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Voters in Anambra State will, today, decide their next governor, out of the 23 candidates contesting for the seat. The election is tightly contested.
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The INEC Headquarters in Anambra, which is the final collation centre for the election, is still devoid of activities as collated results are yet to come in from local governments.
No election in at least three polling centres in Ogidi – Ilo Ngwodo Ward 1, Central School Akpakaogwe, and Eke Ngweje Ward 1.
Prospective voters allegedly attacked the INEC Electoral Officers for failing to present the result sheet to them before beginning accreditation.
At Afor Agulu Square, Awka South, reputed to be the largest ward in Anambra, it is rowdy as the counting is already in progress. Voters are anxious. They are eager to know the result.
At Central School 1, Akpakaogwe, in Ogidi, Idemili North, an election officer said she was beaten up by the youth at the polling station.
“They requested for the result sheet and I told them we don’t have it yet. They insisted they must see it and began to hit me. They were dragging me, took the ballot paper, and squeezed the register,” said the NYSC member who identified herself as Precious.
Election did not take place at that centre.
Results are coming in from various polling units in Anambra.
PU 009, Ogidi Town hall, Idemili South APC 58 PDP 22 APGA 23 LP 4
A similar incident played out at Eke Nweje PU 2, in Ogidi Ward 1. The Electoral Officer said the youth also demanded for the result sheet, that it was the requirement from INEC. “But we had the result sheet in our bag. We told them we couldn’t show them, that we had to do accreditation first. They said they will not do accreditation. And then they attacked us. The police were there and did not do anything. It was the army that came and saved us,” said the Electoral Officer.
PU 010, Ogidi town hall, Idemili North. Voting point 1, APGA 8 APC 39 PDP 14 PPA 3 APA 1 CPP 1 Invalid 2.
PU 010 voting point 2 APC 13 PDP 4 APGA 4 PPA 1 Invalid 1
Some political parties shared money at Akaboukwu ward 2 in Uruagu Nnewi. Interested voters show their voting paper to indicate who they voted for, and then get paid.
When contacted, a policeman in the area said that their duty is only to control crowd. People suspected to be PDP agents gave N1000 each to their voters while suspected APGA agents gave N500 to each of their voters.
At St. John’s Anglican Church, Edoji, Uruagu Nnewi, some people suspected to be agents of APGA shared N1000 to people that voted for them.
An elderly man in the area lamented the situation and said “Nigeria aga adikwa Mma gboo,” Meaning ‘shall it be well with Nigeria soon?
At PU009, Ogidi Town Hall, Ogidi, Voting has ended. But party agents say although electoral material arrived around noon, it did not discourage the voters.
“The people were here waiting for them to come,” a party agent said.
Observers detained by soldiers have been set free after several hours, INEC’s Director of Monitoring, Bala Ibrahim Shittu, confirmed this in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
“Yes, they have been released. I have just returned from there.” He said and did not comment further.
At PU 019 Umudim Akasim in Agulu, Gov. Peter Obi’s unit, voting is going on peacefully. “Everything is Ok here. The governor was the first person to vote and he voted peacefully,” said an APGA agent.
After standing in the sun for half an hour, an 80 year old man, at a polling unit in front of Ngige’s home, cast his vote and shouted “chikena!”
Voting is already in Progress at St. John’s Anglican Church Edoji Uruagu Nnewi.
The atmosphere remains peaceful.
There is a bazaar going on here at Afor Agulu Square Ward 005 with about four voting points. Opposite the voting points, money is being shared to voters by people suspected to be APGA agents.
People will go to the corner and they are given N500 or N1000 and then they will come out to queue up and vote. It is not clear what determines how much you get. A former deputy governor of the state under Okoye Agu is sighted here.
As at 1:51p.m., the bazaar is still going on with young mostly involved. This ward is reputed to be the biggest in Anambra.
Senator Ngige cast his vote at exactly 1:45 pm. Before that, there was an argument among party agents over whether the elderly people should be assisted to vote. In the end it was resolved that any of their children or relatives should aid them.
Accreditation of voters was delayed in Aguleri on Saturday as INEC officials insisted that a billboard of one of the parties in the Anambra governorship election be pulled down.
The billboard of the APGA governorship candidate, Willy Obiano, and his running mate, Okeke Chukwukaodinaka, was mounted metres away from the polling unit near the Aguleri roundabout, contrary to electoral laws.
“I intend to discharge my duties today no matter what, and will go out when ready. I will dare the SSS to shoot…..we wait and see…thanks,” Nasir el-Rufai speaks on his experiences with the SSS.
