The highly anticipated gubernatorial election in Anambra State was held on Saturday, as scheduled. However, the electoral process has not ended and a governor-elect has not been announced.
For those who might be wondering what went down over the weekend and why a winner has not emerged yet, here are eight key things we are certain of so far and what next to expect as regards the exercise in Anambra:
1. The election was generally peaceful
According to election observers, while the polls were conducted peacefully, there were pockets of trouble. On a general scale, however, the process went smoothly
2. Voter Turnout Was Good
The election on Saturday saw a good turnout of voters as citizens came out to exercise their franchise, contrary to the initial fears that trailed the electioneering process.
Though election monitors say there were no large crowds of voters, they agreed that it was a relief to see citizens come out eventually to exercise their rights.
Also, the media did a fantastic job of following the process without fear, even though prior to the polls, the atmosphere was tense
3. Adequate security presence
With the massive deployment of men and officers – police officers, army personnel, and other security agents – the presence of security officials were noticeable at most of the polling units. Monitoring teams reported that the operatives were relatively civil in their conduct within and outside polling units.
However, some of the security personnel stated that they had not received their allowances for election duty which was contrary to the pronouncement by police authorities, suggesting that security agents on election duty had been remunerated.
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4. There was widespread vote buying
While the election was adjudged peaceful, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) agreed that there was widespread vote buying in various polling units across the state.
The Situation Room in its report on Sunday gave some specific instances of vote buying to include the sale of votes for amounts ranging from N1,000 and N6,000 at various locations.
The organization, however, noted that this was being carried out very discreetly in some polling units while in others, the vote buying was done in full glare without interference from the security personnel.
5. Resistance, disruptions, and malfunctions
The entire electoral exercise had its flaws. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said there was resistance and disruptions to the process.
The commission also admitted that some of its accreditation devices had malfunctioned while others were not successfully deployed to certain areas within the state.
Earlier, the Situation Room had reported that INEC ad-hoc staff and election materials arrived late in 67% of the polling units (PU). The group further disclosed that polls commenced between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm in 53.5% of the voting locations they observed. This, they say, was due to the late arrival of officials and materials.
Also, although the Bimodal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) had been used in the Isoko South constituency 1 bye-elections, the Anambra guber election was the first major exercise where INEC deployed the BVAS.
Reports from observers indicated widespread malfunction of this technology as it failed to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and detect faces. According to the Situation Room, this was the case in 59% of the polling units observed with a minimum of five minutes to accredit one voter in 65.8% of the polling units they monitored.
Furthermore, some of the ad-hoc staff experienced difficulties in operating the machines. In some locations, they were slow and took as long as 10 minutes or more to accredit a single voter. This, the monitoring agency says, severely stalled the accreditation and voting process.
6. INEC Ad-hoc staff absconded with result sheets
An INEC ad-hoc staff reportedly absconded with 41 result sheets in Oba 2, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The Collation Officer for the council, Gabriel Odoh, while presenting the LG’s result on Sunday, stated that the ad-hoc staff carted away 41 result sheets out of the 42, leading to no elections in the area.
Although Mr Odoh did not give the name of the ad-hoc staff, he disclosed that the staff member was the Supervising Polling officer. He also explained that violence and ballot box snatching were recorded in Oba 1.
7. Soludo wins 18 of 20 LGAs declared
There are 21 local governments in Anambra State and as of Sunday, 7th November, INEC had collated and declared results for 20 of the councils whose outcome had been accurately determined.
Following the collation of results, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, won 18 of the 20 LGAs.
Similarly, candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Valentine Ozigbo, and Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, won a local government each
But the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Andy Uba, was unable to win any local government in the election.
The collation was, however, suspended due to an outstanding result for Ihiala Local Government Area, where for various reasons, INEC could not deploy materials.
With this pending, a winner cannot be declared until a supplementary election is conducted for Ihiala LGA.
8. Ihiala supplementary election holds on Tuesday
Having established that a supplementary poll would be required for Ihiala, INEC has slated Tuesday, November 9 for the exercise.
The Returning Officer for Saturday’s polls, Professor Florence Obi, while disclosing this, noted that the commission failed to hold an election in Ihiala due to security challenges.
She explained that this made it impossible for the electoral body to deploy materials and personnel in the LGA.
Clause 47 of the Revised Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections provides that supplementary elections shall be conducted where the commission, due to logistic challenges, is unable to deploy on election day.
Upon this premise, Professor Obi emphasized that it was imperative to bring Ihiala at par with the other 20 local government areas in the election before INEC can make a valid declaration of the winner or take any further action based on the extant laws.
Authorities have urged the Anambra people to remain calm and law-abiding as the election runs its full course.