Late arrival of officials, materials characterise election

Across many polling units in the various local government areas for the ongoing governorship election in Anambra State, there is a striking trend: the shortage or late arrival of election officials.

As a result, the commencement of voting has been slowed and deployment of materials delayed.

Some of the places this was observed include Ama-ndida Ogbo Umuefi War, Polling Unit (PU) 1, of Oyi LGA; Nri Primary School, Neni, in Anocha LGA.

At Ekwulobia I ward, PU 7 of Aguata LGA, there was only one adhoc staff as of 9:50 a.m. She said her other colleague went to pick the voting box at the LGA office.

Likewise, although materials had arrived Ekwulobia I, PU 1 and 2 of Aguata LGA, only three INEC officials were present at the two polling units.

Distressed, one of the ad-hoc staff said there should be at least four officials in his PU, but only him was present.

This loophole has made the electorate offer helping hands to lone officials, raising risks of interference by possibly partisan locals.

This medium had visited about 30 polling units as of 10 a.m., but accreditation and voting had started in only a few of them.

This has not been helped by the absence of security operatives in the polling units and on the roads despite the deployment of over 40,000 of them.

For instance, at Ekwulobia II ward, PU 017, the Presiding Officer (PO) said voting will not start unless security operatives were present. She was also the only one at the polling unit. She said she was told that her colleague was on the way.

Convoys of security vehicles were sighted around the headquarters of Aguata LGA in Ekwulobia as well as the ward collation centre for Isuọfia Ward, but the roads and polling units had no security personnel.

In Ward 16, Polling Unit 15 of Aguata LGA, a similar pattern played out. Thereafter, three vans of police personnel drove in but they soon left.

When PREMIUM TIMES asked the leader of the patrol who did not give his name about the situation, “we are making arrangements,” he said as he made calls to his colleagues over the phone asking for the deployment of personnel.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that many of the security personnel and INEC officials arrived late at the polling units because of an inefficient transportation system. This newspaper had reported how many drivers boycotted the roads due to fear of attacks.

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