Saturday, November 18, 2017 6:46 pm
The Anambra governorship election has witnessed impressive turnout of voters at most of the polling units, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN Correspondents who monitored the exercise on Saturday in the three senatorial zones of the state, report that voters were seen in most of the polling units visited as early as 7.30 a.m. waiting to be attended to by the electoral officials.
NAN further reports that security officials were present in all the polling units visited.
At Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area, the country home of Gov. Willie Obiano, the governor said he was happy with the massive turnout of voters.
Obiano urged the people yet to come out to do so, noting that effective participation by the people was the only way they could support the advancement of democracy.
The APC governorship candidate, Dr Tony Nwoye, also told newsmen that the turnout was high and impressive.
In Oyi, Orumba North and South, Awka South local government areas as well as Onitsha, NAN correspondents report that the turnout was high in the polling units visited.
However, the turnout in parts of Orumba north and south was poor because of late arrival of materials and officials of INEC.
At Aroma Junction, Agu Oka Polling Unit 004 in Awka South Local Government Area, Mr David Anyamele, a Local Election Observer, described the exercise as peaceful and smooth.
Anyamele, a member of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, told NAN that he was impressed by the turnout of voters in most of the polling units he visited.
But at Fagge Area of Onitsha, the turnout was not very impressive.
Igwe Nneamaka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, told NAN that the unimpressive turnout in Onitsha was because majority of people working and doing business in Onitsha were not residents of the area.
“Most of them live in Nkpor, Obosi, and Idemili areas, but only come to Onitsha to work and do business.
“The Obi in Council had earlier met and directed the town criers to go round the various communities and announce to the people to participate in the election,’’ Achebe said.
He described the conduct of the Nov.18 governorship election as smooth, peaceful and fair.
Meanwhile, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association Election Working Group, told NAN in Onitsha that the poll began on a good note.
The Coordinator of the group, Mr Adewale Ademola, said that the materials arrived and all the materials, including ballot boxes, card readers and results sheets were intact.
Ademola said the card readers were all in good working condition and that the election was smooth.
NAN correspondents who visited the 4,608 polling units in the 21 council areas report that heavily armed security operatives were seen in all the units and council areas visited.
NAN reports that the security operatives refused people not participating in the election access on Onitsha-Enugu expressway as well as Oye-Agu/Abagana junction linking communities on the Onitsha road.
At popular Borrowmew Roundabout in Onitsha, there was heavy presence of army, police and NSCDC operatives who refused every unaccredited vehicle passage.
NAN reports that combine team of security personnel comprising army, Police, NSCDC, Immigration and others blocked the River Niger Head Bridge, Onitsha, in line with no entry directive announced before the election.
One of the military personnel told NAN under anonymity that only accredited vehicles were allowed to pass through the road block.
In Ifte-Awka, Okpuno, Amawbia, Nibo and Umudioka, all in Awka South Local Government, security personnel were seen at all the major junctions and polling units.
At Aroma Junction in Awka, Mr Joshua Ejimbi, the INEC presiding officer, told NAN that he was happy with the level of security at the his centre.
Mr David Anyamele, a local observer from the Centre for Citizens with Disability, also corroborated the position of Ejimbi on security and applauded various security organisations for massive deployment of their personnel for the election.
Mr Nduka Ilechukwu, a voter, said the presence of security personnel at his St Martin Ihiala polling unit encouraged many people to take part in the exercise.
Ilechukwu said there was apprehension before the election that the election might be disrupted but the number of police and other security men presence in all the polling units had restored the confidence of the masses.
In Ekwulobia, Nene, Nri, Ozubulu, Aguleria, Umuleri, and Nnewi areas, heavily armed security personnel were seen in all the polling units visited while major junctions were also seen manning the entry and exist points.
In Aguata, Orumba North and South areas, security personnel were seen searching bags of voters especially females who came to polling units with hand bags.
In Oyi and Njikoka council areas, the security was water-tight and Rep. Gozie Nwamkpa described the security as perfect.
NAN reports that the police deployed 26,ooo while Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Commission deployed 14,000 and 2,000 operatives, respectively.
Some 37 parties are fielding candidates in Anambra to try to wrest power from governor Willie Obiano, of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, who is seeking a second term.