Edo: Gladiators hold breathe as vote counting begins
By John Eche
Gladiators in the Edo governorship poll are holding their breath ahead of the full conclusion of the process and the final announcement of the results.
This is even as voting has already been concluded in several polling units and with counting now ongoing.
The two principal contenders in the process, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party and Pastor Osaze Ize Iyamu equally cast their votes in the process, albeit in different polling booths and local governments.
While Ize Iyamu voted in Orhionwhon Local Government Area, Obaseki performed his civic duty in Oredo Local Government Area.
The process overall was not totally without hitches and incidents. Some polling units did not commence voting until 10.30am and though as much as 31, 000 policemen were reportedly deployed on the field, there were still recorded incidents of vote buying, thuggery and attempted disruption of the process.
But to its credit, there was clearly no excessive expression of apathy, as The Difference Newspaper correspondents and monitors report that there was indeed quite a lot of public interest in the process, with many voters reporting to the polling centres long before the advertised 8.30am commencement time.
One of the stormy pre-voting incidents recorded in the overall process was the deployment of about 300 policemen to barricade the hotel where Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was lodged in. According to sources, the move came as part of measures to enforce a directive allegedly given by the Inspector General of Police that the governor must leave the state.
The governor who had come to the state as part of the National Campaign Support structure of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP cried out, protesting why the Inspector General of Police could order an elected governor to leave the state. Calm was later to be restored and the governor has remained in the state.
With the elections continuing thereafter with fewer incidents, the attention of keen observers now is on how smooth the conclusion of the process would be. After counting in the polling centres, the figures would be taken to the local government and state collation centres before a final winner would be announced.
The next governorship elections on the schedule of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC holds next month in Ondo State.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State