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Voter apathy mars Anambra Central senatorial rerun election

By Ifeoma Okafor, Awka on 13/01/2018

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•Dominant candidate Victor Umeh casting his vote in his Aguluzigbo ward. Photo: Ifeoma Okafor
•Dominant candidate Victor Umeh casting his vote in his Aguluzigbo ward. Photo: Ifeoma Okafor

The Anambra Central senatorial election rerun held on Saturday has been marred by voter apathy as majority of accredited voters stay off polling units.

As at midday when our reporter visited Obinagu ward 1, no voter was seen around the place while only four people had exercised their franchise.

It was not different at Ebeakpu polling unit, ward 1, Amawbia, where only one voter was seen being accredited while few ballot papers were seen in the Governorship ballot box that was being used for the senatorial election.

The APO, Mozie Ngozi blessing said that the unit has witnessed attendance, but stated that it cannot be compared with the just concluded governorship election.

Beside the polling unit, people were seen sitting under a massive canopy set out for a burial ceremony.

One of the mourners who spoke with News Express, Elder Osita Ikegwuonu said that he was not aware an election was taking place in the state today.

He said that even if he knew, he would not have come out to vote because other major political were not taking part in the election.

“For me, Victor Umeh is a lone candidate in this election. Where are other major political parties?  How many out of the number INEC gave as candidates campaigned for this election.

“How many of them have money to throw around? As far as I am concerned, it’s a walk-over exercise for Umeh, whether anybody likes it or not so I cannot possibly waste my time going to vote.”

At Agulu Ward 4, polling unit 16 in Anaocha Local Government Area, there was the issue of card reader not functioning and that which led to the adoption of manual voting.

In a chat with journalists, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on the Governor on Inter-party affairs, Chief Ben Obi, expressed dismay over the inability of the commission to provide a working card reader, saying that the machine had rejected his thumbprint more than ten times.

According to him, the card reader issue had resulted in some of the eligible voters leaving the voting ground without exercising their franchise.

He regretted that some of the voters he suffered to mobilise could not cast their vote owing to the failure of the card reader.

“I embarked on house-to house campaign just to ensure that voters turn out for the exercise,” he said.

The APGA stalwart called on INEC to provide more serviceable card readers to correct the anomaly.

In Agulu, the Agulu Lake Migrant School polling unit was deserted as only polling officers seen idling away.

One of the INEC staff who refused to disclose his name however said the officials will remain at the centre until the stipulated time for voting before leaving.

Also at former governor Peter Obi's poling unit in Umudimakasi, unit 019, Agulu ward 2, only four INEC officials, the party agent of APGA, Maduagwu Celestine  and two other men were seen there.

As at 1:30pm, only four hundred and forty three registered voters out of the six hundred and fifty four voters had voted.

The scenario was, however, different at Aguluzigbo town ward 18, where the APGA candidate for the rerun election, Chief Victor Umeh cast his vote.

The turnout was massive, and an elder of the community said: “We have to come out to support our son. So even if the turnout is different in other places, it has to be different here.”

Addressing journalists after casting his vote, Umeh said he was optimistic the election would turn out well.

On the issue of voter apathy, the former National Chairman of APGA said that it was expected because of the long propaganda on whether the election would hold or not.

“The apathy was expected because of the bloated propaganda by the opposition camp on whether the election will hold or not,” he said.

 

Source News Express

Posted 13/01/2018 9:35:52 PM

 

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