The enthusiasm of Nigerians to vote those who will represent them at the National Assembly as shown in their large turnout yesterday at the polling centres across the country was dampered by the postponement of the polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Niger: Impressive turnout
Reports by Wole Mosadomi in Niger State said there was impressive turnout of the electorate at the polling units at regulated time for accreditation and voting.
As early as 7 a.m., eligible voters had stormed the registration centres and were waiting on queue to be accredited but without INEC officials to attend to them.
Information on the postponement of the elections started filtering into voters in the state around noon but it sounded unbelievable to them.
The adhoc staff for the elections were said to have earlier been dismissed by INEC for non-availability of sensitive materials for the elections.
When our correspondent visited the INEC headquarters in Minna, the Niger State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Emmanuel Onucheyo, was said to be out of office while other INEC officials on ground refused to comment on the situation.
However, a top official of the commission, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, assured that the elections would still hold, pointing out that the REC was at the airport waiting for other election materials to arrive.
Representatives of opposition political parties in the state including ACN, ANPP, CPC, who stormed the INEC office out of anger to know what was going on, could not also be attended to by any official of the commission.
Delta: 25 percent of electoral materials received
The postponement of the National Assembly polls in Delta State became glaring when the REC, Mr. George Ada, announced that there was insufficient electoral materials, according to our correspondent, Hugo Odiogor.
George said the postponement was done after due consultation with the stake holders in the state.
The REC explained that only 25% of the materials needed for the election was received and it was not possible for the state INEC to proceed with the elections.
A member of Aniocha /Oshimili Federal Constituency, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, who was reported to have only three local governments covered said it was a ploy by the electoral body to jeopardise his chances of re-election. Also reacting to the situation, Hon. Ned Nwoko, who was earlier restrained from contesting the election by a Federal High Court in Abuja, said the postponement had frustrated the devices of those who had planned to achieve electoral victory through a black market judicial process.
The REC had earlier said the commission was not aware of any court injunction restraining Nwoko as a candidate for Delta North Senatorial District. He assured his supporters that victory is certain.
Delta State ACN urged its supporters for calm amid the suspension of the National Assembly elections in the state.
The party, in a statement, attributed the elections suspension by INEC to its insistence that its agents should sight the Form EC8B to collate the polls at the ward which, according to it, was not immediately available.
The ACN urged the people of Delta to be calm and restrained in their reaction to the polls suspension, saying it hoped the best would come when the elections eventually hold.
The party explained that it was holding INEC to its promise to make the votes of the people of Delta count in the National Assembly polls and the other elections, especially the gubernatorial segment in which Ovie Omo-Agege is its candidate.
Rivers: Voters disappointed
In Rivers State, Jimitota Onoyume reported that the state REC, Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak, convened a meeting consequent upon the postponement of the National Assembly polls in the state.
He hinged the postponement on inadequate materials for the elections. According to him, INEC took the decision to guard against any group taking advantage of the shortage of materials for the elections.
When asked if a new date had been fixed for the rescheduled election he said that would be made known at the end of the meeting of the commission that was on-going at press time.
The commissioner confirmed that INEC received some voting materials in the early hours of yesterday at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
Meantime, there was enthusiasm on the part of the people of the state to vote as they turned up very early for accreditation at their various units.
There was no vehicular movement. People clustered in their various voting units waiting for the next line of action from the electoral body.
At about 10.30 am the commissioner of police in Rivers State for elections duties, Mr Yakubu Adamu Alkali; Brigade Commander, Port Harcourt Army Barracks, Brig General Tukur Yusufu Buratai and several top security operatives met with the REC at the INEC office on Aba Road.
Ogun: REC alleges logistic disconnect
Reports filed by Kolade Larewaju in Ogun State said the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, had voted in his Iporo ward, in Abeokuta when news of the polls postponement filtered into Abeokuta, the state capital.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Governor Olusegun Osoba, Governor Olugbenga Daniel and the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN] governorship candidate; Senator Ibikunle Amosun had all done accreditations in their various wards waiting to vote when the news came.
