Anambra Special: Live updates from the voting centres

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
'Fotoramic' view of events across Anambra State

SSS detains el-Rufai

Former FCT Minister and Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC,, Mallam el-Rufai has been reportedly detained by the State Security Service (SSS) in his hotel room in Anambra State.

El-Rufai via his twitter handle @el-rufai said: “The DG-SSS did not pick my call, yet to call back. I have complained to another senior officer. It is unlawful detention and will be resisted!

“I intend to discharge my duties today no matter what, and will go out when ready. I will dare the SSS to shoot…..we wait and see…thanks.

Further updates from his twitter handle revealed that his phone was also seized: “In the midst of a phone interview with AIT’s Obiora Ilo, the SSS forcefully and unlawfully seized the phone thus abruptly end the interview.”

Nwoye, Obiano express mixed feelings over arrival of election materials

Anthony Nwoye, the PDP candidate in the Anambra governorship election, has decried the late arrival of election materials to some areas considered to be his stronghold, just as the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Willie Obiano, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying that things were moving accordingly.

Both APGA and PDP candidates come from Aguleri and Nsugbe communities respectively in Anambra East Local Council Area of the state and both communities are about 20 minutes drive away from each other.

Observations revealed that election materials arrived Nwoye’s polling unit located at Ilo-abito square, Nsugbe Ward one, at about 9.40 a.m. while it arrived at Obiano’s polling unit at Eri Primary School Ward one at about 10 02 a.m.

However, Nwoye in an interview, alleged that the delay was a ploy by the opposition to disenfranchise voters in his area.

“My finding is that it is a desperate move by my opposition to win the election. I gathered that materials arrived other polling booths as early as 6.30 a.m. but as you can see, no material has arrived my polling booth for inexplicable reasons.

“I have called the federal commissioner in charge of the South East to make my complaints known to him and he expressed shock.

“For materials that moved since last night to local government areas not to have reached polling booths by this time, is an attempt to provoke the youths and disenfranchise them,” he said.

The PDP candidate however, expressed confidence that he would be elected governor at the end of the poll.

In his remarks, Obiano, after his accreditation at about 10.30 a.m., simply said: “So far, INEC is doing well.”

Meanwhile, accreditation in most of the polling units visited in the area have been peaceful and orderly while also witnessing a large turn-out of voters in the various units visited.

Voters commend INEC for early arrival of materials

A cross section of voters in the Anambra Governorship Election have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the early arrival of materials in many polling stations.

Our correspondents monitoring the election in the state on Saturday, report that materials and officials arrived the polling stations visited as early as 6 a.m, while ad hoc staff, security officers and party agents were on ground to perform their duties.

Some of the voters, who spoke expressed satisfaction with the activities so far and commended INEC for a job well done.

The Transition Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area, Edward Okosi, said it was the first time the state was witnessing early arrival of election materials at the polling stations.

”This is the first time in recent times we are seeing election materials arriving early. With this development, future elections in the state will be free and fair,” he said.

A septuagenarian, Margaret Chife, who was accredited at Udeozo Ward 2, Awka at about 8.30 a.m., commended the peaceful atmosphere so far in the state.

”If the voters remain orderly as they are now, there will be no problem. All we want in this state is a good leader who will provide democracy dividends to the people,” she said.

Similarly, Steen Orurua, another voter at Arroma Ward, said he was satisfied with the development so far and expressed the hope that it would continue till the end of the election.

Security is tight with a joint patrol of the military, the police and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Police helicopters were also see flying within the state’s air space on surveillance activities.

APC alleges strongholds starved of voting materials, decries harassment of el-Rufai

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has raised the alarm over the late or non delivery of voting materials to the party’s strongholds during the ongoing Governorship election in Anambra State, describing the action as a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the party’s supporters and make the election anything but free and fair.

In a statement, Saturday, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party also said early reports from the state indicate a pattern of harassment of its members and the violation of INEC guidelines, among others, asking Nigerians to take note.

