Police deploy dogs, gunboats, helicopters
The sniffer dogs from the K-9 units were brought in from Rivers State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to augment the ones in Edo for enhanced security.
The police also deployed surveillance helicopters and gunboats across the waterways and crime-mapped places.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in charge of Operations, Habila Joshak, said no fewer than five policemen would man each of the 2,627 polling units across the state to prevent invasion.
Joshak spoke yesterday at the Edo State Police Command headquarters in Benin City.
He said that 2,000 soldiers were deployed to man the outer corridors of the state especially the highways, adding that restriction of movement would take effect from 1am.
According to the DIG, security agencies were prepared to meet force with force, warning anyone who without legitimate business with the election to steer clear.
He allayed the fears that students writing the General Certificate Examination (GCE) might miss tomorrow’s papers. The examination will hold as scheduled, he said.
He said: “There has been enhanced security deployment across board. We have zeroed on each of the polling booths and deployed at least five security personnel per unit.
In terms of preparation and observation through the aerial patrol of Ekpoma, Irua and Auchi, I observed that deployments have been done and there are intervention forces in each of the local government areas.
“In each local government, we have at least 10 patrol vans for reinforcement. For the waterways, we have had effective five gunboats. I know that in Agenebode, we have gunboats. At the boundary between Ondo and Ogelegele waterside in Ovia Northeast, we also have it there.
“We have had to deploy gunboats manned by armed Mobile Policemen with Marine operatives on all the areas crime mapped.
The personnel are to ensure that those making use of the waters are intercepted and identified. Their reasons for movement must be known.
“Those of them that cannot give good explanation and identity would be brought for further interrogation. You can be sure there is adequate security. We have said that we have outer codoning. It is done by the military.
“They are contributing about 2,000 soldiers and they are going to man the outer codoning. From 1am on Wednesday, there would be restriction of movement, particularly on the highways. People must identify themselves and subject themselves to some search because the issue of invasion by armed uniformed men that want to come and truncate the election has kept recurring.
“We are not going to trample on people’s rights. But we would definitely restrain and ensure that those allowed to move,do so. The security deployment is not heavy and so, citizens are excited that their security is guaranteed. It is not an invasion and we won’t have any negative effect.
“We planned with INEC. The future of our children cannot be trampled or rescheduled because of election. We have the capacity to manage both the election and the students writing examinations. This is GCE. It is an external examination, not for all the schools. It is also an isolated examination. So, we have looked at all the schools and the places they are. We would let the students go to their centres and write their examinations, while elections are ongoing.
“We have demonstrated and simulated what would come to play. We discovered there is nothing negative and we can manage the two. INEC has keyed in and accepted. From all issues placed on the table, voting won’t take place where examinations are holding.
“We have also directed that students should get to their centres as early as6am or 7am. We have publicised among security agencies that students should be allowed to go to their centres and they should go in group, in a bus that would be identified. There should also be a means of identification to avoid any problem.
“Never again should we allow election to be inconclusive as a result of security challenges. Never should we allow people using their position as cultists, hooligans, and thugs to ruin elections. This time around, force would be met with force. Those who use force and arms won’t be allowed to go scot free.”
Over one million voters are expected to participate in today’s election to choose Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s successor.
According to the voter register released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the number of would-be voters is 1, 925, 105.
In the 2012 governorship election, only 444,000 voted.
Edo State has 18 local governments with 2,627 polling units. To make voting easier, INEC broke down the poling units to 4011 points across the 192 wards.
The candidates are Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party, Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adviser Shedrack Nowamagbe of the United Progressive Party and Osaro Onaiwu of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
The hate speech and violence that characterised the campaigns heightened tension that has made it difficult to predict a clear winner for the election. However, the two major contenders are Pastor Ize-Iyamu and Godwin Obaseki.
In an interview, Obaseki said he would be shocked if he did not win in all the 18 local government areas. This, he said, is because of the rigorous campaigns he embarked upon right from when he was seeking the party’s nomination.
The PDP is expecting victory in 15 local government areas. Onaiwu said he would win in local government areas where Igbo are mainly residents. He expects victory in 12 local governments. Nowamagbe said he would win in all the local government areas.
Permutations of the local government showed the APC may win in 10 local governments. The PDP is projected to win in three local governments. Five are undecided.
The local government areas that determine victory in any election are Orhionmwon, Oredo, Estako West, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha. Any political party that secures a wide margin in these local governments is sure of victory. During the 1983 contest between the late Prof. Ambrose Alli and Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, Orhionmwon vote gave Ogbemudia victory.
Uhunmwode Local Government
There are 64,842 registered voters in this local government area and 136 voting points. The APC is sure of winning in this local government. House of Assembly Deputy Speaker Elisabeth Ativie hails from Uhunmwode. The withdrawal of the support of Solomon Edebiri for the PDP will affect PDP’s chances in the locality.
