Nigeria’s Electoral Body Admits Issues With Anambra Election, Says 86 Polling Units Have No Voters

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Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will not deploy election materials in 86 polling units out of 5,720 polling units in Anambra State for the November 6 governorship election because they have no voters, according to SaharaReporters.

The chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this while addressing a special consultative meeting of chairmen and leaders of political parties.

The meeting was held at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

Yakubu said the affected polling units were part of the 1,112 new units created when INEC converted some voting points into polling units, noting that the units also had no voters from the recent Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.

“The Anambra Governorship election will be the first that voting is taking place in polling units since the recent successful conversion of voting points arising from the expansion of voter access to polling units in Nigeria. An additional 1,112 polling units were established in Anambra State in addition to the existing 4,608 locations. This brings the total number of polling units in the state to 5,720.

“Voters were encouraged to seize the opportunity of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise to transfer to the new polling units most convenient for them,” he said.

“Consequently, out of the 5,720 polling units in Anambra State, 86; 1.5 per cent have no voters. For that reason, the commission will not be deploying personnel and materials to these polling units. Furthermore, 894 representing 15.6 per cent of the polling units have between 1 and 49 voters. The election will hold in these polling units,” he also noted.

The INEC Chairman explained that perhaps owing to the security situation in Anambra State, voters did not take advantage of the new polling units by transferring their cards there to ease access to polling units

He also disclosed that about 894 polling units were found to have between 1 and 49 voters, adding that election materials would be deployed in those units and voting as well as results collated.

He urged political parties to ensure that their agents monitor the release of sensitive materials from the Central Bank in Awka, Anambra State capital, as he observed that one political party had failed to nominate polling agents for the election even though it has a Governorship candidate.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported that thousands of ad hoc workers for the governorship election had resigned due to fear of attacks by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

INEC had in May increased the polling units in Anambra State from 4,608 to 5,720 with about 10,000 ad hoc workers required for the governorship poll.

However, despite its declaration of preparedness, many of those who signed up for the role have resigned.

A source had said: “INEC is now short of thousands of ad-hoc staff members due to IPOB instructions. Those who initially signed up have now resigned en-masse.”

INEC has denied this, saying it is not true.

Meanwhile, there had been a poor response by ad hoc workers who will conduct the poll because of the security situation in the southeast region, particularly with the activities of IPOB.

The group had issued a 12-day ultimatum to the Nigerian Government for the “unconditional release” of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, failure of which the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State may not hold.

IPOB in a statement signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Sunday, gave the Nigerian Government up till November 4 to release Kanu unconditionally, or it would commence a one-week lockdown in the region effective November 5.

The group explained that the one-week sit-at-home order, which would end on November 10, was to press for the release of their leader whom the Nigerian Government was prepared to keep in incarceration ad infinitum for nothing.

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