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Anambra women numbering more than 2,000 yesterday took to the streets in Awka, the state capital, calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the November 16 election in the state.
They also said that INEC should stop the planned supplementary election scheduled for today, as there was no election in the state on November 16.
But the women, led by Barrister Ngozi Udodi, were blocked by security operatives at the entrance of Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square leading to the INEC office in Awka.
The police officers, led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), refused to speak on the issue. But one of them told The Nation that they were at the place to maintain peace and order.
When the State Police Public Relations Officer, Emeka Chukwuemeka, was contacted, he said the police did not stop anybody but that the officers were deployed to the INEC office to maintain law and order.
The women protesters chanted solidarity songs and displayed placards with different inscriptions like “INEC, rigging bad for Anambra; resign now Jega; like Jega, like Jonathan; we want new polls in Anambra now; we reject rotten election,” among others.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, the leader of the women, Barrister Ngozi Udodi, said their mission was to tell INEC to cancel the said November 16 governorship election in the state and its proposed supplementary election.
According to Udodi, the said election was marred by irregularities ranging from incomplete voters register to non-supply of ballot papers in virtually all the local government areas in the state, among others.
She also called for the resignation of Jega and the immediate redeployment of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu.
“We have not seen in this world where such a charade will stand except in Anambra State. Therefore, Anambra women will continue to resist such injustice,“ Udodi said.
Another woman leader, Mrs Franca Obiesie, told The Nation yesterday that the reason for their action was to tell the world that there was no free, fair and credible election in Anambra State on November 16.
According to her, “if this is what INEC will continue to do in this land, it means there is no hope in our democracy any longer. What INEC did in Anambra was to murder sleep.
“Why should they deny people their rights to vote? The people of the state trooped our to vote for those they want but INEC said no and chose who they want. All we want is for the election to be cancelled and then we have a free and fair one,” Obiesie said.
Another protester, Mrs. Augustina Obiakor, said the women were angry and would not rest until the anomally was corrected by INEC.
She said: “We want a new governorship election in Anambra State. What INEC said it did on November 16 was an abomination. All we are calling for is a free and fair election and total cancellation of that sham,” she said.