Anambra Decides: APGA, PDP, APC Candidates Win Their Polling Units as INEC Extends Election to Sunday

…I will win if Elelection is free, fair, credible …Soludo

BY OUR CORRESPONDENT

The top contenders in the ongoing Anambra State governorship election, which commenced on Saturday, have won their respective polling units.

Ubah, Soludo, Ozigbo and Uba

The Independent National Electoral Commission has announced that voting would continue on Sunday 7th November. This was due to the malfunctioning of the newly deployed Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, which disrupted accreditation and voting in some areas.

The top contenders were the candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chukwuma Soludo; All Progressives Congress, Andy Uba; and Peoples Democratic Party, Valentine Ozigbo.

The APC candidate, who voted at Saint Peter’s Catholic School, Uga Ward 16, Polling Unit 10 of Aguata Local Government, scored 80, followed by APGA with 10 votes, YPP scored five votes while PDP scored two votes.

The candidate of the PDP, who voted at polling unit 010 Social Center, Ward 005, of the Aguata Local Government, Area scored 75 votes, followed by APGA with eight votes while the APC scored two.

The candidate of APGA, who voted at Isuofia Ward 13, Unit 002 in the Aguata LGA, scored 126 votes while PDP scored five and both APC and YPP scored three votes each.

The election was characterised by voter apathy, vote-buying, late arrival of materials and the malfunction of the BVAS machines.

The candidate of APGA, Charles Soludo, said his party would win the election if the election was free, fair and credible. The BVAS, however, malfunctioned in his polling unit, causing a delay for hours.

Soludo, who voted at 5.10pm after waiting for almost six hours, said he had to remain in the queue for the women and the aged people to vote as soon as the BVAS started working.

After casting his vote, he commended INEC for its efforts to ensure a peaceful and smooth process, while thanking the people for being calm and peaceful in spite of the logistics challenges.

He said, “I voted after a long wait and there was no way I would jump the queue. My 90-year-old father was also in the queue, so allowing them to vote before me was the right thing to do. I believe the will of God will prevail no matter the delay.”

Speaking with journalists on Saturday after voting, Soludo said his people urged him to contest and that his aim was to win the election with a wide margin and be a servant leader.

He said, “I always say that I am an incredible optimist. When we were in court after the primaries, I did make a statement that the judiciary will always come through and that went to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court. They actually came through.

“It is not just winning, but winning with a wide margin. I’m more interested in the legitimacy of the process, because for me the mandate I seek is people’s mandate to be their servant leader and that is satisfactory to me.”

The National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye, expressed reservations over the exercise, especially the poor performance of the BVAS machine.

Oye, while voting at Amawbia ward 3, Polling Unit 003 in Awka South Local Government, said, “With the massive turnout of voters at the polling unit, I am afraid that many eligible voters might be disenfranchised. It appears INEC is working in partnership with APC to rig the election.”

Meanwhile, Governor Willie Obiano and his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke, hailed the process, describing it as transparent.

The governor, who has cast his ballot at Eri Primary School, Unit 004, Otuocha 1, Aguleri, Anambra East LGA of the state said, “I appeal to Ndi Anambra to come out and vote as the voting exercise would last for only a few hours. I commend the voting process, it was fast and easy. I am optimistic that the entire exercise would be free and fair across the state.”

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who battled with the BVAS for over an hour waited to cast his vote despite the hiccup.

The minister called on INEC to make arrangements for manual accreditation when the machine fails so the people could exercise their franchise.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who battled with the BVAS for over an hour waited to cast his vote despite the hiccup.

The minister called on INEC to make arrangements for manual accreditation when the machine fails so the people could exercise their franchise.

He said, “I have been here for over an hour without success. I’m not impressed. The failure rate is between 25 and 30 per cent. This is not encouraging. INEC should not be packing the equipment after each election. They should be testing such machines a week before elections in a mock trial. I won’t leave here until I vote.”

The APC candidate, Andy Uba, who spoke at Otiogba Centre, Ugah Ward 1 polling unit 015, 021, 022, stated that he was optimistic that he would win given the defections into the party before the election.

He added, “I have voted without any problem. The BVAS is working in my polling unit and I am sure INEC is working to fix the problems that have been noticed.”

Similarly, the PDP candidate, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, called for an extension of voting hours to ensure that no eligible voter was denied the opportunity to vote.

He said, “I call on INEC to extend the voting hours to allow eligible voters to cast their ballot since the delay is not their fault but it is due to the malfunctioning BVAS.”

Also, a former governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi, also said he was disappointed with the malfunctioning of the BVAS and delay in the commencement of voting.

Speaking with journalists after casting his vote at his Umudim Akasi ward 2, unit 019 in Agulu Community, Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, Obi stated, “It took a while for the exercise to start and when it did, the BVAS were not working, which shouldn’t be. I have also been getting calls from across the state.

Meanwhile, INEC extended voting till Sunday in areas where voting could not be concluded on Saturday.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, said at a press briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Awka, the state capital, on Saturday that the poll would open at 8.30am and close at 4pm on Sunday.

He said the revised closing time would apply to areas where polling units opened after 8.30am.

He said, “In line with existing regulations and guidelines of the commission, any intending voter who is in the queue by 4pm shall be allowed to vote. All Polling Units staff must comply with this directive.”

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