Late arrival of officials and materials characterised Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections in many parts of the South East zone.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and Anambra, the situation of non-arrival of the officials and materials dominated while accreditation actually started early in a few places.
In Aba, Abia State, the election materials did not leave the Aba South council headquarters until 8.45 a.m., 45 minutes after accreditation was to have started at the polling centres. The long queue of commercial buses hired to convey the materials to the polling centres waited while the officials ran around to collect the materials.
Meanwhile, many voters waited for the officials and materials in many of the voting centres from 8.00 a.m.
In Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, accreditation did not start as scheduled in some areas while it commenced early in others.
At Ehiebe in Ebonyi Local Government Area, the officials had not arrived at 8.30 a.m. while voters waited anxiously. Some of the voters, Moses NKwuda, Adline Ucha and Miriam Egbo, said that they were at the pollig unit as early as 7 a.m. and expressed disappointment that it did not start on schedule.
An INEC official who pleaded anonymity blamed the late distribution of materials on logistics problems but assured the people that the situation would normalise.
In all the polling stations monitored where accreditation started, the card readers functioned without hitches.
In Anambra, the elections started on a rather slow note as accreditation in most polling units were yet to commence as at 11,00 a.m. The Public Relations Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Frank Egbo, said, however, that materials were moved to the various polling units before 8:30 a.m.
At Nri Boys Secondary School, the polling unit of Uche Ekwunife, a member of the House of Representative, the materials were yet to arrive as at 11.00 a.m. In places where accreditation had commenced, including the Uruekwo polling unit in Enugu Ukwu, the country home of Deputy Governor Nkem Okeke, the card reader failed in one of the two polling units.
At Ndiowu community in Orumba North local government, there was complete failure of the card readers but accreditation commenced after party agents agreed to use the voter register and incident forms.
Osita Ofor, a voter, appealed to political party agents and INEC to allow the accreditation to go on without the card reader machines.
At Ogbu-Obi Primary school, Obosi in Idemili North local government, election materials arrived at about 10.45 a.m.
Meanwhile, the police in the state have confirmed reports of an explosion which destroyed parts of a building at Ayom na Okpala Primary School, Amenyi in Awka, late on Friday night.
The spokesperson of the police, Uche Ezeh, said that the bomb squad had been sent to the scene to ascertain the situation.
“We gathered that some youths last night set off fireworks. So the bomb squad will determine whether it was a bomb or ordinary fire works,’’ he said.
In Imo, the officials and materials arrived at Umueze Enyiigugu, Aboh Mbaise local government at 12.20 p.m. just as it arrived late in many other areas of the state.