Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 20 April 2015 | 3,088 times
The rescheduled election for the Anambra State House of Assembly at Aguata, ward 1, Ekwusigo and Anaocha local government areas was yesterday marred by irregularities and voters apathy.
Though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad-hoc staff were out early to commence accreditation, few people were seen lining up at the various polling units visited by News Express for accreditation, while some took the time to attend to weddings and burials ceremonies that were already fixed for same date.
At Umudim Akasi, Agulu ward 2, voters, which is the polling centre of the former state governor, Chief Peter Obi, voters were seen doing accreditation peacefully without any hitches with the card reader working well at about 10:22 a.m.
The ward, which is one out of the wards in Anaocha that had its election rescheduled after the April 11 elections due to irregularities, had few voters present for the exercise.
Speaking on the low turn-out of voters, the former commissioner for markets/parks during the Peter Obi administration and presently the National Coordinator, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Stakeholders’ Forum, Chief Sylvester Nwobu-Alor said that voters might still come out to do the accreditation, saying that it was still too early in the day to conclude.
Responding to question on where APGA would be in the next five years, Nwobu-Alor said that the only way to keeping the party from extinction was by restructuring it, adding that only party restructuring can give the party the edge to win other states like Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta and then stride into Rivers and Lagos states.
“I have been talking about restructuring the party all along and sometimes people think am a lunatic for saying same thing everyday. That contributed to our failure to some extent at the national Assembly election,
“Now, people are beginning to see with me that the right thing ought to be done and we must do it now. Restructure the party and I know that the Igbo nation or better put, the south east zone have wonderful love for APGA and if we produce good leadership, we will win all these south eastern states and make new road into Rivers, Delta, Kano, Lagos, etc.
“If we restructure the party, remember, I said if we restructure, in the next election, we will win massively but if we do not restructure the party, the party will just sink and go into extinction,” he said.
However, at the ward 015 in Agulu, voters were seen lining up for accreditation with the card working.
A voter, Mr. Igboka, who spoke to News Express said that he has come out to exercise his franchise and hailed INEC for starting the accreditation process in time.
He observed that though there was low turnout as compared to the past election but said that he was optimistic that more people will come out to exercise their franchise.
However, Anaocha area was far cry to what was on the scene at Aguata ward 1, The ward of Senator Andy Uba, which also had a low turnout of voters, had the process disrupted by hijack of result sheets.
According to the polling agents of PDP, APGA and APC, they said that the result sheets, which were distributed at the collation centre a day before the election did not arrive the polling booth on the day of election.
They echoed the words of the rest of the few voters present at the polling unit, saying that elections would not take place until the material were complete.
The three INEC ad-hoc staff who were seen sitting at the polling unit at about 11:35 a.m. said that INEC dropped the materials in batches and that the rest was still being expected, hence their idleness.
However, the turning point came when youths stormed the polling unit with Hon Ume Ikechukwu, an incumbent member of Anambra State House of Assembly and a candidate of April 11 House of Assembly election, chanting: “No election until the materials are complete,” “Things can no longer continue to happen in this place like before, we will no longer take it.”
The incumbent member representing Anambra south senatorial zone and the declared winner of March 28, 2015 senatorial elections in the state zoomed off because of the sudden arrival of the angry youths, hence, the earlier interview with Journalists monitoring the area could not hold.
While few voters were there waiting for the process to start, people were seen trooping out of a church facing the polling units in large numbers. On getting close, about four ladies adorning white wedding gowns were seen at different spots taking pictures with their well wishers while on the way back to Awka, a large crowd was seen at a burial spot within Anaocha Local Government Area.
At Otiagbata hall, polling unit 014, the APC chairman, Mr. Eze Aghaeru said that the reason for the cancellation of the ward election was repeating itself as the result sheets have gone missing en route the polling unit.
“As at the moment, the ballot papers are not complete. At 2am when the materials arrived the collation center, all the materials including the result sheets were there but now, the results are nowhere to be seen,” he said.
Aghaeru alleged that a bribe of N3m was shared amongst the INEC ad-hoc staff to woo them to work against the wishes of the electorate.
Similarly, former Senator and Ambassador extraordinaire of APGA, said that the process of the election did not move the way it was supposed to, declaring that APGA would not accept it.
“The process of the day’s election is worrisome. There are areas where the result sheets were not seen at all and in that case, petition was written to INEC and they acted on it by providing replacement result sheet.
“Once such replacement sheets are provided by INEC, it kills the authenticity of the main result sheet. Some areas, card readers did not work and manual process was used. Manual accreditation will lead to a lot of manipulations. The collation officers and returning officers are nowhere to be found. What it means is that is a serious problem and APGA as a party is not ready to take that,” he said.
•Photo shows polling centre
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