In fact, Obasanjo had retired into his Ita-Eko home opposite the African Church Grammar School, his voting centre after his accreditation and was expected to come and vote at the commencement of voting. He however did not return, obviously having been informed that the process had been suspended. Voters on the queue were however unaware as they continued casting their votes.
The REC in the state, Deacon Martins Okunfolami, later, at a news conference, confirmed that form EC8 had not been received and attributed the postponement of the elections to “logistic disconnect.”
Daniel, in his reaction, described the postponement as one that comes with monumental cost to the nation. The governor, who did his accreditation at his Isote ward in Sagamu, said INEC has a lot of explanation to give to Nigerians since the body had already told Nigerians that it was ready for the election.
GENERAL Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye could not be accredited because relevant materials were yet to arrive the Redemption Camp at noon when the cleric and his wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Folu Adeboye, called to exercise their civic responsibility.
The twosome were received at the polling unit by INEC officials, State Security Service personnel and a large crowd of eligible voters when he was told that materials were still being expected from Abeokuta, only minutes to the end of the accreditation exercise.
Adeboye, who did not show any sign of shock at the development, opted to wait at the polling unit for the arrival of the materials but the INEC officials who were thoroughly embarrassed by the offer, pleaded with him to please go back, promising that when the materials arrived, they would invite him to flag off the exercise at the Camp.
It was not clear at press time if the INEC officials called the pastor and his wife to intimate them on the latest development or the couple, like several million Nigerians, heard the announcement of the postponement of the polls on television as they did not come back to the polling unit.
Taraba: REC seeks understanding
Ben Agande in Taraba quoted the REC in the state, Dr Abba Kyari Sadiq, as saying INEC was exploring the possibility of using the airforce to airlift materials to areas where ballot for senatorial elections were not supplied.
He called for the understanding of electorate, saying the commission was doing everything to ensure that the electorate carried out their civic responsibility.
In Taraba Central as at 10 a.m., accreditation had not started while in Wukari Taraba South Senatorial District, accreditation had not started by 11:30.
Kwara: ACPN sues for calm, seeks transparency
Reports from Kwara State said the suspension of the National Assembly elections elicited reaction from the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) which said it received the news with shock.
The party nonetheless asked its supporters to remain calm.
INEC had cited lack of electoral materials in the state for the postponement of the election.
The Kwara ACPN said, in a statement, that it agreed with the postponement as a sacrifice if it is a recipe for a free and fair election.
The party said:”If the delay in this election means we will have a credible poll, then we consider it a sacrifice. But we want to say that when it eventually holds, all necessary materials, especially Form EC8B, to be used to collate the election at the ward level, must be sighted by our agents to give credibility to the poll”.
SOKOTO: Massive turnout of women
In Sokoto metropolis, there was a massive turn out of women with many of them sighted on queues as early as 8.00 a.m.
Voters in Isa and Sabon Birni areas of the state turned out en masse for the exercise.
The acting chairman of Isa Local Government, Alhaji Nasir Yahayya, said adequate registration of voters was done to ensure peaceful polls.
At Takalmawa village in Sabon Birnin local government, 25 voters were accredited as at 9.41 am.
The presiding officer, Mr Promise Nwafor , said that they had got all the required materials while voters were orderly.
Nasarawa: Irate voters curse INEC, hold NYSC members hostage
Kingsley Omonobi reported from Nasarawa that thousands of eligible voters who thronged several polling stations in Lafia, Akwanga, Keffi and other cities in the state as early as 7 a.m. to vote in the National Assembly elections virtually rained curses on INEC over the postponement of the polls.
At Nasaraqwa Eggon area of the state, angry eligible voters, who could not contain their anger at the news of the postponement of the elections, had nobody to vent their anger on, except the Youth Corps members drafted to assist INEC officials in the elections.
They were, however, freed by a combined team of soldiers and policemen who moved to the scene on hearing of the incident.
The state REC, Ahmed Makama, at about 11. 30 a.m., summoned