All the security agencies have given us iron clad assurance that there will be no incident, at least, no major incident.”

Matthew Urhoghide, senator representing Edo Central, after voting at PU 004, George Idaa Model Primary School in Benin, said the issue of vote-buying by the APC should be nipped in the bud.
“There is criticisms for some of the things going on, particularly the horse trading and the haggling, the touting that is going on,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
“It’s very obvious in this Unit 4 and, of course, I think this is obscene. The APC is doing it with a whole lot of impudence.”

But for a quick security intervention, the safety of election observers would have been jeopardized, as thugs tried to disrupt voting activities at Unit 26 and 27 at Iduenbo Ward, Orhiowon Local Government Area.
The scene of the skirmish was not far from Iguododo, the village of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Officials of Cleen Foundation were at the unit to observe the election when they observed some of the thugs create a scene.
As they tried to take pictures, the thugs assailed them, but they fled in their vehicle leaving one of them behind.
One of the officials, Chigo Okoro, told PREMIUM TIMES that the thugs pursued them until they got to Iguododo. He said they were rescued by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The security officials immediately escorted the observers back to the scene of the crisis to secure the life of the Cleen official left behind.
When PREMIUM TIMES got to the unit, calm had returned.

The Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Edo governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, voted in his Iguododo community at about 10 a.m., on Wednesday, praising the conduct of the election so far.
Mr. Ize-Iyamu, who did not queue for his turn when he arrived at his unit 26, Ward 5, voting point, was immediately given the chance to exercise his franchise as soon as he arrived.
He said the exercise was going smoothly and that the card readers within his community were working perfectly well.
He, however, expressed doubts that the same was witnessed in order centres, as telephone networks were so bad he could not reach out to his agents to determine the state of things.
He expressed hope that the peaceful conduct would continue throughout the election.
Despite security presence at the polling units, transactions on buying and selling of votes continued unhindered in some units monitored on Wednesday.
PREMIUM TIMES observed at Igueke community, in Orhiowon Local Government Area, a crowd of young men distributing cash to influence voting in the early hours of Wednesday.
Some of the voters at unit 26 and 27 in Iduenbo Ward, would first visit the distributor of the cash encircled by members of the group before going to queue for voting.
In Auchi, Etsakor West local government, the practice is rampant, as cash was distributed openly to voters.
Premium Times gathered that the voters first received N1000 before queuing. They got a balance of N1000 after voting for the candidate who paid the money.
An observer who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday said the practice was rampant at units 7, 9 and 10 Ward 1.
“As I speak to you now, they are doing it and as I talk to you, they are hearing me talking to you about,” he said.
But the Social Democratic Party has lamented the use of funds to buy votes in the election.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Oshiobugie Bonvist, said he had observed the buying of votes himself at different polling units.
“The election is very peaceful and orderly except the buying of votes,” Mr. Bonvist said.
“They are sharing N2000 each and I observe that it is the ruling APC that is doing it right now.”
He noted that the election is going well and hoped that it would remain so until the end of the election.

A press statement by the PDP
We have become aware that senior members of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), in collusion with certain staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have started writing fake & fictitious results as part of their plan to manipulate the Edo State Gubernatorial Election which is taken place today.
2. We are aware that these APC members are working in collusion with Amina Zakari, an INEC national official; Imoudu Sule, Edo State INEC PRO, the Delta State REC, and the National Deputy Director of Operations.
3. We are also aware that these officials have distributed millions of Naira to the Local Government Electoral Officers to get them to write false & fictitious results in favour of APC even before votes are cast.
4. It is necessary to warn the Nigerian public that our Party will resist any attempts by the Ruling Party to subvert the will of the people by any engagement in the substitution of electoral materials.
5. We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to counsel INEC and the Ruling Party to refrain from acting in a manner that may lead to the breakdown of law and other.
6. May God bless Edo State. May God bless Nigeria.

