Most Rivers people on Saturday stayed away from the polling units nearest to them, following growing voter apathy.

Polling centres opened early to receive materials and Electoral personal deployed to conduct the local government elections.

Our Correspondents who went round the State say the police and other security agencies deployed officers and men to some critical areas although some of the polling units in various LGAs were unmanned.

Strangely, Governor Nyesom Wike who had spent time campaigning vigorously for his party, the PDP, was not spotted anywhere near his traditional polling unit at Obio/Akpor.

It also did not appear, from facts that are emerging, that voters are impressed with claims by the administration that it has posted achievements which would make it impossible for any other political party to have a foothold in Rivers State.

On the contrary, their refusal to participate enmasse in the LG elections may well turn out to be the outcome of a referedum on the Wike administration.

Reports from the field suggest that while voter turn out was reportedly low in most parts of the State, there were pockets of violence as well.

Most areas reported that voting materials as well as polling officials assigned to conduct the exercise did not arrive.

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“The whole thing was a complete mess”, said an observer, “It is the worst local government election to be conducted by RSIEC.”

In Port Harcourt, voters turned out in trickles, with persons who usually vote for the PDP staging what looked like a boycott of the polls.

Like Port Harcourt, voting in parts of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area was not particularly impressive.

In Okirika where there were serious differences over the choice of the incoming council Chairman, people remained largely at home.

Walter Ibibia, a Commissioner in Wike’s administration voted around 1.30pm according to information reaching our news desk.

He voted at his home base at Isaka, with some locals claiming it would be his first since emerging as Wike’s Commissioner.

Ibibia who has taken over leadership of WALGA was later joined by Igbiks Tamuno erstwhile Commissioner for Environment whose sack in strange circumstances has continued to raise some dust.

In Ogu/Bolo, there were reports that materials did not get to their destination, thus leading to suspicions that persons acting in collusion with top officials serving in the Wike administration may have hijacked them.

Around the Bomu area in Gokana, gunshots were heard while most people in neighbouring Khana simply spent their entire day indoors.

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The situation may not have been entirely different in Oyigbo, Eleme, Tai and Etche.

A video depicting clashes in Ward 4 in Etche have since gone viral. Strong differences were similarly reported at the Ndashi axis where many do not want for now to hear anything about the PDP.

Many in Rivers State blame the imposition of unpopular candidates on the people by the ruling party.

Recall that the clamor for popular primaries was rebuffed, with the party issuing one nomination form for every position that was up for contest from the wards to the local government level.

“Wike has, killed the party(PDP) in Rivers State. This is not the PDP I know”, a PDP chieftain remarked.

“From what I saw today (Saturday), the PDP will not be able to win Rivers in 2023. Wike has destroyed us”, another PDP member disillusioned by the low turn out noted.

Results of the elections are being awaited across the State. The PDP is expected to run away with victory in the Chairmanship race.

Most who would emerge councilors are also expected to be drawn from the PDP which is enjoying little or no competition because of the absence of most opposition parties from the race.

According to information, results of last Saturday’s polls will be announced Sunday by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, RSIEC.

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Despite widespread complaints, there are no indications that results from areas where there have been disputes would be cancelled and elections repeated.

The APC had earlier withdrawn its participation from the election, saying RSIEC officials sworn in by Governor Wike cannot be trusted to organize free and fair elections.

With what many Rivers people are describing as a sham election, the APC decision to stay away is being hailed in some quarters as a right step.

Analysts say the disintegration of PDP party apparatus may be responsible for what may seem like an obsession by the party to stop APC in Rivers State from fielding candidates.

PDP’s State Chairman, Ambassador Desmond Akawor is quoted as saying during a campaign stop at Oyigbo that the Governor and himself were allegedly working on a plot which would ensure the APC has no candidates in 2023.

We have learnt that Rt. Hon. Chisom Dike, the current Federal lawmaker who recently defected to the APC from the PDP has raised serious concerns over Akawor’s disturbing remark.