It specifically decried the continued harassment of its Deputy National Secretary, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai by armed Department of State Services (DSS) personnel, since he arrived at Awka on Friday night for the election.

APC said apart from restricting Mallam el-Rufai to the Finotel Hotel where he is staying, the DSS personnel also barged into the hotel’s restaurant while he was eating and collected the phones of everyone there, apparently to prevent their pictures from being taken as they laid a siege on the hotel.

”These DSS personnel claimed to be acting on orders from above. Whoever gave them the order, we in the APC believe it is illegal to prevent a duly accredited top official of a party involved in an election from moving around to monitor the election. He has a right to be at the election as our Deputy National Secretary,” the party said.

It also decried a situation in which a polling unit is situated right under the billboard bearing the pictures of APGA candidate Willie Obiano and his running mate in Aguleri, in clear violation of INEC guidelines.

APC condemned a situation in which voting materials are being delivered late or not delivered at all to the party’s strongholds, including Idemili North and South, Akwa South, Dunukofia, Onitsha North and South, Orumba North and South, Oyi, Ogbaru and Nnewi North.

”As at the time of issuing this situation report, election materials have not yet arrived at Idemili North and South, Ogidi ward 1, Nkpor ward 1, Abatate, booth 012 of ward 2 Nibo and one booth at umunnakwe hall; There is no INEC or police presence at Obi Ilo Okoye polling unit in Awada, Onitsha; INEC register for 2011 were not brought to Palm Site Market 1&2; INEC is refusing to accredit voters in Awka South LG Ward 8; In Nnwei north Otolo ward 03, polling unit 14, only 6 people out of 77 were accredited and others couldn’t find their name; In Ward 8, Awka Government House, PDP agents are openly soliciting for votes in exchange for money, just as it is happening in Onitsha North Ward 100 and in CKC Adazi Nnukwu, and at Nteje Unit 004 in Oyi LG, APGA and PDP are negotiating how to share votes.

”These are just a few of the examples of the shenanigans going on right under the nose of INEC, and we demand an immediate rectification so that no citizen will be disenfranchised, and so that all the parties will have a level playing ground. If this is not done urgently, the promise of a free, fair and transparent election in
Anambra by the President and INEC would have been nothing but a ruse,” APC said.

Confusion in Nziko units as INEC relocates centre

There was confusion over a voting centre in Nziko in Oyi Local Government Area as two major polling units there had to be urgently relocated for security reasons.

Voters were said to have come out for accreditation but did not meet any voting officer there.
It led to panic calls to the Independent National Electoral Commission headquarters, but it was later learnt that the National Commissioner in charge of Oyi LGA, Amb. Ahmed Wali, intervened to resolve the problem.

The notorious centre, said to be located inside a thick forest, is known as a rigging centre in Anambra.
Political parties, such as the All Progressives Congress (APC) had to cry out to INEC for the centre to be relocated. It was learnt that the centre was eventually moved near a school.

Soldiers arrest 25 men for violating no-movement order

Soldiers on Saturday arrested 25 young men on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway for violating the no-movement order following the Anambra Governorship Election currently ongoing.

The soldiers stationed at the Abba Junction in Njikoka Local Government Area arrested and detained the men, who are of voting age, around 7.30 a.m.

Lt. A.O. Quadri, who led the team at the checkpoint, told NAN that the men were arrested for violating the movement restriction order.

“You can see that they are all of voting age and claimed they are coming from Enugu with different stories.

“Some of them claimed they are coming from church while the other boys said they are going to onitsha to vote.

“We kept them here because they have not really committed a crime but their two story versions are not only suspicious but do not justify their moviing from Enugu to Onitsha on election day,” Quadri said.

He said their directive was to detain anyone in violation of the order and release them after the election.

Attempts to speak with the detainees who sat on the ground under the watch of the soldiers was not allowed.

The major political parties have been accusing one another of plots to import mercenaries to vote with purchased voters’ cards.

The no-movement order imposed on the state started at midnight and will end at 10 p.m. on Saturday.

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