By Cornelius Igboamaeze
The November 6 Anambra State gubernatorial election, which has yet to be concluded, has raised a very important query for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC): Why did the electronic voting machines malfunction in the constituencies where the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, and Governor Willie Obiano as well the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, have their greatest strengths but worked efficiently in Uga where the presumed All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Andy Uba, has some strength?
In Governor Obiano’s primary constituency in Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area, the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System machines worked in only one of eight places. In Soludo’s hometown of Isuofia in Aguata LLGA, the former Economics professor and exemplary Central Bank of Nigeria governor, could not vote for hours because the machines were not working. He managed to vote manually after several hours.
In Amesi, also in Aguata LGA, Val Ozigbo of the PDP, couldn’t vote for several hours on account of the nonperformance of the machines. Ozigbo, like Soludo, managed to vote after several hours, and he did it manually.
But in the case of Andy Uba of the APC, everything worked very well. By 2 pm, voting had practically ended.
It would seem that there was more to it than meets the eye. Some activists are already pointing fingers in the direction of the INEC Information Technology team. The analysts specifically point in the direction of the INEC ICT Director, Nwafor. A well-known nongovernmental Organization (NGO) based in Onitsha, Intersociety, has called for the resignation of Mr Chidi Nwafor, and his removal if he fails to heed the call.
Whereas the INEC leadership at the national level and also at the state level seems to be made up of credible men and women, there seem to be compromised and rogue elements among the staff. Some of the field officers were caught in the residence of a former member of the House of Representatives, Ifeanyi Ibezim, in his residence in Abatete in Idemili North LGA which has the highest number of registered voters in the state. When the police arrived, Ibezim and the INEC staff locked themselves in. Security agents had to surround the place.
All this shows that all is not well with the INEC field staff. The police must arrest and diligently prosecute those INEC people with itchy fingers. They did their best to mar the Anambra election.
Dr Igboamaeze is Coordinator is of the Coalition for a Better Greater Anambra State.