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Enugu LG poll: Poor turnout but peaceful

By The Nigerian Voice
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Turnout for the local government election in many parts of Enugu State is generally low as voters are yet to come out, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

NAN correspondents who monitored the elections in the state on Saturday reports that there was voter apathy in the wards visited as very few voters were seen at the various polling units.

NAN reports that as at 9:30am, accreditation had yet to start in most polling units in Enugu East, North and South, Igboeze North and Nsukka Local Government Areas.

However, accreditation and voting started simultaneously at about 9:47am at Maryland Ward 13, polling units 1, 2, 3 and 10 in Enugu South council area.

As at the time of filing this report, voting had yet to start in any of the polling units in Enugu North Local Government Area.

Officials of the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission were still at the headquarters of Enugu North Local Government to take delivery of election materials.

Meanwhile, the turnout for the election in most of the polling units is generally low as most residents were going about their businesses.

The chairmanship candidate of African Peoples Alliance in Enugu South, Chukwunonso Ogbe, described the conduct of voters as “peaceful”.

Ogbe, however, decried the attitude of the electoral officers whom he said were forcing the electorate to vote in their presence.

The chairmanship candidate said the people needed to be given the latitude to vote according to their conscience without inhibitions.

A NAN correspondent in Enugu South observed that as at 9am materials were yet to leave the local government headquarters to the polling units for the council election.

A collation officer at Achara Layout, Romanus Odili, decried the delay, but urged them to remain calm as the materials would soon arrive.

“The late arrival of material is what is delaying the distribution and commencement of the election,” Odili said.

Felicia Chime and Godwin Agu, who were at Igbariam Primary School Ward 7 for the exercise expressed disappointment at the poor preparation by ENSIEC.

“We don’t understand why materials have not arrived as at 9am for a local government election,” they said.

Election started at Abakpa Nike in Enugu East Local Government by 10am with low turnout of voters.

NAN reports that there was heavy security personnel in all the centres visited as voting was going on peacefully.

A party agent of the Democratic People’s Party in Abakpa 2, Ward 16, Christopher Ugwu, expressed satisfaction with the election process.

Ugwu said: “This election is moving on well, but the materials arrived very late.

“Despite the late commencement, voting is still peaceful and orderly, but I am not happy with the turnout.

Chigozie Oguegbu, All Progressives Congress agent at the Tipper Park polling unit in Abakpa 2 also expressed dismay over voter’s turnout.

Oguegbu said: “In this polling Abakpa two ward 17, we have 10 polling units and in Ngwo Park centre we have 11 polling units.

“This is still the best election so far in the state as at this morning, unless things will change at the long run.”

It was a similar story in Nsukka, as materials arrived late in most polling units visited.

An official of ENSIEC in Nsukka, who pleaded anonymity, blamed the delay to logistics.

Fabian Onah, the Peoples Democratic Party Chairman in Nsukka LGA, expressed satisfaction with the distribution and movement of election materials to wards.

Onah urged ENSIEC and security agencies to ensure that the election was free, fair and violence-free.

Also speaking, Joseph Ugwuoke, the APC Chairman in Nsukka LGA, said he had no problem with the process so far unless what would happen later in the day.

NAN reports that the distribution and movement of election materials were done under tight security provided by the police, Department of State Services and other security agencies.

At Ajuona Ward 2 in IgboEze South LGA, voting commenced at about 10am.

The member representing Nsukka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency, Dr. Patrick Asadu, cast his vote at about 10:40am.

Asadu said Enugu was known for its peaceful nature, adding that what they did in the state was to encourage dividend of democracy mostly at the grassroots.

He said that PDP had worked so hard to win this council election as they were the only party that campaigned for the election.

NAN