Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
The late arrival of election materials and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have resulted in slow start of Saturday’s presidential election in Anambra State.
Saturday, 25 February 2023 is the much awaited day for Nigerians to decide their next president and National Assembly representatives, but despite all the INEC preparations, assurances and promises, the scheduled poll did not start when it was supposed and expected to, keeping voters stranded, worried and frustrated at various voting centers.
As at 8:30am when Ikengaonline correspondent in Anambra State visited some of the supposed voting centres in Awka, the state capital, voters were seen standing, some sitting, patiently waiting for the arrival of the INEC officials.
When the reporter visited a polling centre at the Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat, Awka, at exactly 8: 41am, no INEC official nor material was seen on ground. Same thing was observed at other locations such as Arroma Junction, Nodu Hall, Enugu-Agidi, when visited between 8:42 am and 9: 50am, respectively.
At 006 polling unit at Community Primary School, Iyiowa Odekpe Ogbaru, people were seen hanging around impatiently, waiting for the arrival of INEC officals to cast their votes.
Speaking to the correspondent, a voter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “I came out here as early as 8 o’clock to cast my vote, but the time now is 11:00 am, no official is here.”
Another citizen named Chijioke Okafor at 07 polling unit Abba told the correspondent that “INEC officials just arrived at 07 and 08 polling units Abba at 10: 59am.” He said voting has not yet started as the INEC officials are still making the necessary arrangements.
Aside the voting centres, expectedly, the streets of Awka were deserted. No checkpoint was seen at the major junctions such as the Immigration junction, B-Division axis, Nodu Awka, a surprise, given the threat posed by some non-state actors who are threatening the conduct of the election in the state.