The All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia have expressed disappointment with the conduct of Friday’s Local Government Chairmanship and Councillorship elections in the state.
The Chairmen of the two leading opposition parties, Chief Donatus Nwankpa of APC and Rev. Augustine Ehiemere of APGA, said in separate interviews that there was no election in the state.
Nwankpa said that reports from the field showed that the exercise did not take place in about 75 per cent to 80 per cent local government areas of the state.
“Many local government areas did not take part in the election. There were no voting materials for the election,” he said.
He alleged that the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) was not prepared for the election.
“There was never any sign of preparedness for the election by ABSIEC,” he said.
The APC chieftain said that the party was still evaluating the exercise; and would soon come up with its formal position on the election.
Speaking in a similar vein, Ehiemere said that “as far as APGA is concerned, there was nothing like local government election in Abia.”
In his opinion, the exercise was designed to ratify the appointments already made to fill the chairmanship and counsellorship seats.
He said that APGA did not take the poll seriously because “we knew ab Initio that there will not be anything like an election.
“That is why you did not see any strong opposition against the Peoples Democratic Party in the election,” he said.
Ehiemere, however, warned that what happened would not be tolerated in 2023, saying, “It is not going to be business as usual in 2023.”
Meanwhile, 1st News gathered that the election was generally characterised by voter apathy; late distribution of electoral materials; and the arrival of ABSIEC officials in all the polling units visited.
Also, ballot boxes were mounted on the same table used by the electoral officers for accreditation of voters.
There were no polling booths and voters were made to tick for the parties of their choice; and cast their ballot papers in the presence of the electoral officials.
Some election observers kicked against the “poor arrangement;” saying that the absence of polling booths denied the voters the opportunity of secret ballot.
There were, however, no reports of any violence, such as the snatching of ballot boxes; shooting; or thuggery during the exercise.
Also, many residents of Umuahia went about their businesses without regard to the government’s restriction on human and vehicular movement during the election.