Ikpeazu Impressed With Abia Polls, Advocates Electronic Voting

 Ikpeazu Impressed With Abia Polls, Advocates Electronic VotingAbia 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.

Party Advisory Council Calls For Postponement Of Abia Election

Party Advisory Council Calls For Postponement Of Abia ElectionThe Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abia state, has called on the State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), to shift the date of the December 17, 2106 election to a later date to enable the parties prepare well.

The body is made up of stakeholders and representatives of all the political parties in the state, with one agenda to beckon on the chairman of ABSIEC to shift the local government election date, as a result of numerous complaints from all quarters.

Furthermore, it is expected to call for a round table discussion and harmonize the complaints so as to allow for a peaceful conduct of the election.

At a briefing in Umuahia, on Monday, the Chairman of IPAC, Emeka Okafor, said that the parties did not have enough time to discuss with the State Electoral umpire on the issues of high fees and stringent time table, that are conflicting with the preparation, as it offers limited time for party candidates to campaign.

According to him, the parties should be allowed to have enough time to play their own internal democracy in order to produce a credible candidate for the election.

He therefore urged ABSIEC to do the needful in ensuring a peaceful conduct of local government polls.

“We are gathered here today to let the world know that the body of all political parties in Abia State, known as IPAC, for want of equity and level playing ground for all the political parties and candidates contesting in the December 17, 2016 election, has resolved to ask the ABSIEC chairman to move this election date pending the preparations of the political parties and their candidates.

He stressed that “the reason behind this demand is because of the numerous complaints from the candidates contesting this elections, ranging from high fees as well as inadequate time for parties to prepare.

“This election is a grass root election, an election that involves our old men and women in the village, an election that interprets a lot in our democracy.

“So, if we cannot give our villagers what they want, if we cannot give them the right candidate, it will mess up the entire democracy of the state and the country, that is why we are demanding for more time for the candidates to campaign and hence we are calling for the postponement of the election, Mr Okafor stressed.

These issues are coming barely some weeks after the body, met with the state government to discuss the way forward but apparently the promises made may not have been kept leading to a vote of no confidence on the commission and the fear that Abians may not get a free and fair LG polls.

According to the Chairman, All Progressive Congress Abia State, Donatus Nwankpa, “the issue is that a lot of things have arisen in the course of this preparation and move towards the election.

“ABSIEC on her own has violated all the designated time and dates in their time table and as such we cannot be held responsible that we are the cause of this shift.

“This shift has become necessary in view of their lackadaisity, urseriousness and incompetence as most of their programs are not in tandem with that of the political parties,

“I must tell you that the members of IPAC are interested in this election ,we cannot be against the election at the local government level after all, the ruling party appoints their persons at the local government system it has been operating.

“So I believe this is the chance for all to contest and having looked at all the reasons before us, we cannot be guaranteed of a free and fair election because we want circumstances that would give us justice and give the people and candidates the desired confidence that this election would not be stage managed. that is the issue on ground,” Nwankpa said.

The ruling party in the state has however kicked off their campaign for the local government election, while the decision of the Abia electoral body to yield to the demand of the stakeholders, would be determine in the days ahead.

Abia State Councils Elections To Hold December 17

Election in NigeriaThe Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) will on December 17 hold elections into the chairmanship and councillorship positions in the 17 local government areas and 292 electoral wards of the state.

The electoral body announced the date of the election on Wednesday while briefing reporter in Umuahia, the capital of the state.

The Commissioner for Information of the electoral body, Comrade Bonnie Iwuoha, hinted that the administration’s decision to conduct the LG elections despite all the variables and challenges was due to the determination of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to better the lives of the citizenry especially at the grassroots.

Meanwhile, all candidates of political parties intending to participate in the election have been asked to proceed to ABSIEC’s headquarters for collection of nomination forms not later than October 14.