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Edo poll: Obaseki’s running mate, Shaibu, optimistic of victory

…as governor says disappointed over non-functional card readers

The Edo State deputy governor and running mate of the governorship candidate of People’s Democratic Party, Philip Shaibu, has expressed hope the party would win the election.

Shaibu made the remarks shortly after casting his vote at his polling unit at Ward 11, Unit 5, at about 10:30 am at Azama Primary School, Jattu in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.

“I am optimistic that we will win the election. You know I am a man of the people and we have a technocrat as a governor, people who ordinarily would not have come are out to vote, so I am expecting a victory for the party,” Shaibu said.

“I have never lost the election. I am a grassroots politician and a man of the people. The crowd would have been more than this but I think as times go on, people will turn up for the election.

“Don’t forget this is my community and whether there is a gunshot or not, they must stand by me,” he said.

He also expressed satisfaction with the turnout of voters, saying “it would have been more if not for initial tension that followed the electioneering”.

While commending the electorate for conducting themselves peacefully, he, however, noted that he cannot say what will transpire later in the day.

“But you know at this time of the election, things are usually peaceful, things get worse during the collation of result.

“I heard that in some stronghold of the governor, card readers are not working well but I am yet to confirm that,” he added.

On his part, the state governor and PDP governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki, has expressed disappointment over the failure of card readers in several wards across the state.

Obaseki, speaking to journalists shortly after casting his vote in Oredo Local Government Area of the state after spending over an hour on the queue due to card reader issues, said the failure of the card readers shows the unpreparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“I expected better preparation on the part of those saddled with the responsibility to conduct this election. To wait for one and a half hours on the queue before exercising my franchise is a bit disappointing,” Obaseki said.

“Given that this is a sole day’s election, I expected better planning and preparation and resources should have been put into this election.

“At the last presidential election, in my polling unit, there were two polling points which eased the burden on voters. You all are witnesses to how long it has taken.

“The card reader here is working slowly, and this is the situation in all the major voting centres in Oredo Local Government Area of the state as I speak.

“At Garrick Memorial School, I understand that over 500 voters are already stranded because they can’t vote due to the slow processing of the card reader.

“One would have expected that INEC will have deployed more card readers and more voting points in high-density polling centres,” he said.

Responding to the issue of vote-buying at polling units, the governor said that the security agencies are not doing what they assured Edo people and Nigerians before the election.

“The security agencies assured us that they won’t allow anybody who doesn’t have a business of voting into a particular place to be there, but they are working contrary to what they promised us,” Obaseki said.

“You can see cars parked with a lot of cash being disbursed to people buying votes, and it seems to be normal practice, but we are not perturbed as people know what to do. Cash can’t buy their future,” he said.

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