Cajetan Mmuta, Benin
The journey to elect a new governor to occupy the Dennis Osadebay Avenue Government House in Benin, the Edo State capital, began Saturday as large number of voters turned out to cast their votes at various polling units and centers across the 192 wards and 18 local government areas of the state.
Accreditation and voting started as about 8:53 when electoral officers and ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deployed their materials for the exercise.
Majority of the voters had turned out as early as 7:30am and had waited patiently for accreditation to begin.
At Ward 4 with 10 units (Emokpae Model Primary School in Oredo Local Government Area where Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to cast his vote, there was large crowd of voters who queued to cast their votes after they were accredited.
The governor later arrived at about 10:25am in company of his wife, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, at Ward 4, Unit 18 of Emokpae Model Primary School and queued along with other voters to be accredited in order to be able to cast their votes.
The process has been relatively peaceful as policemen were strategically stationed to maintain law and order at various polling units and centers.
Although, there was reported cases of vote buying at some polling units and centers within the city center.
Interestingly, a good number of physically impaired persons, especially, those with visual impairment, were seen in some of polling centers casting their votes, a sign that the exercise had been peaceful in some of the areas monitored by our reporter.
In Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West LGA and the political stronghold of former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Deputy Governor of the state, Comrade Philip Shaibu of the PDP, accreditation and voting started simultaneously as early as 8:30am with massive turnout of voters.
There was tight security checks mounted by armed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, plain clothes officers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) at major roads and voting centers in parts of the seven local government areas of Edo South senatorial District of the state.
Investigations showed that all markets, shops, and other business outlets within the metropolis were under lock and key while major roads and streets were deserted.