Checks show that the APC is ahead of the PDP in this local government. It has 54,407 voters and 150 voting points. APC leaders here are former Deputy Governor Rev. Peter Obadan, the Secretary to the State Government Professor Julius Ihonvbere, a defector from PDP, Mr. Johnson Abologba.
Blessing Agbebaku is the PDP leader from the locality who has campaigned vigorously for his party.
This is a local government where the APC has always defeated the PDP. It has 78,878 voters and 169 voting points. Hon Pally Iriase, the member representing Owan Constituency in the House of Representatives, hails from the locality. Other APC leaders are Abdul Oroh, Godwin Imoudu. PDP leaders in the area are Senator Yisa Braimah, Alhaji Kashietu Ozeto, Ail Aji Muze, Major Oisamojie (retd.), Aimola, among others. Some of these PDP leaders are lukewarm. The APC is set for victory.
Ovia South West
This is another local government where victory is not certain for any party. The voting pattern of the people cannot be predicted. Ijaws in this area may vote for the APC because their daughter is Obaseki’s. There are 79,989 voters and 161 voting points.
Ovia North East
Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom hails from this local government. There are 126, 391 voters. The PDP, says it is sure of claiming victory here but the zone is still undecided of which party will be victorious. It is a local government with a large Ijaw population. If the decision of the Ijaw nation is to be taken, it means the Ijaw in Edo will vote for APC.
The APC is sure of victory. It has 111, 832 voters and 232 voting points. PDP’s veterans here are Dr. Tunde Lakoju, Col. Tunde Akogun, former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mr. Bankole Balogun, Chief Johnson Emeasalu, Segun Saiki and Kayode Alabi. They are to slug it out with Peter Akpatoson, Kabiru Adjoto and Philip Ugbodaga, among others.
There are 50,603 voters and 108 voting points. Esan Central is a stronghold of the PDP, which is most likely to win this local government.
This local government will be tough for the APC. It is a stronghold of the PDP. APC leaders in the locality, such as Commissioner for Education, Gideon Obhakhan, may make things difficult for the PDP. There are 89,762 voters.
Esan North East is the hometown of Chief Tony Anenih and Mike Onolememen. It is a place the APC has found difficult to penetrate. APC leaders, such as Prince Joe Okojie, have tried to displace the PDP. Whether this election will make a difference. There are 76,644 voters and 150 voting points.
Esan South East is one the local governments the APC has penetrated. The APC won the House of Assembly seat in last year’s election. There are 66,698 voters. The local government is too close to call.
Estako West is the stronghold of the APC. It is the local government of Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Philip Shaibu, Obaseki’s running mate. The APC has always trounced the PDP since 2008. Votes from Estako West determines who wins the entire Edo North Senatorial District. A total of 140, 366 voters are in the locality.
Estako East has 68, 080 voters. It is the strong hold of Chief Raymond Dokpesi, but the projects executed by the Oshiomhole administration are likely to sway votes for the APC.
Estako Central has PDP chieftains, such as Chief Dan Orbih and Chief Mike Ogiadomhe. No party can claim victory in this local government. It has 43, 664 voters.
Igueben has 42, 655 voters and 85 voting points. Chief Tom Ikimi hails from Igueben but he has always lost the local government even when he was in the APC. The APC speaker of the House of Assembly hails from this area and appears to be popular. The APC is expected to do well there.
Ikpoba-Okha is a strong base of the APC. Commissioner for Works Osarodion Ogie is the APC leader in the locality. With Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, the PDP candidate of Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff faction, opposed to Ize-Iyamu and likely to work against him, PDP may not do well here. There are 260,342 would-be voters.
Orhionmwon is the base of Deputy Governor Dr. Pius Odubu and candidate of the PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. It has 106,387 voters. It is not yet clear who will win in
This is the base of Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu and Ize-Iyamu. It has 106,387 voters. It is not yet clear who will win in Orhionmwon but it was the only local government where the APC was victorious in the Presidential election. Both parties hope to do well here . Odubu , a grassroots politician , has always triumphed over lze-lyamu but he( Odubu) is not the one running in the APC. Ize-lyamu may benefit from the ‘ home boy ‘ factor.
This is the local government with the highest number of registered voters with 279,270 and 571 voting points. It is the base of Rasaq Bello Osagie, Godwin Obaseki, Chief John Oyegun in the APC and Senator Matthew Urhoghide of the PDP. APC is banking on market women, artisans, drivers for victory. PDP has surreptitiously brought religion to the fore, banking heavily on the Pentecostals as its candidate is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The contest here will be fierce.
This is another power house of the APC. It has 184, 297 voters. What will give APC victory is the Upper Siluko road which the PDP said they could not construct because of ‘mummy water’ that was done by Oshiomhole. Other factors are the schools and the storm water design that has deflooded many parts of the locality.
Former military and civilian governor of defunct Bendel state , Brigadier Samuel
Ogbemudia hails from here and has endorsed the APC and Obaseki.