*APGA, PDP, APC in tight race
*Andy Uba wins polling unit, hails exercise
*BVAS malfunctions in Soludo’s unit
*Ozigbo worries over poor internet
*Impressive turnout, peaceful poll
*Protest in Nnewi over result sheet as thugs destroy materials in Obosi
By Vincent Ujumadu, Dennis Agbo, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Nwabueze Okonkwo
ELIGIBLE voters who could not cast their ballots yesterday in the Anambra State governorship election because of technical issues and system failure on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will be given the opportunity to do so, today.
Contrary to pre-election fears of apathy and violence, three was impressive turnout of voters across and the exercise was peaceful.
However, election officials did not arrive on time at many polling units, and INEC’s accreditation of voters through the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, suffered setbacks in many polling units across the state.
Following complaints from some candidates and leading politicians, INEC has extended voting till Sunday.
The exercise was also extended beyond the closing time of 2.30pm yesterday.
INEC Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, said BVAS failed in many areas because of software breach.
According to him, the extension was, therefore, to enable those who could not cast their votes to do so.
Many polling units experienced the breach, thereby delaying voting process and frustrating eligible voters.
For instance, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, battled to vote for nearly one hour and had to leave the voting arena at some point.
In his Alor ward in Idemili South local government area, the failure rate was up to 30 percent.
Also, the candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, could not cast his vote.
Although there was massive turnout in Isuofia, his home town, Soludo said only 20 persons had voted as of 4.30pm in the area and he elected to wait for all of them to vote before he would vote.
But for the presence of security operatives at the various polling stations, many eligible voters would have protested angrily.
Soludo, Ozigbo, Andy Uba in tight race
However, in spite of the hitches, Soludo, of the ruling APGA, jumped into a slight lead from polling units results available at press time in what is panning out as a tight three-horse race among him; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Val Ozigbo; and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Andy Uba.
Indeed, Uba beat other contestants in his Ward 16, Polling Unit 17, Uga, Aguata LGA. He pollled 80 votes while Soludo got 10 votes, and Ozigbo scored five votes.
Thugs invade Obosi School of Health, destroy ballot materials
Armed men suspected to be thugs invaded one of the pilling units located at School of Health at Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area, beat up electoral officials, snatched ballot materials and tore them to shreds.
The thugs, according to eye witnesses, stormed the venue at about 10 a.m on motorbikes, dispersed voters before carrying out the act.
The member representing Idemili North and South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Obinna Chidoka, who confirmed receiving the report of the incident with other pockets of violence at Ugwuagba Area of Obosi, said he had informed the police to go after the hoodlums.
Chidoka, who voted at his 014 polling unit at Obosi around 12.30 in the afternoon, however, expressed satisfaction that the voting exercise was going on smoothly as of the time he voted.
His elder brother and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, who also voted at the same polling unit, said he was impressed with the manner the exercise was going on and charged INEC to ensure a free, fair and credible exercise.
Uba commends INEC, optimistic of victory
Shortly after voting, Uba commended INEC for the process, which he described as transparent.
“INEC’s arrangement is transparent and orderly,” he said. “Things are going smoothly; we are going to win this election.”
I’m shocked by INEC’s technology breakdown —Soludo
Soludo refused to vote insisting that other voters who arrived the polling unit before him must first vote before he could do so.
The APGA candidate made this clear while speaking with newsmen at 4:00 p.m, yesterday, lamenting that his people were being systematically disenfranchised. He raised the alarm that only about 20 out of the about 800 registered voters who turned up at his polling unit in Isuofia had been able to cast their vote while the rest were yet to be accredited due to the non-working of the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine.
Obiano votes in Aguleri, urges voters to come out
Governor Willie Obiano was among the first voters to cast their votes at Aguleri in Anambra East local government area.
He was accompanied by his wife, Ebelechukwu, to Otuocha Ward 4 polling station where they both went through a rapid registration before casting their votes in the polling booth.