Violence in Irua
Violence broke out as voting progressed on Wednesday at Ikekato Ward 4, Unit 1, at Irua, Esan Central, as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress clashed during voting.
The attackers were reportedly of the PDP, and the area is dominated by the party’s supporters.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the violence also spread to units 1, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of the same Ward.
It was also learnt that security officials intervened to calm the situation, but the threats were still there as the thugs often return as soon as the policemen were gone.
The Chairman of the APC in the state, Anslem Ojezua, is from the Ward where the violence has been recorded.
He told PREMIUM TIMES on the phone that although the police had intervened, the threats were still very imminent.
He said the thugs who he described as PDP’s, had been unleashing violence on voters when they realized that the party they support was losing at the unit.
“They came and began to attack individuals, breaking their heads and disrupting the process,” Mr. Ojezua said.
“The police are not doing enough, they need to do more. Just telling people that they should not fight is not enough, they need to arrest some of them.
“As I speak to you, there is movement, when the security agencies said there should be no movement.
“These people are going about freely and causing problems. The process is being threatened if the security agencies don’t do something about right now.”

Our reporter on the ground identified APC agents as distributing money in Auchi while PDP agents distibuted in Orhiowon.

Ize-Iyamu protests presence of El-Rufai, Ambode in Benin
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has protested the presence of the governors of Lagos and Kaduna States, Akinwumi Ambode and Nasir El-rufai, in Edo State.
He said their presence in the state was worrisome in the face of the restriction placed on movement of persons within the state.
“We are also aware that the governor’s of Lagos and Kaduna States, Ambode and El-rufai, are also in Benin,” he said.
“This is worrisome. If the security agencies can declare restriction of movement even for those in the state, we are wondering why two governors not from Edo State will relocate to our state.
“We think that their reasons cannot be genuine. We have gone through the period of campaigning and we expect Edo people will be left alone to vote.”
He also said that the PDP had written to the Inspector General of Police on the several arrest and harassment of supporters, and had received assurances that the police in the state would be called to order.
“You know they have been using the security agencies to harass our people even till last night trying to arrest them, detain them in any flimsy excuses,” Mr. Ize-Iyamu said.
“But we have spoken to their superiors who have assured us that those who are doing so are doing it on their own and they would call them to order. For now we are satisfied with that assurance.”
But the APC has replied Mr. Ize-Iyamu, saying his complaints have no effect as the governors did not influence the process of election in any way.
“We have finished campaigns and I don’t know what their presence will do to the election,” Anslem Ojezua, Chairman of APC in Edo State, said.
“Who does it better than the PDP? They do it better. The governors have nothing to do with the election.
“Do they have any evidence that these two gentlemen have influenced the process in anyway?”

Voting has ended in several polling centres across Benin.
It was peaceful at all the centres visited.
An INEC official at Ward 11, Ministry of Lands office, said they’d start sorting and counting of votes at 2 p.m.
At Uselu, the convoy of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, patrolling across the major roads, stopped to arrest travellers on their way to Lagos.
“Don’t seize the vehicle. Let them park and wait till it’s 6 o’clock.”

Although there is a restriction order on movement of persons and vehicles, these appear not to be working several hours before the close of elections.
Because the election has been largely peaceful, security has been relaxed and some of the road blocks mounted by the military in strategic points have been dismantled.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that residents are eager to return to their businesses as they are seen walking freely asking for a free ride to the city as commercial vehicles are yet to venture out.
Soldiers abandoned military blockade in middle of elections.
Most of the security checkpoints mounted by soldiers have been left open even though the election was still ongoing.
Soldiers had either completely left the places or are hiding under shades where they are not seen while vehicles pass freely.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, observed few places where the military were still on duty.

