Enugu LG elections witness low voters apathy, late arrival of materials

By Reporters

The local government elections conducted in Enugu State on Wednesday witnessed low turnout and late arrival of materials in many parts of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents who monitored the situation reports that the election was however, peaceful.At the Trans Ekulu primary and Secondary school in Enugu East with seven polling stations, the turnout was not up to 30 people as at 10.am.

According to one of the presiding officers at the primary school, Miss Onyinye Ohazume, said that as at 9.45am she had accredited only 20 voters out of 613 persons that registered in the polling units.“The turnout was not encouraging at all unlike other elections.“In previous elections, people will be waiting for the ENSIEC officials while today is the other way round. ENSIEC officials are here since 8am waiting for the electorates” Ohazume said.At New Haven, Enugu with eight polling stations, one of the presiding officers, Miss Nkechi Aniebonam said that people did not come out unlike in other local government elections.“We were here since 8.15am waiting for the voters to come and do their accreditation.“Although they are coming gradually, we have only accredited 14 persons out of 782 persons that registered in the polling station” Aniebonam said.

Accreditation began at Uwani in Enugu South Local Government of Enugu State amid late arrival of election materials in some polling units.NAN correspondent who monitored some polling units in the LGA, reports that the exercise is going on smoothly except at the Zik Avenue Primary School where election materials and officials are yet to arrive as at 10:30am.At polling units 003, 002, 001 and 020 all in Uwani River, the materials arrived at 9am while accreditation and voting had since begun.Also, polling units 004, 005, 006 and 007 at Bigard Memorial Seminary (BMS), the accreditation and voting had commenced.NAN also reports that there were presence of security men at each polling unit to maintain peace and order.Meanwhile, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Party Agent, Mr Emeka Uzor, had alleged that materials provided for the election at BMS were not enough.Uzor said, “The stamp is not enough as different polling booths are using one stamp and ballot papers are yet to be stamped”.“

A voter was given two ballot papers to vote for councillor election and this is not acceptable by my party,” he alleged.Out of the 18 Polling Units visited in Wards seven and eight in Igbariam Primary School and Union Boys Secondary School respectively, security agents were spotted in only two units.The turnout of voters was low as most polling units were without voters.Voters interviewed in ward seven appealed to the Enugu State  Independent Electoral Commission to be diligent in their duties, so as to gain the confidence of voters.There was no much business activities going on around the voting areas as most shops were yet to open for business.At Okpara Square Polling Units three, four, five, six, seven and eight in Enugu North LGA, materials arrived at 9:10am while accreditation and voting started by 10am. There were no result sheets in any of the polling units. The Presiding Officer in Polling Unit seven, Miss Jessica Ibeneme, said that they were not given result sheets. There are presence of security agencies.

The APGA Agent, Mr Kingsley Ezi, said he was boycotting the exercise due to unavailability of card readers and result sheets.At ward 2 in Enugu North LGA, located at Afia-Nine, Obiagu Road, voting commenced by 10:30a.m as ENSIEC officials arrived late at 9:50 a.m.Voting was however, ongoing without hitch and turnout impressive.However, there is partial compliance to the restriction of movement, as some commercial buses are plying most routes within the metropolis without law enforcement check.

The Chairmanship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu North, Emeka Onuora expressed satisfaction with the exercise adding that turnout was impressive.A voter, Kizito Awalu, at the GRA ward in Enugu North, encouraged people to come out and vote for their candidates.Meanwhile, business activities were stalled as shops and business centres within the metropolis were under lock and key as government declared a work free day to enable people to vote.However, the popular Afia-9 Market in Obiagu axis of the metropolis was open and its business activities at its full capacity.NAN reports that 10 political parties are contesting for the 17 Chairmanship Local Government and 260 wards of the state. (NAN)