Low turnout as Anambra holds senatorial rerun

Tony Okafor

Low turnout marred the Anambra Central Senatorial rerun held on Saturday.

The exercise took place in seven local government areas in the state such as Awka South, Anaocha, Awka North, Idemili South, Njikoka, and Idemili North.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 election, Dr. Chris Ngige, withdrew from the race in 2016 when the rerun was to hold because of his appointment as the Minister of Labour and Productivity.

Efforts by the APC to substitute Ngige in the race was stopped by a Federal High Court judgement, while the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, whose election was nullified on December 2015 by the Court of Appeal, Enugu, was barred from contesting the rerun.

The court also excluded her party from participating in the election. This situation left the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Victor Umeh, as the major contestant in the election alongside 13 others.

In most polling units visited by our correspondent, supporters of the APGA were seen in groups jubilating when results were announced.

Voting began late as a result of the delay in the commencement of the exercise in some parts of Idemili North. This situation was caused by the protest by some ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission who participated in the November 18 governorship poll. They insisted on the payment of the entitlements before working.

The INEC Supervising Commissioner for Idemili North and the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Plateau State, Mr. Hussaini Halilu Pai, confirmed the development, adding that the situation would be resolved.

In Ebeakpu Square unit 2, Amawbia ward one, Awka South East council area, an Assistant Presiding Officer in one of the units, Mozie Blessing, said voters trooped out to vote, noting however that the number didn’t equate those who voted during the  state governorship election.

In Agulu, the Agulu Lake Migrant School polling units were deserted and only polling and police officers were seen chatting.

One of the INEC workers, who refused to disclose his name, said they would remain at the unit until the stipulated voting time.

The case was different at Aguluzoigbo town Union Hall, ward 18, where the APGA candidate, Umeh, voted.

Umeh, who arrived the polling unit at 11.10am, in company with his wife and daughter, was hailed by his supporters who shouted ‘our senator.’

The APGA candidate, who cast his vote at 11:40am, said the turnout was impressive.

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