November 18, 2017 10:08 am by felix.nwadioha – Nigeria –
Voting started in some polling booths in the Anambra governorship election as early as 10.00am this morning while accreditation of voters was still ongoing in other places, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The Anambra governorship election has 37 candidates, the highest number ever in any governorship elections in the history of Nigeria.
The election is holding in the shadow of the threat by the regional interest group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that the election will not hold until the Federal Government gives a date for a referendum for a separate state for Igbos of South-east Nigeria.
This has caused thousands of soldiers, policemen and other security agents to be deployed to Anambra to enforce the peace.
The governorship candidates include candidates Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor, with his deputy Nkemakonam Okeke, vying under the flag of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Also on the list are Oseloka Obaze of the PDP, with Chidi Onyemelukwe, a woman, as his running mate. It also has Tony Nwoye of the APC, with Dozie Arinze, a woman, as his running mate. Others on the list are Nwezi Amechi and his running mate Okeke Njideka, a woman, for All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP). Oby Okafor and her running mate Onyekwuluje Uzoma as candidate for Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) also made the list. Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, is also carrying the flag of United Progressive Party (UPP), with Okeke Ogbonnaya as his running mate. Other political parties with candidates on the list the Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Alliance (AA) and Action Democratic Party (ADP).
NAN correspondents report that in Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area, the materials arrived at few minutes past 8 a.m.
At Aguleri Ward I, where the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, is expected to vote, voting and accreditation of voters commenced on schedule.
NAN, however, reports that at Nsugbe ward I where, APC governorship hopeful,Tony Nwoye, is expected to vote, the polling officials were yet to arrive as at 10.00am.
But , in Onitsha, electoral officials arrived ahead of the 8 a.m voting schedule, but there was no voter as at 8:30 a.m.
The presiding Officer, Miss Peace Onah told NAN that they slept at the unit.
Onah said that unit 005 Metroploitian Secondary School ward 4 in Onitsha North, had three voting points.
“INEC officials are ready, but no voter has shown up as at 8:30 a.m,” Onah said.
At Unit 008 and 014 in Ado Girls Secondary School, Inland Town, Onitsha, materials and officials were yet to arrive.
A voter, Bernet Ezewudo, said he arrived by 8 a.m., but “you can see that every where is still under lock and key”.
Also, in Awka South, the process had not started and the presiding officer, Mr Richard Ogbuji, told NAN at8:22 a.m at Real Estate Primary School II that they were setting up table to start.
At unit 005 the presiding officer, Jude Anukam, attributed the late starting to transportation difficulties and appealed for patient and understanding,
Also, the presiding officer, Nkechi Sucuon, at Permanent Site Market 2 corroborated Anukam that the restriction of movement affected them.
At Oyi Local Government accreditation of voters had started in Umuduru ward 4.
The presiding officer, Anthonia Ugwunebo, said that the materials arrived at 8:24 a.m, while accreditation and voting began at 9 a.m.
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra state and the All P. rogressive Congress (APGA) candidate said that he was optimistic of returning for second tenure.
Obiano made this known after accreditation and casting his vote at Eri primary School, Aguleri, Anambra East LGA of the state on Saturday.
He appealed to the electorates in the state to go out en mass to cast their votes for him
“I am sure your votes will count, INEC has assured a credible election today and security agencies were providing adequate security for a hitch-free exercise.
Brown Ochee, APGA ward collating agent in the polling unit said that the card reading is working except finger print that was a disappointment.
“”So far so good, but the process because of the finger print failing,”” he said.
In Awka, the INEC state office, the security operation was effective as security operatives from several organizations took over the environment.
Business Day reports that the process is hitch free so far.