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Pic.37. Adhoc staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gather for final briefings at INEC headquarters in Awka ahead of 2017 Anambra Governorship Election on Friday (17/11/17). 06208/17/11/2017/Chidi Ohalete/BJO/NAN

Anambra Decides: A chronicle of election day

About 2.1million registered Anambra voters trooped out in great numbers, today November 18, 2017, to the polling booths to decide the future of their state for the next four years.

Amidst tight security in and at the borders of the state, Anambra voters defied all odds including IPoB threat and exercised their civic rights. The process however suffered few setbacks and other highlights:

Restricted vehicular movement

The city of Awka at 7:12 am woke up with hopes of a new dawn with roads deserted in line with the restriction of vehicular movement. The usual busy Bridge Head axis of Onitsha was deserted as the police have earlier announced total closure Niger bridge beefing up security in preparation for the election. Residents around Eke Awka roundabout, in Awka, however, woke up to see the scene of an accident where a container fell off a truck and crushed a tricycle, an accident which occurred the previous day by 10:00 pm.

Late arrival of materials, malfunctioning voters’ machines

While some units received electoral materials as early as 7 am, it was a different tale for some other units. Agulu Village Square Ward IV got electoral materials at 7:35 am. Ward II in Amatutu village in Anambra central was left anticipating as INEC ad-hoc staff and electoral material was yet to arrive at 8:00am. Nkpor Ward 1 polling unit 010 in Idemili North Local Government area of Anambra State also complained of low turn out of voters blamed on the late arrival of INEC officials.

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s National Commissioner, Solomon Soyebi in response, blamed the late arrival of electoral materials at several polling units in Anambra on corps members. Soyebi told Channels Television in Anambra that some of the corp members did not have the right attitude towards the exercise and were hesitant to go to some areas.

Accreditation, voting finally commences

Accreditation and voting eventually commenced in many polling units across the state between 9:30 am and 9:49 am. Governorship candidates including Osita Chidoka, UPP governorship candidate was accredited at 10:10 a:m, he also expressed sadness with the delay in the arrival of electoral material and commencement of accreditation and voting.

Victor Umeh who voted in Aguzigbo ward, Anambra Central Senatorial District, said the card reader has failed in one out of the 18 polling units in his ward. So, voting was going on in only 17 out of 18 polling units in the Aguluzigbo ward as at 12:27 p.m.

Voting amidst tight security

Heavily armed security operatives were seen in some units and council areas during the election. But for the intervention of security officials of the Department of State Services (DSS), a man at the Community Primary School, Amawbia, in Awka the state capital would have disrupted the voting process.

The man was arrested for allegedly attempting to pay voters to vote for his candidate. He was led away from the polling unit and into a Hilux parked close to the unit. The man was eventually released after he claimed that the cash that he had on him was meant for the payment of his party agents. There were reported violence in some other wards but security officials were reportedly swift to act.

Defying the heat and IPoB threat

Despite the scorching heat, voters at Amawbia, Awka South LGA were resolute in their desire to vote. Based on the high turnout of voters at today’s Anambra election, one can conclude that Anambra voters were determined about exercising their civic duties despite threats by the proscribed IPoB group which have threatened Anambra residents not to go out and vote and to boycott the election.

Source: Channels Television

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