At the polling unit near APC candidate, Ngige’s home, materials arrived at 11:50 without the result sheets, so there’s arguments whether to vote or not.
Ngige, appearing very calm, said it was “a deliberate act.”
APC’s Deputy National Secretary, Nasir El-Rufai and Senator Osita Izunaso sighted at Finotel Hotel, Awka. They are reportedly here to beef up support for Chris Ngige, the party’s candidate.
At Community Secondary School, Abatete, voting materials are yet to arrive as at 12:30pm, according to ABS.
“My finding is that it is a desperate move by my opposition to win the election.” PDP governorship candidate Tony Nwoye speaking about delayed election materials.
Nnewi roads remain deserted as the election holds. Meanwhile some people were sighted playing football and when I asked them why they were doing so, they said their votes won’t count since some of their friends names were missing from the register.
Back at Polling Units 12 – 16 at Okpuno Otolo Nnewi. The disenfranchised voters say their problem is yet to be solved. “I closed my market to come here today. I must vote, whether they like it or not,” one of them said.
At Obi Ilo Okoye polling unit in Awada, Onitsha, there is no INEC and police presence yet, the state-run Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, is reporting.
At INEC office in the presence of Premium Times, Shittu explained that the observers might have been detained by the soldiers because the names of the groups were not on the updated list of the observers. The original list contained 23 but the updated one contains 28 groups.
Prospective voters at the PUs 12 – 16 at Okpuno Otolo Nnewi are furious that they are being disenfranchised.
“I came here by 8.30. I did not see my name. They said I should go. And I registered here and have voted here two times – the last governorship election and the presidential election,” said Chinedu Chukwu, 28, whose card shows PU 12.
Over a dozen other voters say they have the same problem with Mr. Chukwu.
“They said we should wait. We have waited for over one hour,” John Nwonu, 27.
There are few voters at PU 12 – 16 at Otolo, Nnewi.
Emmanuel Okeke, the APC agent, tells PREMIUM TIMES that most voters who came for accreditation at the stations did not see their names on the register.
“At polling unit 14, only 6 people were accredited out of 77. Majority did not see their names on the register and the voters said this is where they were accredited. We reported to an INEC official and he said maybe they did multiple registration,” said Mr. Okeke.
But an INEC staff told PREMIUM TIMES that the voters had different polling units on their cards.
“They have been coming and we are directing them to where the polling units on their cards are located,” she said.
Soldiers apprehend and detain some election observers from two groups, NBA and Civil Rights Society Group on their way from Awka to Onitsha.
INEC Director of Election Monitoring, Bala Ibrahim Shittu, has just left INEC office, Awka to intervene and effect their release.
Accreditation started at 10am at Ogbugbankwa Square 1 & 2, Awka South. Some voters on queue complain they arrived since6am. #AnambraDecides
This is 9.40. We are at Ward 2, Polling Units 007 and 008, Umuono Community Assembly, Ngodo, Nice Village No single INEC officials here. They are yet to arrive. The voters are anxiously waiting for them and complaining.
At Ekwulobia, some voters driving to their polling units were stopped security officials. They were made to alight from their vehicles and walk to the polling unit.
Residents at Nnewi have largely complied with the movement restriction, save for the commercial motorcyclists. At the Polling Unit 007, Okwuezemewi Obiagbo, in Nnewi North, the INEC officials have arrived and commenced identification of party agents.
Voters at Polling unit 002, Enem hall, Otolo in Nnewi north.
Accreditation has begun at Nnewi ichi, Nnewi. At polling unit 007, there is visible police presence. The officials are calling in voters in batches of 10 to be accredited.
Awka roads and streets are virtually empty. However, some shops are open. Pockets of People moving apparently going to their polling units. PREMIUM TIMES is on the busy Onitsha-Enugu Express Way. The security is tight everywhere. Security personnel are patrolling. Soldiers have just apprehended two motorcyclists who are carrying their wares apparently going to trade.
Voters at polling unit 007 in Nnewi-ichi
Rowdiness at Ezi Umunagu Square 1 Ward as some APGA supporters argue among themselves. As a result, accreditation is yet to commence. Some members of the community are helping to set up the table waiting for INEC staff who are yet to arrive.
At Ezi Umuogbu Square Ward 005, Awka, accreditation has commenced. INEC adhoc staff, a youth corps member, Kenneth Nwobu said the exercise started at exactly 8.10 a.m. He said there are 674 registered voters but the ward was given 675 sheet in case of error.