Council polls greeted with apathy in Anambra

INEC officials failed to turn up in Nnewi.

The local government elections in Anambra on Saturday were greeted with widespread voters’ apathy. Electoral officials were also absent in many polling units.

In Nnewi, though the popular Nnewi Main Market was locked, most of the shops located on streets were opened as people and vehicles moved around freely.

However, as at 1 p.m., no Anambra electoral commission staff was sighted at various polling units visited. At St John’s Anglican Church Edoji, Uruagu, Nnewi, voters turned up to vote but were disappointed by the absence of INEC officials.

At the Cathedral Church of St. Mary Uruagu, only few voters were found chatting with police officers posted to the polling unit while no electoral official was sighted; same at St. Mark’s Anglican Church Nnewichi, Enem Hall in Otolo Nnewi, as well as Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Akaboukwu and St John of the Cross Catholic Church Akwu-Egbo.

Some voters alleged that the absence of the electoral officials was a deliberate act by the state government and the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to disenfranchise voters so that the party’s candidates would easily win.

Low voter turnout

In Onitsha, it was observed that though voting materials arrived on time at most polling stations, (about 7.30 a.m.) the voter turnout was poor.

Majority of the residents of the city attended to their personal business as most shops in the bustling city opened for transactions.

Commercial motorcyclists were also busy conveying passengers to their various destinations.

Major markets in the city were, however, under lock and key; while smaller ones opened for business.

Reacting to apathy shown by the voters, Mike Obiadada, who resides on Okosi Street, blamed it on the timing of the election.

“Our people have just returned from the yuletide holidays and are not sensitised enough for the election,” he said.

Another resident, Chidi Onyema, attributed the apathy to doubts about the council election holding after many postponements.

The last local government elections in the state were conducted by the military in 1999.  Saturday’s election was boycotted by the All Progressives Congress.

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