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BVAS glitches, APGA dominance — highlights of inconclusive Anambra guber election

BVAS glitches, APGA dominance — highlights of inconclusive Anambra guber election
November 08
14:13 2021

The November 6 Anambra governorship election is far from over as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election “inconclusive”.

Florence Obi, the returning officer for the election, in the early hours of Monday, announced that collation of results will be suspended to give room for a supplementary election in Ihiala LGA on November 9.

Ahmadu Umar, collation officer for Ihiala LGA, had said there was no election in the area.

So far, results from 20 out of 21 LGAs have been declared, and Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) secured 103,946 votes, followed by Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 51,322 votes, and Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) 42,942.

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The margin between Soludo and Ozigbo currently stands at 52,624, and according to the collation officer for Ihiala, there are 148,407 registered voters in the LGA.

The supplementary election in Ihiala LGA is slated for Tuesday.

The breakdown of the result from 20 LGAs can be seen here.

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Although the election was declared inconclusive by INEC, there are some issues that shaped the conduct of the exercise.

BVAS GLITCHES

The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), a new technology in the country’s electoral process, in the Anambra governorship election elicited several reactions.

Many of the polling units across the state recorded glitches in the use of BVAS technology, which led to the delay in the electoral process.

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Prior to the election, INEC had assured Nigerians that BVAS will positively influence the conduct of the exercise and reduce human interference, since the commission had test-run the machine during the Isoko-south state assembly by-election in Delta state.

Contrary to INEC’s assurance, BVAS almost marred the conduct of the exercise as many registered voters waited for hours before they could vote, and the commission had to extend voting hours in many polling units.

Commenting on the deployment of BVAS, Soludo said the new technology is a “complete failure”, as the APGA candidate was unable to vote for some hours owing to a technical fault.

YIAGA Africa, a civil society organisation, said it received reports of the failure of BVAS to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and photos even where voter details were confirmed on the voter register.

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In subsequent elections, stakeholders asked INEC to improve on the use of BVAS technology in order to avoid disaster on a large scale.

LATE ARRIVAL OF ELECTION MATERIALS

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In some polling units, registered voters waited for some hours before election officials arrived with voting materials — hours after the scheduled 8:30am.

The late arrival of election materials in many polling units coupled with the malfunctioning of BVAS delayed commencement of voting in many polling units.

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Based on reports from 229 polling units, YIAGA Africa said polling officials were present in only 17 percent of the polling units as of 7:30am on Saturday.

The CSO added that accreditation and voting commenced in only 28 percent of polling units at 9:30am, while 50 percent of the polling units had commenced accreditation and voting at 10:30am.

APGA DOMINANCE AS SOLUDO IN EARLY LEAD

With the results announced so far, APGA has again shown that Anambra is its stronghold.

APGA had won three previous consecutive governorship elections in the state — 2010, 2013 and 2017.

Out of the results in 20 LGAs announced by INEC so far, APGA has already won in 18 LGAs, while the PDP and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) won in Ogabru and Nnewi north LGAs, respectively.

With the supplementary election in Ihiala LGA on Tuesday, APGA will be hoping to cement its victory.

‘VICTIMISATION, THREAT, COERCION’

On Sunday, Michael Otu, the collation officer for Orumba north LGA, claimed that he signed the result for the area “under duress, threat and coercion”.

Otu, who said he does not believe in the result, accused some of INEC officials attached to him of conniving with those who disrupted the process.

In 2019, Innocent Ibeabuchi, the returning officer of Imo west senatorial district, said he announced Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor, as winner of the senatorial seat under duress.

PEACEFUL BUT WITH VERY FEW INSTANCES OF VIOLENCE

The Anambra election was relatively peaceful and it defied the prediction of violence, considering the insecurity in the state in the build-up to the election.

Prior to the election, there was the speculation that the election will not be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, owing to the threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which later called off its sit-at-home order.

But there was tension in the air as many registered voters decided to stay away from the exercise.

Hoodlums invaded some polling units in Onitsha, Anambra state with the intention of disrupting the process but they were overpowered, a police officer told TheCable.

TheCable had reported that hoodlums attacked INEC officials who were trying to bring election materials to some polling units in Ihiala LGA.

One INEC official told TheCable that they were attacked because of the late arrival of election materials to the LGA.

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