Missing gaps in Anambra election
Though problems with casting ballots are a regular feature of election day, and making sense of them could take days and weeks. It was clear that the people were ready to cast their votes.
Tensions had also been exacerbated amid a fierce argument over how easily Anambra State indigenes could register and vote early since the state electoral commission could not mop up as much card readers from neighbouring states after the fire incident.
The contests, which had been overshadowed by acrimonious campaigns, questions about the security and fairness of the electoral system and unnecessary postponement, however, saw many Anambrarians coming out to cast their votes.
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, however, commended the turnout, saying, “it is impressive.”
Though he had only visited two units in Enugwu Ukwu as at the time he spoke with The Guardian, he was encouraged by the manner people came out.
His words: “it is one thing about democracy. Youths came out to make their choice.”
In Abagana, Chioma Hall 1, the polling unit suffered prolonged technical delays and hitches.
As at 8.41a.m., accreditation had still not commenced, though voters had begun to queue and mill around the units. To make things work faster, the queues were rearranged for effective voting.
Hon. Christian Nweke told The Guardian that the turnout wasn’t encouraging. Although long lines were reported at some polling places, other Abagana voters moved about with ease.
According to the former Secretary to the State Government, Osi Victor Ezenwa, “it’s been very smooth all day long,” adding: “We’re getting the normal questions of people calling to ask where do they go vote, are they registered. Nothing unusual at all.”
He continued, “people are taking things easy. They just queue on the line and we voted clockwise. It is very strange to hear that one of the polling booths had problem. I’m so sure it would be resolved before long.”
The former SSG said it was good to get voting behind as quickly as possible, adding, “Last week’s postponement by the INEC chairman was an advantage. He executed great courage to take the decision that has finally paid off.”
For him now, “INEC was well prepared; thank God it was not acrimonious.”
One resident, Adaku Umerah, said it took her nearly three hours to vote after arriving around 7 a.m., when the polls opened. In Community Primary School, Fair Agulu 3 unit, about six units were merged.
In Amakolo Square 1, the ballot papers for Senatorial District were not complete.
The shortage of materials led to a delayed voting. Out of 253 registered voters, only 200 was provided. There was also an inkpad without ink, which made the process easily prone to manipulation.
A lot of people whose names appeared as polling officers were turned down in the last minute, which resulted in protest at INEC office in Awka South, Amawbia.
The electoral officer at the office said these protesters had been told what to do. One of the protesters said they had been used and abandoned by INEC, adding, “We slept on bare floor all because we wanted to do this work for our nation. Now, they have dropped us.”
A Corps member said the manner in which they were dropped in the last minute was not encouraging. But the electoral officer said: “Because of the shortage of card readers some units were collapsed to give way for more card readers to be distributed. Instead of election not going on, we collapsed the units.”