ANXIETY AS BAYELSA, DELTA, ANAMBRA, BENUE AWAIT INEC LIST
Politicians who trooped to the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa State to view the list of candidates for the 2011 elections, left disappointed as the commission was yet to release the list as at press time, yesterday. Some of the politicians who were worried about their status due to the power-play in their parties were the most embittered as they were eager to know when the list would be pasted.
The Public Relations Officer of the commission, Mr. Timidi Wariowei said the legal department was sorting out the list and making photocopies of the candidates' particulars before the list would be pasted. An official in the legal department who preferred anonymity said the headquarters of the commission sent the whole list including that of the presidential candidates whom he said was giving officials of the legal department, works to do.
'The list would have been pasted but we need to sort it out and make photocopies. Our head office sent the list together and it is now that we are separating them. We are sending copies of all the candidates to the local government areas so that people would know who they are voting for in the elections. As soon as we complete the photocopying, we would paste the list.'
As of the time of filing this report, the legal department was still busy sorting out the names, fueling speculations that the list would be pasted on today.
In a related development, political parties and aspirants in Anambra State were yesterday also disappointed as their long wait at the INEC State Secretariat, Awka to know their fate was futile as the commission was yes to display the list as at press time.
Following the confusion that trailed the party primaries and the attendant litigations, many aspirants and their supporters stormed INEC headquarters behind Anambra State House of Assembly Complex, Awka to know their fate but were disappointed when they were informed that the list was not ready.
When Daily Sun spoke with the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, he confirmed the office was with the list but still sorting names out.
He said, 'We have the list but we are sorting it,' stressing that the list was contained in a Ghana-Must-Go bag and would take some time to be sorted out.
'We don't want to make any mistakes, we want to take our time to sort them out and then display them. That may take us up to 11.30 pm and 12 midnight.'
Meanwhile, the State Security Services (SSS) has taken over the interrogation of INEC registration officers arrested on Sunday over registration offences.
Palpable tension has also gripped politicians in Delta State , as many of them were anxious to see their names on the candidates' list.
The anxiety was further heightened by the fact that the commission in the state as at the time of filing in this report , was yet to release the said list.
Speaking with some politicians on their reactions to the said list, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government and senatorial candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) for Delta North, Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa said there was nothing to react to since he had not seen the list
According to him, ' I have not even seen the INEC list. How then, do I react to it? It's only when I have seen it that I will be able to react to it .'
On his part , another candidate of the party from the Chief Edwin Clark faction, former House of Representative member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, and candidate of the PDP for the same position as Okowa, Prince Ned Nwoko only told Daily Sun to call him back as he was in a crucial meeting then.
When Daily Sun contacted INEC's Public Affairs Officer in the state, Mr. Livy Unigwe, said they had received the list from Abuja but were yet to release it.
'We have received it .We are working on it, producing copies to enable us send to the various zones and constituencies in the State'.
Elsewhere, there was palpable anxiety among aspirants as many of them were still unsure of what the national umpire would do to their names and the osiibility that their names would appear as candidates. The fear became more pronounced as some of the parties in the state are factionalised.
An observer told Daily Sun that a party like the PDP which is the largest in the state would have its crisis going deeper and deeper once the names of some of the aspirants are not published
On the other hand , the inability of the state INEC to publish the list of candidates has further heightened the anxiety especially as there were parallel primaries in the state, one in Warri and another in Asaba.
The calculation was that most people were, as far as the PDP was concerned, wanted to know who was charge in the state .
While this was the case, some INEC officials while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the primaries in the state recently, had disclosed how some party officials in the state had tried to impose the names of some aspirants on them and how in defiance, they had to leave the official accomodation given to them.
All these had really caused high blood pressure for he aspirants.
In Benue, many of the aspirants were seen trooping in and out of the INEC office just to catch a glimpse of the list. As at the press time, the dreaded list was yet to be released. When contacted, INEC commissioner, Alhaji Nasir Ayilara told Daily Sun that the list was being awaited from Abuja. He assured that between now and Tuesday morning latest, the list should be made ready.
Ayilara however promised to make the list available to newsmen as soon as he gets it.