Abia state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has advocated the use of electronic voting systems in the state for future elections.
He said this after commending the conduct of the electoral process of the local government election which took place on December 21.
Although reports from officials said there seemed to be lack of enthusiasm on the path of voters, asides other hitches, the governor believes the turnout was rather impressive because of the strategy put in place by the electoral umpire in the state.
“Some of the people you see around may have voted, it does not mean when you see them outside the polling booth attending to their businesses, that indicates that the turnout was not impressive.
“I think people are voting and going about their lawful duties, the method adopted by ABSIEC enables one to vote at his/her will and not to cluster in one place.
“I rather commend that going forward, even as we are voting, we can also attend to our legitimate businesses, and if we imbibe electronic voting system it will be better”.
The opposition candidate on the other hand, described the conduct of the election as a scam and called for the cancellation of the entire exercise because according to them, “ABSIEC did not adequately prepare to give Abians a free and fair election”.
A Chairmanship candidate, Nkemakolam Ogene, blamed the police and electoral umpire for the lapses, such as delay of electoral materials and even some voters began to lament that they had already been disenfranchised.
The police however countered the claims, stating that there were adequate security and personnel on ground but the people were foot dragging and slowing down the process.
Lamenting, Ogene said: “ABSIEC fixed a date for this election, they are supposed to be prepared, it is a shame to note that they are bringing the materials now and the time is about three o’clock and election is ending by four o’clock.
“Are we going to cast our votes in the night when our elders, are tired and have gone home, the only explanation given by the ABSIEC official for this gross misconduct is that he does not have adequate security but we were told that adequate security was made for this election and the official that is supposed to come here is saying that from the local government headquarters to the polling booth, there is no provision of security to escort the materials.
“So I am saying that the election should be cancelled and rescheduled because this is not an election”.
Police Commissioner, Oyebade Adeleye, refuting the statement said:
“I went there personally, I was at Ubakala, Umuahia South LGA and the recordings made can testify to it.
“The people were foot dragging and signal and body language suggest that they did not want to go on with the exercise.
“I did try to talk to them that there is security; so, that version of inadequate police is not correct,” he added.
Amidst collation of results and call by the opposition to cancel the exercise, the people are anxiously waiting to see where the tides would rest.