How Low Turnout of Voters Marred Assembly Poll in Anambra

By Ikeugonna Eleke and Ogochukwu Nwaokafor

The House of Assembly Elections in Anambra State was dogged by low turnout of voters in all the polling units visited in many parts of the state.

In what has been termed a huge contrast to the Presidential Election three weeks ago, polling centres visited in many parts of the state saw officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, sitting idly.

At Aroma Junction 1, polling unit 008, Awka South Local Government Area, as at 12 noon, which was the peak of the election, only a few voters could be seen, just as those few left after voting.

A voter, Mrs Chika Ndu  said that people were not coming out because they felt their votes might not count because of what happened last three weeks.

‘It will take a level of enlightenment for people to accept to come out, because they believe their votes will not count. I cannot believe that this same place where I found it difficult to cast my vote last three weeks, I can just come in and in less than three minutes, I had cast my vote,’ she said.

Also, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, who voted at Amatutu Ward Two, Anaocha Local Government Area, and the Senator-Elect of the party for Anambra Central District, Senator Victor Umeh, who also voted at Aguluzigbo Civic Centre, also complained of the low turnout.

Obi who cast his vote at about 11:20am lamented the low turnout of voters in the state and said it could be because the people had lost interest and confidence in the system.

He also lamented that Nigeria had returned to the era of transactional politics, alleging that the election witnessed high level of vote buying.

‘You all know me, I’m not into transactional politics. I will not pay anybody to come and work. The people who are giving people money so that they can be elected, I think are not going there to work. They know what they are going for,’ Obi said.

For his part, Umeh said, ‘I think the poor turnout is because people are disenchanted with the system. They feel their votes do not count, and that is after what happened last three weeks.’

Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, who voted at Polling Unit 002, Ovuiyi Umueze, Isuofia, Aguata Council Area at 11:30 am commended what he called the seamlessness of the process, and also commended INEC officials for coming to polling units on time.

‘From the information available to me, I have sampled views across the state and it seems to be going on fairly well in terms of deployment of logistics and early commencement of the election.

‘I think there is a great improvement compared to the previous election in terms of the arrival and deployment of materials. It seems to be going on well, relatively peaceful,’ Governor Soludo declared.