Some election observers who monitored the governorship election in Anambra State on Saturday, November 18, 2017 have expressed mixed feelings over the exercise.
Samuel Itodo, the executive director of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), said that materials and personnel arrived various polling units late.
He said that 28 per cent of polling units recorded arrival of materials and personnel as at 7.30am, except in Awka North and Awka South Local Government Areas where materials and personnel arrive before 7.30am.
“Apparently, as at 10am, 75 percent of the polling units were opened, while voting started about 30 minutes later. That is disturbing,” an e-mailed report to The Trent said on Saturday, November 18, 2017.
“As at Noon, 92 percent of polling units were opened.
“We asked INEC to extend the deadline from 2pm to 4 pm to enable people vote,” Itodo said.
Itodo also said that there were issues with card readers being unable to authenticate fingerprints, saying the development raised concerns about the integrity of the exercise.
He said it was however too premature to make statements on voter turnout.
”We are still studying our data so as to make official statement on that later,” he stated.
On his part, Ezenwa Nwagwu, chairman of Partners for Electoral Reform, said voting started late, especially in Ogbaru Local Government Area.
Nwagwu said security agents were civil and professional in their conduct, adding also that voters equally behaved themselves.
However, he said there were high cases of “vote buying” recorded in some parts of the state.
Harry Putker, an observer with the Embassy of The Netherlands, said his group would make its observations public at a later date, which would include some minor challenges which INEC needed to work on.
Another observer group, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Election Working Group, told NAN in Onitsha that the exercise began on a good note as the process started early with arrival of materials.
“All the materials, including ballot boxes, card readers, result sheets are intact and working in good condition,” the Coordinator of the group, Mr Adewale Ademola said.
He also commended the presence of security personnel, saying: “Everything went orderly and was transparent.”
Additional reports by NAN.