Politicians express disappointment in Jega’s card readers in Anambra – ‘Rigging was so high you can vote even with an ATM’ – Pockets of violence registered

Politicians in Anambra State have expressed disappointment over the use of card readers in last Saturday’s election, saying it its introduction and subsequent failure paved way for rigging, confusion and violence in the presidential and national assembly elections.
It almost became obvious that the election may be short of credible when despite late arrival of election officials, attempts by the polling officers to booth the card reader for accreditation failed.
In Aguluzoigbo civic centre, the Poll official, who identified himself as Ahmed said the card reader could not be started as despite all efforts, it refused to booth. When told to resort to manual accreditation, Ahmed said that the instruction is for them to do so in cases where the card reader has already identified the PVC as authentic.
“But with the failure of the card reader, we cannot even identify the PVC, let alone authenticating that it actually belonged to them. So we are waiting for orders from above before we can continue.”
ELEKENEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM gathered that the same was the case in most parts of Anambra State, while in some places the card reader came on though but failed to identify even authentic PVCs, leading to confusion.
It was learnt that it took persistent phone calls from the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano to the INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega for the card readers to be jettisoned and manual accreditation taken to, but that did not happen until about 1pm when actual voting should have started.
According to reports gathered in several places in Anambra, despite the resolve to use manual accreditation, the exercise was still short of fair and credible as in some places, politicians and electorates complained of incomplete materials such as ballot papers and result sheets.
In Ochuche Primary School in Ogbaru where the duo of the APGA candidate and the PDP candidate for senate, Chief Dubem Obaze and Princess Stella Oduah were to vote, the INEC officials were sent back for bringing only the House of Representatives ballot papers without the Senate and Presidential.
Plea for the House of Representatives election to commence with the hope that the ballot papers for the senate and presidential will arrive were refused by stakeholders in the area.
When actual voting started in most areas, election officials were overwhelmed by the crowd of people that turned out for the election, with the card reader out, many people were said to have even brought it cards belonging to other people to vote.
A Labour party official who refused to disclose his name said, “In Odoagba ward, in Awka South where I voted, the rigging was so high that people even collected cards belonging to other people and used them to vote.
“The poll officers were overwhelmed, and they were so tired that they just had to let everything go. Agents of various political parties were seen at the polling centre haggling with voters over how much should be paid them, the whole thing was a sham.”
Several politicians who spoke to our correspondent insisted that the introduction of the card readers heightened rigging the in election.
Chief Victor Umeh said, “Jega’s card reader has failed. Those who are expert riggers will simply take advantage of it. I have been getting reports from the field about wide spread rigging in mainly Agulu and Nri where Peter Obi and Uche Ekwunife came from.
“There are also several reports of violence in those places, and we had taken time to report to the police that thise areas will be very highly violence prone because of the desperation of Uche Ekwunife and Peter Obi.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of Anaocha local government area, Ikeobi Ejiofor who is a staunch APGA chief and Ogochukwu Egolum another APGA chieftain were kidnapped by unknown persons in Nri and Obeledu, Anaocha local government area.
Ejiofor was said to have been taken at Agu Ndu square in his community while mobilizing his supporters for the election, while Egolum was taken in his village square, Nri, and their whereabout were still not known as at the time of filling this report.
National Chairman of APGA, Chief Umeh said the police and other security agents have been alerted and a search for them have commenced.
As at the time of filling this report, election results were still trickling into the Awka South local government headquarters which served as the collation centre for the Anambra Central Senatorial election, while rescheduled voting has also commenced.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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