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Low voter-turnout, explosion, vote-buying Mar Abia by-election

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Yesterday’ by-election for representative of Aba North/South Constituency in Abia State recorded low turnout.
However, an explosion reportedly occurred at Umuola Hall Ward 8, Aba South Local Council. Fortunately, there were no human casualties, though electoral materials were scattered. Workers, voters and party agents scampered for safety, until security officers restored peace for accreditation and voting to continue.

Nedu Eze, who was on queue to vote, said: “We heard a loud sound like a bomb. We took to our heels, as we did not know where it came from.”

There was no report of late arrival of voting materials or officials, as the voting process reportedly commenced about 8.00 am.

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State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Joseph Iloh told The Guardian voter turnout was very low, but that there was no report of malpractice or violence yet.

Meanwhile, since markets were closed and there was restriction of vehicular and human movements,  some youths were seen playing footfall on the streets, while in some polling units, there were more observers and parties agents than voters.

Confirming the voter-apathy, Mr. Silas Obi, said: “The environment is peaceful, yet people are not coming to vote. This is appalling.”

Also, the APC candidate, Mr. Mascot Uzor Kalu, indicated he would seek poll cancellation, if there were established cases of malpractices.

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The State APC Publicity Secretary, Mr. Benedict Godson, alleged the Director of Publicity of the Mascot Uzor Kalu Campaign Outfit, Mr. Mike Ozoemenam was whisked away by unknown men.

The State APGA Chairman, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, whose party was one of the six political parties that contested, described the poll as “massively rigged.”

He alleged the election was marred by vote-buying, massive rigging, electoral fraud, including beating and intimidation of voters and party agents.

Attempts to get State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Janet Agbede’s reaction on the explosion was unsuccessful.
Similarly, the state Chairman of PDP, Asiforo Okere did not pick calls to comment on the poll, but the Publicity Secretary, Chief Fabian Nwankwo said: “ The election was free and fair. We expect that INEC will do the needful.” 

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