Anambra: Irregularities mar election…late arrival of electoral materials

Anambra Election Update: *Smooth but there is hiccupAkunyili 

AWKA – Despite all the preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission, assurances and promises, the scheduled Anambra polls was still marred by irregularities as most wards received both sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials late on Saturday.

But the conduct of the election was relatively peaceful without violence either at polling stations or any electoral flash points as envisaged, while INEC claimed that delay in the take off of the election was only experienced in two local governments, Idemili and Aguata. 

This position was however backed by a top government official, the Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who was accompanied by her husband to the state INEC headquarters and declared that there were some hiccup in the election, though it was smooth. 

The election, according to INEC timetable was to commence simultaneously across the state by 9 a.m , but in almost all the polling booths in the state, election did not start until 11 a.m. 

It was  gathered that  Dr. Chris Ngige and Uche Ekwunife did not vote until about 12.40 p.m. 

When  correspondents  visited the INEC Office, Awka South between 11: 05 a.m and 1:25 p.m in the company of the Anambra State Electoral Commissioner, Josiah Uwauzoronye, the sensitive materials were just being distributed to the respective wards and polling booths. 

As at 11 : 35 a.m party agents at Awka South became intolerable and exchanged bitter words with  some INEC officials. 

At 12 : 45 p.m voting had not started in incumbent Governor, Peter Obi`s  town  in Agulu, while at Isuofia, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo’s home town , voting did not start as at 10: 30 a.m, as well as in Aguata, Andy Uba’s place. 

By 11:25 a.m DIG (Operations) Mr. John Amadi, arrived the INEC headquarters in Awka South but spent less than five minutes without asking questions and left with cell phone attached to his ears. 

At Ekwesigo Local Government Area, voting started about 11 a.m but most voters could not find their names on the register but were advised to go to other polling stations  to check their names. 

Reacting to the development, the Director Public Affairs of INEC, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger, said apart from Aguata and Idemili local government areas where it was reported that Police intercepted INEC officials because they were not accompanied by regular policemen no negative report was made. He however explained that as soon as they contacted the state INEC Headquarters and made necessary clarification, the INEC officials  were allowed to go and distribute the materials for the election. 

Mr. Umenger stated that all electoral officers contacted in their various wards said the electorates were commending INEC for orderly handling and conduct of the election. 

There were reports however, that police had arrested some hoodlums with electoral materials but the local government remains unknown. 

The Minister of Information and Communication Prof. Dora Akunyili, arrived at the INEC state headquarters at exactly 3:25 p.m, after she had gone round to monitor and access voting in the state. 

Prof. Akunyili, who is from Anambra State told journalists while leaving the INEC state headquarters that “The election is going on smoothly but there are hiccups here and there and it is being sorted out.” 

When asked to give details, Akunyili who looked unhappy said: “You can go and see the REC for more information.”

From her looks, it is glaring that the minister had gone to report the situation she met at the polling stations she visited to the REC. 

Also, Incumbent governor, Gov Peter Obi complained that in about seven polling stations  he visited,  the register does not match with the names of those in the register.Soludo’s thugs allegedly carted away voting materials for Aguata LGA 

Other reports: Soludo’s thugs allegedly carted away voting materials for Aguata LGA 

Party agents present at the polling stations say the van left with no trace as there was no police officer present at the scene of the incident.

At the Police Divisional Headquarters in Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA, however, policemen are said to be stranded with no vehicle to take them to their assigned polling stations. Many have resorted to hitch-hiking on motorbikes and the few commercial buses plying the routes. 

INEC Executives are blaming the police for the delay in the arrival of election materials but the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Chukumma Soludo van went off with the materials.

Meanwhile voting materials are yet to arrive in most polling stations especially in Umueze ward 1, Ezi Egege polling unit.

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