Catholic Church condemns ‘widespread irregularities’ in Anambra council polls

A woman casting her vote

The JDPC said the elections were marred by widespread irregularities

The Justice, Development and Peace Commission, JDPC, a body of the Catholic Church, has decried what it described as the “widespread irregularities’’ in the January 11 local government elections in Anambra.

In a five-page document signed by the Executive Director of the commission, Edwin Udoye, in Onitsha on Monday, the body said the standard of the election from the process performance, materials, and the voting was not satisfactory.

“The entire process was marred by widespread irregularities and therefore not satisfactory,’’ said Mr. Udoye.

He said that the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission, ANSIEC, performed below average as voters protested against alleged fake officials who conducted the elections in some wards as opposed to the actual officers assigned there.

“Through the streets of Onitsha, Nnobi, Abatete, Alor, Umuoji, Ojoto, Ogbaru and most of the places covered by the JDPC, people were buying and selling as well as going about their normal businesses from 11 a.m.

“In other areas, the late arrival of election materials and officials made voters to boycott the election.

“It was observed that in most of the polling units visited, that only one ballot box served for the two elections (chairmanship and councillorship),’’ he said.

Mr. Udoye, however, made some recommendations for ANSIEC to consider before embarking on future elections.

“ANSIEC should make adequate provision of electoral materials for subsequent elections and provide adequate training for its ad-hoc officials.

“ANSIEC and INEC should revisit the wards and polling units allocations/delimitation.

“ANSIEC should be held responsible for any deficiency resulting from the elections and a press conference to address lapses and evidence(s) of connivance with political parties (be held),’’ the statement said.

He also suggested that intensive monitoring should be provided to track and punish politicians who contravened the provision of the electoral law which stated that campaigns should end 24 hours before any election.

The ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance overwhelmingly won the Anambra council polls.

(NAN)

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