Politics

Prof. Chukwuma Soludo leads as #AnambraDecides2021 but the election was not without ballot box snatching – Here’s why

Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is now leading in eight Local Government Areas in Anambra State.

There are 21 LGAs in the state and the APGA candidate has cleared out all the results that have been announced so far at LGA collation centres.

The LGAs are  Orumba South, Orumba North, Njijoka, Awka South, Onitsha South, Aguata, Anaocha, and Anambra East.

Neither APC nor the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won any LGA where results have been declared. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Sunday for the final collation.

We will continue to bring you live updates from INEC state headquarters in Awka, capital of Anambra. In the meantime, below are the results of the eight LGAs that have been announced so far.

Orumba North LGA
APC: 2692
APGA: 4826
PDP: 1863

Aguata LGA

APC: 4773

APGA: 9,136

PDP: 3798

Njikoka LGA

APC – 3216

APGA – 8803

PDP – 3409

Orumba South LGA

APC: 2,060
APGA: 4394
PDP: 1672

AWKA SOUTH LGA
APC – 2595
APGA – 12891
PDP – 5489

Onitsha South LGA
APC – 2050
APGA – 4281
PDP – 2253

Anambra East LGA

APC 2034

APGA: 9746

PDP: 1380

Anaocha LGA

APC – 2085

APGA – 6911

PDP – 5,108

Disruptions and ballot box snatching

In the meantime, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra State, Nwachukwu Orji, has confirmed reports of disruptions and ballot snatching in some polling centres in the state.

He made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen on Saturday. Mr Orji said there were reported cases of ballot snatching in some polling units in Idemili Local Government Area.

The REC said over seven ballot boxes containing hundreds of ballot papers were carted away by thugs.

“There were cases of ballot snatching during the election. Some thugs came and disrupted the process and took away the ballot boxes.

“This happened in Idemili North and South. About seven were carted away.”

Mr Orji also said there were areas where INEC officials were denied entry, which delayed the exercise. He, however, said he would not consider it a major security challenge.

“I wouldn’t consider it a major security challenge because the election was relatively peaceful. It was even surprisingly peaceful for some people because of fears of attack and all.”

When asked if votes in the affected areas will be cancelled, he said “that is a decision that will be taken after but for now the process must finish.”

Despite the reports of disruptions, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Echeng Echeng, said he was unaware of such.

“The elections have been peaceful. I don’t know what he (INEC official) is talking about. I did not get any report of any incident throughout today.

“I’m the commissioner of police. I have not heard about that. He should tell me about that.

“There is synergy but I did not hear of that. I also didn’t get that report that people were not allowed to go into some communities in the state,” he said.

Mr Echeng further said more than 90 per cent of the problems encountered during the exercise was not about security.

“They were INEC- related. Talk about transportation, talk about ad-hoc staff who arrived polling units late. Talk about transporters who refused to convey materials except they were paid.

“Most of the places they didn’t have elections were because materials arrived late. These are not security related.

“I can categorically state that I don’t have the report that there was resistance in some places denying INEC staff from gaining entrance.”

The police chief said the only report he had was that “security was everywhere and the election was going on smoothly. And they’re currently collating results.”

On his part, Ezenwa Nwagwu, a board member of Yiaga Africa, said that the police “lack information” on the attacks, raised a huge question about coordination.

“I don’t think this is the time to be territorial.

“If the police and NSCDC will deploy thousands of officers for the election and still say they did not know about the disruptions, it raises questions,” he said.

Voting has since ended in some areas and results are currently being collated.

Already, INEC has said accreditation and voting might be extended in some parts, “if necessary.”

Accreditation and voting, denied many electorates the right

Yiaga Africa, an independent election observer group, said the late arrival of electoral officials, materials, accreditation and voting, denied many electorates the right to vote in the Anambra governorship election.

Yiaga Africa said this in a situational statement on the 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Election held on Saturday.

The group said the challenge of the inability of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVA) or card readers to verify voters timely also resulted in many voters not casting their votes in good time.

Samson Itodo, Yiaga Africa Executive Director, and Dr Ezenwa Nwagwu, a board member of YIAGA Africa, jointly signed the Statement.

The group said it based its report on verified reports received from 229 of 248 sampled polling units using the Watching the Vote (WTV) method.

It said that on average, two polling officials were deployed to those polling units where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and materials arrived.

“This is lower than the required number of four polling officials per polling unit, at least one female polling official was present in the polling units.

“Yiaga Africa WTV observed the deployment of the BVAS to the polling units. We received reports of the BVAS failure to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and photos even where voter details were confirmed on the voter register.

“Yiaga Africa is concerned that the non-opening of these polling stations disenfranchises registered voters in those polling units,” it stated.

The observer group blamed the poor deployment of man and materials to voting centres on the lack of effective collaboration between INEC and transport companies as well as the lack of contingency plans to take care of any failure.

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