Results from various polling units have started coming in.
APC in close run in Ordo
Ward 11, Unit 17
APC 103
PDP 81
Ward 11, Unit 19
APC 98
PDP 95
Ward 11, unit 20,
APC 110
PDP 73
Ward 11,unit 21
APC 103
PDP 81

APC politicians openly canvassing money for votes
Several politicians and members of the All Progressives Congress openly canvassed for votes during the election, checks by PREMIUM TIMES showed.
At a polling unit in Asoro Primary School, Benin, an APC politician would squeeze N2,000 into the palm of a prospective voter before he casts his vote.
At PU 001, Staff Training School, Benin, a fight almost broke out while the APC members were compiling a list and giving out money (a beneficiary said it was N10,000 each) to voters.
Yusuf Shamsudeen, an observer who had been to Esan North, Esan West, Etsako West, Etsako North, among others said he witnessed some of the vote-for-money incidents.
“One particular polling unit I visited in Esan West, we overhead one APC politician saying ‘vote for APC and collect N2,000,'” said Mr. Shamsudeen, Senior Programme Officer, at Centre for Democracy and Development.
“Similar cases happened in some other polling units in which you’ll see somebody who will be called ‘Chairman’ and immediately people vote they’ll be moving around with the chairman and they will just go to a particular corner.
“You can see politicians playing a major role in terms of influencing the voting pattern in most of these local governments that I visited today.”

PDP’s Ize-Iyamu lied, Ambode is Overseas – Lagos Government
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday dismissed allegations made by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu alleging that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai were in Edo State for the election.
In a statement signed by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, the government described the allegations by the PDP candidate as reckless and disgraceful.
Mr. Ayorinde while clarifying the position of the government said Governor Ambode was presently overseas for an official assignment and in any case had no business being in Edo State on Election Day.
“The Lagos State Governor served as the chairman Campaign Council constituted by the All Progressives Congress and his duty ended 24 hours before the election because no campaign was supposed to hold 24 hours to the election and having completed his assignment which included appearing with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Grand Rally in Edo State earlier in the month, Governor Ambode has no reason to return to Edo State on election day and for this sort of lie to have been peddled by a candidate who is supposed to be a pastor, is reckless and disgraceful.
Mr. Ayorinde said Governor Ambode had clearly enumerated his position on the election during the Grand Finale of the campaign when he said that like Lagos where continuity has moved perfectly well, Edo State also deserves continuity in governance.
“That message has been passed and has been accepted by majority of Edo indigenes and therefore there would not be any need for the Governor to return to Edo on Election Day. The general public and security operatives are hereby advised to ignore the desperate lies of Pastor Ize-Iyamu,” Mr. Ayorinde said.

Some results from Ikpoba Okha Ward 7
Out of 15 units, PDP managed only one victory in some of the results declared under Ward 7, in Ikpoba-Okha, one of the areas with very high number of voters. Below are the results.
Unit 16
APC – 145
PDP – 69
Unit 17
APC – 132
PDP – 46
Unit 18
APC – 140
PDP – 53
Unit 20
APC – 100
PDP – 52
Unit 21
APC – 134
PDP – 48
Unit 22
APC – 79
PDP – 28
Unit 24
APC – 98
PDP – 71
Unit 28
APC – 120
PDP – 121
Unit 32
APC – 98
PDP – 71
Unit 33
APC – 148
PDP – 108
Unit 34
APC – 129
PDP – 81
Unit 35
APC – 101
PDP – 85
Unit 36
APC – 117
PDP – 107
Unit 37
APC – 92
PDP – 57
Unit 39
APC – 125
PDP -88

The spokespersons of Governors Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna have refuted the claim by the PDP candidate.
Both governors were nowhere near Edo today, their spokespersons said.

Oyegun loses unit to Ize-Iyamu’s wife
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress has lost his unit 2, ward 2 of Oredo Local Government Area.
Idia, the wife of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, also voted in the same unit.
The APC polled 69 votes at the unit while PDP got 78 votes.

Auchi, Momoh primary school unit Eleanor West local government area
Ward 2
APC- 461
PDP – 271

Ward 2 unit 7, Fugar in Etsakor Central local government area
APC 126
PDP 146
Unit 4
APC 214
PDP 308

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