Anambra governorship election holds today

PDP and APC
PDP and APC

Today, 37 candidates of the various political parties will file out to test their strength and acceptance as the people of Anambra State go to the polls to elect their next governor.

However, analysts believe that out of the 37 political parties, only the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress (APC), United Progressives Party (UPP), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Progressives Party (PPA), will be able to put up good efforts at the polls.

As preparations for the election get to feverish point yesterday, the police were able to intercept two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) early in the morning in the Onitsha North area, close to a police station, which the bomb disposal unit evacuated. Saturday Sun efforts to confirm this report from the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, Mr Habila Joshak proved unsuccessful as he refused to pick his calls.

However, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Nkwachukwu Orji said that INEC was ready for the election.

According to him, INEC is deploying 23,000 adhoc staff and 700 of its regular staff while 6, 200 card readers are ready to be used today at the 5,379 booths in the state.

Orji disclosed that accreditation for the election will start by 8:00 a.m and voting taking place simultaneously, and ending by 2:00p.m if there was no other voter on the queue.

Also the police said that they would deploy 21, 000 officers to augment the 5, 000 in Anambra State.

When Saturday Sun monitored the situation across the 21 local government areas in the state, sorting and sharing of electoral materials, including ballot papers, were still going on at INEC local government offices up to 3:30p.m.

It was observed at all the local governments visited that only four political parties had their agents at the offices of INEC for the sharing of the electoral materials.

At Awka South LGA at about 1:30 p.m many adhoc staff were still struggling to get into the office to look up the list of their posting while some expressed sadness over their names missing from the exercise..

At Njikoka and Dunukofia Local Governments, only APGA, APC, PDP and UPP agents were present, just as the agents confirmed that they were having smooth exercise.

The Electoral Officer (EO) of Njikoka Local Government, Obinna Onunri said that the materials arrived early and they do not have any issues yet.

Meanwhile, the INEC has warned politicians not to induce its adhoc staff, corps members and other workers during the election.

The commission also warned corps members and its members of staff involved in the election not to collect any gratification from any politician during the exercise to avoid being compromised or stand to be blamed.

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The Head of Department, Voters Education and Publicity Mr. Leo Nkedife who disclosed this yesterday to Saturday Sun said that anybody caught in any manipulation or fraud would be handed over to the security agents for prosecution, stressing that all the adhoc staff and corps members were trained on dos and don’ts of the election.

Nkedife said that the commission was ready for the election as all necessary arrangement had been made to ensure free, fair and credible election, saying that all the sensitive materials for the election have been distributed to the 21 local government areas for onward movement to the collation centers.

He noted that the commission and security agents held series of meetings where they mapped out the best way to secure the staff and corps members on election duty.

The INEC spokesman also warned the members of the public to only access information from INEC website and platforms and always disregard information and news from the social media, advising that they should contact him or the Resident Electoral Commissioner for proper information and election result.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Operation and who is in charge of the election, Mr. Habitat Joshak has warned the Very Important Personalities (VIPs), politicians and government officials to keep off the road during the election.

He said that VIPs and government officials should not monitor election but should cast their votes close to their homes and go back, and that anybody caught moving about during the exercise would be arrested, saying that only people permitted to monitor the election were accredited media, observers as well as adhoc staff and INEC staff.

DIG Joshak said that five policemen would man each polling unit to cover the 4,608 polling units in the state, adding that 303 Hilux vans with patrol team would be moving, three helicopters would be hovering the area and 15 gunboat for waterways security would be used for the election.

He also said that the threat of IPOB members was an empty threat and a dummy sold out to the people to create unnecessary tension, saying that the state was calm and urged everybody to go out to vote without any fear of intimidation or death.

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