By Chimezie Anaso
The Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG), an election observer group which monitored the Anambra Central Senatorial District re-run election on Saturday, said the process was affected by voter apathy.
The group made the observation in its interim report at a news conference in Awka.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only 67,872 of 745,828 registered voters or less than 10 per cent were accredited to vote in the exercise covering seven local government areas of the zone.
Dr Chima Amadi, the Executive Director of ISDMG, attributed the apathy to the legal tussle ahead of the election and non-participation of some political parties.
Amadi commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for early deployment of materials and officers to the polling booths.
However, he said: “INEC complied with the rule of the process, officials and materials arrived early at the polling stations.”
Amadi said that the deployment of security personnel for the election was grossly inadequate as they seem not to have anticipated any untoward development.
He commended the electorate for their peaceful conducts and non-negative attitude to electoral violence.
The executive director said that the conduct of the electorate was responsible for the serenity enjoyed during the election.
The group also criticised the positioning of voting cubicle and ballot boxes which were placed in conspicuous areas that compromised secrecy.
“Voting points and ballot boxes were placed in open places such that voting process did not conform with the principle of open-secret-balloting process.
“This could be the reason for vote buying.
“We also observed that only All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) agents were at the various polling units,” he said.
Also, Mrs Faith Nwadishi, a Director in ISDMG, said cases of apathy were so pronounced that in some areas like Achalla, some polling units which had over 600 voters recorded between 13 votes and 28 votes.
Nwadishi said the negative attitude of some Nigerians to political participation was dangerous for the country’s democracy.
According to her, it is wrong to think that one election is more important than the other.
She opined that elections for representatives should interest people more than executive election.
Mr Okechukwu Nwangwuma called for investigation over the number of police claimed to had been deployed for the assignment.
Nwangwuma said there were some areas where one Police personnel was made to protect three polling units.
INEC has declared Chief Victor Umeh of APGA as winner of the election having polled 64,878 votes to beat 13 other contestants.
The result also showed that Dr Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC) came second with 975 votes, while PPA came third with 116 votes.
The rerun election took place in Njikoka, Awka North, Idemili South, Dunukofia, Awka South, Anaocha and Idemili North Local Government Areas of the state.
The INEC Returning Officer and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone, announced the results.