By Stanley Nwanosike/Peter Okolie
Enugu – The Anambra Central Traditional Rulers’ Council has hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a hitch-free and transparent re-run election in the area.
The Chairman of the council, Igwe Chukwuemeka Ilouno, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone in Enugu on Saturday.
Ilouno, the traditional ruler of Ifitedunu Community in Dunukofia Local Government Area, said that INEC was fully prepared this time.
He said that the card reader machines functioned optimally, while materials and INEC staff arrived on time to kick-start the election.
“It is a great day. Everything had been moving very smoothly, very peaceful, well co-ordinated and transparent.
“While in the polling centres in my community in Ifitedunu, there was no complain from any polling booth or electorate.
“Today, no card reader was dysfunctional as we used to have in other elections, but in the reverse, the card readers functioned optimally and superbly to the people’s admiration.
“Every other needed materials and INEC staff were already in their place at about 8:30a.m. in most polling centres as I observed in my community,’’ he said.
The monarch, however, said that there was low voters’ turnout in most polling booths.
Ilouno attributed the low voters’ turnout to the long lingered court case on the re-run election, as well as the non-campaign by some parties to sensitise the people about the re-run election.
However, in Ogidi, Anambra, voters urged INEC to improve on its card reader machines and awareness in future elections.
Mr Ben Obi, Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Inter-party matters, said the card reader machines failed at polling units 015, 016 and 017, in Agulu ward four in spite efforts by the commission’s technician to fix them.
He said INEC officials attempted the card reader on him more than five times and it failed, noting that the commission had to resort to manual accreditation before voting.
Obi, who urged the commission to improve on its card reader machines, said that its failure discouraged many from voting at the ward as they left out of anger.
Also, the Transition Committee Chairman of Idemili North Local Government Area, Mr Ralph Nnabuife, noted that the exercise was characterised by voters’ apathy.
Nnabuife, who voted at Nkpor Town Hall Polling Unit 010, said electorate were confused by the series of litigation by parties on the conduct of the election resulting in the low turnout.
“If you look around, many regular markets and transport activities are still going on in the area, evidence that the publicity was inadequate.
“We at the local government level sensitised the people using town criers, but we are not sure the Federal Government enforced the restriction of movement serious,” he said.
On his part, INEC Supervising Commissioner for Idemili North Local Government and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Plateau, Mr Hussaini Halilu Pai, described the exercise as “peaceful”.
He noted that the challenges in payment of transporters and some ad hoc staff which resulted in delay in the commencement of the exercise in some polling units had been resolved.
“The transporters are saying that they need to be paid before going out.
“We said there’s no way we will pay them 100 per cent of their entitlements before the exercise.
“We’ve reached a consensus and they have agreed to go out and do their job. Everything is under control now as you can see,” Halilu said.(NAN)