The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Saturday praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the prompt distribution of electoral materials across the state in the yesterday’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
Wike, who spoke shortly after casting his votes at his ward 9, unit 7 Obio/Akpor Local Governmnet Area of the state, however blamed the military for the challenges recorded in parts of the state.
Wike was accompanied to the voting ground by his wife, Eberechi Suzzette Wike, a judge of the State High Court, to cast his votes at about few minutes to 12 noon yesterday.
He expressed satisfaction in the large turnout of voters. He stated that Nigerians are ready to exercise their franchise.
Speaking to newsmen he said, “From what I have seen here, it is a large turnout and Nigerians are ready to express their franchise. Apart from the military intervention, things are moving on smoothly.
“There is a clear improvement by INEC in the conduct of this year’s election. They have shown preparedness in the discharge of their electoral duties during the voting process, and I sincerely commend them for that.”
He, however, regretted the activities of the Nigerian Military in the exercise, accusing them of deliberate efforts to frustrate the success of democratic process across the state.
“It is unfortunate that our military can descend so low. We use to complain about the Police, but now it is the military.
“What Nigerians have wished to be will be, it doesn’t matter the manipulation anybody would want to carry out, I am very hopeful that Nigerians will decide today and a new President will emerge”, he said.
Generally, the elections were peaceful in parts of the state, especially, Port-Harcourt the state capital and its environs, though there were some skirmishes in some LGAs, of Bonny, Okrika, Abonnema in Akukutoru, and Andoni and arrests have been made in these places, the state police command told newsmen.
Speaking through its spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), noted that the police was very prepared for the exercise, with over 15,000 officers and men deployed to the 4,442 polling unites across the state.
Electoral materials arrived most of the polling centres early enough, resulting in accreditation and voting in most areas as early as 9 am.
At Saint Andrew Anglican Church, Mile one Diobu, RACK centre for the entire Diobu axis, electoral materials began to leave the centre as early as 7:30 am, by 9: 30, all materials had completely been moved from the place with voting already commenced in some places.
There was large turnout of voters in the state with good number of them seen trekking several miles away to get to their voting centres.
A voter simply identified as Ayozie, aged about 60, and was seen at second artillery along Aba/Port-Harcourt expressway going from Obigbo to Diobu to ensure he cast his vote.
Interacting with him, he said, “I am coming from Obigbo in Obigbo LGA and I am going to Diobi to cast my vote to my preferred candidate.”
Also at one of the polling units visited in Wimpey area, an average age woman told the story of how she trekked from Rukpokwu axis to her polling unit at the Wimpy area.