Late arrival of materials almost marred Anambra LG polls

By The Citizen

Saturday's local government elections in Anambra witnessed late arrival of materials in many of the polling units in the central senatorial zone.

The materials were still being loaded into vehicles at about noon in some council headquarters for onward distribution to polling units.

The Electoral Officer in-charge of Njikoka Local Government Area, Mrs Ada Imagie, ascribed the delay to the late arrival of police officers.

'We are trying to make sure that there are enough police personnel to escort election materials to the various polling units before we dispatch them.

'We don't want a situation where the materials will be snatched by hoodlums on the way,' she said.

A coucillorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Nimo Ward 4, Mr Jude Atupulazi, expressed confidence in the poll in spite of the hitches in the distribution of the materials.

Atupulazi said the delay was a common phenomenon, explaining that everywhere was calm and that the people were enthusiastic about the process.

'The lateness of commencement does not have anything to do with the credibility of the poll,' he argued.

At the Awka South Local Government Area where the story is the same, the councillorship candidate of the Labour Party for Isiagu-Eziagi Ward, Mr Nweke Chukwuebuka, expressed worry about the development.

'We have been here since 7 a.m. waiting for materials to be loaded and sent to our polling unit and this is 10:11 a.m.

'As we speak, we hear that results sheets and the supervising presiding officer are nowhere to be found.

'They are finding a way to rig the election and we will not accept the ploy,' he alleged.

Reacting, however, the Electoral Officer in-charge of Awka South, Mr Augustine Nkado, said the delay came from the police.

'We wanted to start distribution early but the police said that the divisional police officer must be around before we commence,' Nkado said.

At Iru-Owelle Village Hall polling unit, Aguluezigbo in Anaocha Local Government Area, there were complaints of withdrawal of election materials soon after they arrived.

Mr Marcel Okafor said the people were waiting for the arrival of materials as at 11:25 a.m.

'We saw some persons with election materials here but suddenly they turned back and left,' he said.

There was a large turn-out of voters at Aguluezigbo Civic Centre polling unit where the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, was expected to vote.

Those who spoke expressed satisfaction with the entire process.

A former Commissioner for Environment in the state, Dr Mike Egbebuike, said the turnout was due to the political awareness of the people of the area.

'We are politically inclined and know the importance of governance. There is no way we can have a strong democracy without the local government,' he said.