Anambra Poll: APGA Accuses Opposition of Seizure of INEC Materials


· INEC: We’ll Deliver Enjoyable, Not Just Credible Poll

David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) Chief Victor Oye, has disclosed the interception of sensitive electoral materials meant for the Anambra governorship election on November 18.

Chief Oye told journalists in a press conference today in Awka that the materials, which were all sensitive were discovered in two trucks, all containing materials for the election, and he said that opposition parties were suspected to have been responsible for their importation into the state.

Regardless, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday assured that the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State would not only be free, fair and credible, but an enjoyable experience.

The APGA national chairman said the party will not tolerate any form of sharp practices in the election, and will stoutly resist any attempt by anyone to rig the election.

“This afternoon, in a hotel in Okpuno area of Awka, security agents intercepted two lorry load of sensitive materials meant for the Anambra governorship election, and it is believed that opposition parties in the state were responsible for the act.

“We called these conference to draw the attention of Nigerians and the world to these sad development because the Anambra governorship election must be free and fair. We will not accept any act of rigging.”

The national chairman said his party believes in the capability of INEC and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to conduct a free, fair and credible election in the state, but are already disappointed by the sad development.

“We are saddened by these developments, and we call on the federal government to sit up and do the right thing, as our governor has been known for hard work, and the people have attested to his performance, and we will not accept sharp practices in the election,” Oye said. Meanwhile, the Anambra State police command has denied knowledge of the interception of any electoral materials in Awka.

The Anambra State police commissioner, Umar Garba, who spoke to THISDAY on phone said no such development has been brought to his notice, while dismissing it as untrue.

But a source told THISDAY that two lorries containing sensitive materials were yesterday afternoon intercepted in a hotel in Okpuno area of Awka.

The source said it was not clear which political party was responsible for the materials, but insisted that fingers pointed to opposition politicians in Anambra State who were bent on stopping the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano from having a second term.

In the midst of the confusion, (INEC) has assured that the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State would be free and fair.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Nkwachukwu Orji, gave the assurance during the Election Management System (EMS) Implementer workshop for the commission in Awka, the state capital.

He said the commission had put in place all necessary machinery to ensure the electorate cast their votes in an environment devoid of any form of hostility.

Orji said previous elections in the state had been characterised by voter apathy as a result of various ugly experiences encountered by the voters before, during and after the elections.

“Our commitment is to go beyond just offering free fair credible election. That is guaranteed. What is now needed to be added is to make elections enjoyable.

“People need to move around freely and comfortably and to cast their votes without any molestation or harassment, and that their votes must count.

“If you tell them that election would commence by 8am and end by 5pm, you must be sure to keep to the time. You must also guarantee early arrival of both officials and necessary materials.

“These are some of the major challenges that make voters reluctant to exercise their franchise which we are committed to addressing to make this election enjoyable,” he assured.

According to Orji, 400,000 ad-hoc staff would be redeployed from other states to the state for the conduct of the exercise, adding that majority of them, as well as security agencies had undergone training and are ready for deployment.

He described the Election Management System as a critical tool which the commission required to effectively manage field assets, resources, constituencies and chains of electoral activities in organising elections.

He further disclosed that the over 6,200 card readers needed for the election had been tested and were working effectively while the configuration of the cards would take four days to complete.

The National Commissioner of INEC South-east, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, represented by the Technical Adviser to INEC Chairman, Professor Bolade Eyinla, urged the participants to take the training seriously, describing their role in the exercise as critical in determining its outcome.

On his part, the Project Manager of the European Center for Election Support, Mr. David Le Notre, pledged continuous support of the organisation to elections in Nigeria to guarantee good governance in the country.