The General Election held in Anambra State yesterday, suffered set back sequel to late arrival of materials and card-reader failure although there was large turnout of electorates across the state.
Daily Times survey around the state shows that voters complained of late arrival of materials, characterized by late coming of the INEC officials in various polling centers including Akogoli square 11, Umudioka Ward 111, Amawbia Cenral School ward 1 and 11, Umuokpu ward 7, Nmini Ward 11 Nwafia, Enugu-Ukwu ward 1V and V, and Boys Secondary School, Nri Ward1.
In the 21 Local Government Areas of Anambra State, our reporter discovered that eligible voters gathered at the various polling booths as early as 8 a.m on Saturday but could not do the accreditation process due to massive malfunctioning of the card reader.
While some INEC officials complained that the machines were locked permanently, others lamented of battery failure, etc, even as they said they had already contacted INEC headquarters in Awka for further instructions.
However, most polling booths began accreditation 12.30 Pm and were not able to complete the process till 2pm, while actual voting started between 2.30 pm and 3.00 pm.
But the Senatorial candidate for the PDP in Anambra Central, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife casted her votes 3.30 pm at Boys Secondary School, Nri Ward 1 unit 002, while Sir Victor Umeh of APGA also vying for the same position voted at Aguluezigbo ward18 at 2pm.
In his reaction, the Traditional Ruler of Enugwu-Ukwu, HRM Igwe Sir Ralph O. Ekpe called for total rejection or cancellation of the election, just as he advised INEC to go back to the drawing board and reschedule the election.
Igwe Ekpe strongly warned that INEC is courting trouble for Nigeria which may lead to another crisis.
“If INEC continues in this way with the card reader not functioning properly, late arrival of election materials etc, it will not augur well for the country and may lead to a serious set back in our political process. I aspect INEC to say let us suspend this election, let us return to the manual system and reschedule the election for the next one week”, Igwe Ekpe who was not happy for not been properly accredited said.
Also in his reaction, HRH Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo of Nawfia, however, praised INEC for introducing the manual system which according to him, worked peacefully in his community.
Igwe Nwakwo, who praised INEC for doing a good job hoped that the election would be credible and also usher peace in the country.
Meanwhile, some groups of youths were seen playing football in school fields and open spaces in Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi, Ekwulobia across the state, even as all markets were shut despite heavy vehicular and cyclists, pedestrians movements within the state.
In a related development, Daily Times learnt that the Local Government Chairman of Anaocha, Hon. Ikeobi Ejiofor and one Udo Egolum of Eziano Nri, a security man were abducted respectively by unknown thugs.