Addressing reporters after casting his vote, Obiano urged Anambra people to come out quickly and perform their civic duties, explaining that the voting exercise was expected to last for only a few hours.
He commended the voting process, saying it was fast and easy and expressed optimism that the entire exercise would would be free and fair across the state.
Ozigbo votes, expresses worry over poor internet
Ozigbo voted at his unit 10 Amesi ward but expressed worry over poor Internet connectivity experienced by voters.
The PDP candidate said it took him over 20 minutes to cast his vote and wondered what other voters would experience in various parts of the state.
He also decried late arrival of materials at Awka South, Orumba North, other parts of the state and urged INEC officials to ensure that materials get to those areas to avoid disenfranchising voters.
Voting experience took much longer time than expected – Okonkwo, ZLP candidate
Governorship candidate of Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, expressed reservation on the delay in some polling units, which he experienced when he voted in Ogidi town hall polling unit 009.
Okonkwo said: “Voting experience took much longer than expected, I had monitored feed backs before voting and the information is indicative that election is holding but for some issues that should not be of any worry”.
BVAS fails to accredit Ngige
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige was yet to cast his vote as of press time due to Biomodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS.
Ngige waited for more than one and a half hours at the Nkwo-Ide Alor polling unit in Idemili South Local Government Area during when he tried severally to get accredited but the machine could not pass him through.
He expressed his desire to vote but regretted that the system failed.
The Minister put the failure rate of accreditation machines in his area at over 30 percent.
Leaving the Polling Centre for his house, Ngige asked INEC to extend the voting period to make up for the machine failure.
Deputy Governor votes, describes exercise as transparent
Anambra Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, voted at 10: 04am at his Umueze Awovu poling unit 005 in Enugwu Ukwu Ward 3 and described the exercise as transparent.
“This is the easiest voting exercise I have witnessed. The BIVAS worked perfectly and voting is smooth,” he said.
APGA jumps to early lead
Meanwhile, APGA jumped into early lead from results obtained at press time.
It was leading in some polling units in Awka. In two Awka polling units located at Aroma junction of Awka South local government area — Agu Awka ward two polling Units 008 and 009, the results as announced in the polling units are:
Adegbefomimi ward 2 Enugu Ukwu Njidoka LGA
APGA 82 votes
APC 12 votes
PDP 26 votes
OBOSI WARD IDEMILI NORTH
OPEN SPACE AT AMA EJIOFOR SQUARE, IRE
URUOWULU CENTRAL SCHOOL
IDEMILI SOUTH LGA – POLLING UNIT RESULTS
ALOR WARD 1
NKWO IDE PUBLIC SQUARE II
NKWO IDE PUBLIC SQUARE III
NKWO IDE PUBLIC SQUARE IV
NKWO IDE PUBLIC SQUARE V
ALOR WARD II
UMUOSHI PRY SCH IV
UMUOSHI PRY SCH I
UMUOSHI PRY SCH II
UMUOSHI PRY SCH III
UNITED PRY SCH III
EBENESI OKUBUNOYE HALL
UNITED PRY SCH II
UNITED PRY SCH I
IDEMILI SQUARE II
IDEMILI SQUARE III
DISPENSARY NNOKWA II
UBILI HALL IV
UBILI HALL III
UBILI HALL I
NNOBI WARD II
NNOBI WARD III
UMUDIOKPALA UMUHAI HALL
Bridgehead Onitsha South ward 1
Polling unit 004
Polling unit 005
Polling unit 006
Polling unit 007
Polling unit 009
Polling unit 010
Bridgehead ward 2
Bridge Head Ward 2 which is the Ward of the Chairman of APC in Anambra State, Chief Basil Ejidike, had the following results.
Polling unit 001
Polling unit 002
Polling unit 003
Polling unit 004
Polling unit 005
Polling unit 006, which is the Polling Unit of Chief Basil Ejidike, the State Chairman of APC voted, the result is as follows,
Polling unit 007
Polling unit 008
Polling unit 009
APC APC 3
Polling unit 010
APC 11 APGA 1
Vanguard News Nigeria