From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Abia State local government election held yesterday witnessed voter apathy as many residents defied the state government’s no-movement order and went about their businesses, shunning the polling units.
This is even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has called for the cancellation of the election, citing the open rigging of the election, perpetrated by the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), in favour of the ruling party in the state.
Sunday Sun reporter who went round the state capital, Umuahia, to monitor the local government poll, found out that voting materials arrived at the polling units late.
While materials arrived some polling units in central Umuahia at noon, at Old Umuahia, the materials arrived at 1pm, even as many people shunned the polling units as intra-and inter-city commercial loading bays were bubbling with commercial activities.
At 1.45pm in Ikwuano when our reporter visited some polling centres in the area, election materials were yet to arrive at some of the polling units. In places where ABSIEC staff arrived early, there was low turnout of voters.
In Bende, Abia North, as of 4pm when this report was being put together, election materials had not arrived at any polling unit of the entire local government.
At Umuhu Ezechi in Bende Local Government Area, no single election material, staff of ABSIEC or ad hoc staff was on the ground for the election as at 4.30pm.
It was gathered that members of opposition parties led by APC beseeched the ABSIEC office in Bende LGA, demanding the release of all the election materials including result sheets, which were said to be missing from the materials given to ad hoc workers.
Speaking on the development, the member representing Bende North state constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Chijioke Chukwu, called on the ABSIEC chairman to redeem his image by cancelling the LGA poll in Bende.
Hon. Chukwu said it was unfortunate that ABSIEC under Prof. Mkpa Agu Mkpa could not conduct credible, free and fair election, adding that right from the day he was announced ABSIEC chairman, everyone knew that he would not deliver free, fair and credible election in Abia.