Anambra: INEC assures observer groups of support, affirms safety of voting materials

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Watching The Vote (WTV) team of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) and other observer groups of its support in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.

INEC Head of Voter Education in the state, Barrister Owette Emmanuel, gave the assurance yesterday in Awka, during a training organised by YIAGA for its WTV team and instructors.

Emmanuel said all political parties contesting the election had been publicly presented with document containing all registered voters in the state, describing this as the height of transparency by the commission.He said voters would be spread across 4,608 polling units and 731 voting points. He added that voting points were created to avoid overcrowding and delay where the total number of registered voters in a unit reached above 750.

“INEC’s record indicated a total of 2,158,171 registered voters in Anambra according to an updated voter register of the state,” he disclosed. He explained that non-sensitive materials had been deployed to all the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs), insisting that INEC had simplified the election process by creating Registration Area Centres in wards that were not far from polling units. This would eliminate late arrival of election personnel and materials to polling units, he said.

“INEC is putting finishing touch on its preparation. We have several ongoing voter education programmes across communities, using various medium of communication like radio jingles. Enough sensitisation has been done on how to vote correctly. If people vote rightly, rejected votes will not be much,” he noted.

In a remark, the programme director of YIAGA’s WTV, Cynthia Mbamalu, said 500 polling unit observers had been recruited to monitor the election and that 27 mobile observers had been deployed across all the LGAs to supervise stationary polling units observers and report incidents.

She disclosed that the WTV Anambra Data Centre would be opened on November 13, 2017 at the Finotel Classique Hotel, Agwu-Awka, where journalists, election stakeholders and the general public could access information from observers on the field.In a related development, INEC has disclosed that materials for the Anambra election remained safe.

The commission said it was “not aware of any missing sensitive election material and has not received any official report in that regard.” In a statement in reaction to an allegation that election materials had been discovered in a hotel, the electoral body said: “The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to publications in the media about statements allegedly made by the chairman of one of the political parties that two lorry loads of sensitive materials meant for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State have been intercepted by the police in an undisclosed hotel in Awka.

“It has equally come to the notice of the commission that the police recovered large quantities of what looked like the register of voters meant for the election from some individuals in a hotel in Awka, Anambra State on November 6, 2017.

“The commission wishes to point out in clear terms that it is not possible for sensitive materials meant for the Anambra State governorship election to be delivered to a hotel room because there are laid down processes of delivery of sensitive election materials, which involve strict monitoring of the process by party agents, election observers, security agencies and the media.”

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INECOwette Emmanuel


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