The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room), yesterday released its in- terim report on the Anambra Governorship election, noting with dismay the practice of widespread vote-buying recorded across various polling units during the election on Saturday.
Addressing the press in Awka, Convener, Ene Obi flanked by her two co-conveners, Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu noted that against the background of potential vio- lence rhetoric leading up to the election, the exercise was generally peaceful even though there were pockets of disturbances.
The situation Room said it received reports of widespread vote buying by political party agents across the state with some cases of sale of votes for amounts ranging from N1,000 and N6,000 at various locations.
“However, this was being carried out very discreetly in some PUs while in others, the vote buying was done in full glare without prevention from the security personnel. Nevertheless, voters in a particular polling unit in the state rejected an inducement of N5,000 per vote. Situation Room commends the courage of these voters. For this, we say a big well done to Ndi Anambra.
The Situation Room commended the Media for following the process courageously
despite the tensed political environment and called on the resilient people of Anambra to remain calm and law abiding as the election runs its course.
The Situation Room also said reports from field observers indicated widespread malfunction of the Bi-Modal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) as it failed to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and detect faces.
“This was the case in 59% of the PUs observed, with a minimum of five minutes to accredit one voter in 65.8% of the PUs observed. Furthermore, some of the ad-hoc staff experienced some difficulty in operating the machines. In some locations, the ma- chines were working rather slowly and took as long as 10 minutes or more to accredit a single voter.
“This severely stalled the accreditation and voting process. These challenges were ob- served in the following locations: PU 007 in Awka-Etiti II ward in Idemili South LGA, PU 013 in Nawfia II ward of Njikoka LGA, PU 017 in Uruagu I ward of Nnewi North LGA, amongst others.
On Logistics and Commencement of Poll, the Situation Room noted that INEC ad hoc staff and election materials arrived late in 67% of the polling units (PU) visited by its field observers.
“Polls commenced between 10:00am and 12:30pm in 53.5% of the voting locations observed. This was as a result of the late arrival of officials and materials. These delays in the commencement of polls were observed in locations such as PU 001 and 008 in Amansea ward of Awka North LGA, PU 017 and 018 in Uga I ward ofAguata LGA and several others. In some other places, particularly voting locations in parts of Ihiala, Idemili North and Idemili South LGAs, no INEC staff or mate- rial was deployed.”