No NNPP logo in ballot papers in Anambra – Mbakwe
Many voters disenfranchised in Nimo – Ibida
…Many voters disenfranchised in Nimo – Ibida
By Nkechi Ikenwoke
Although Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections in Anambra State were free free and fair across the state, some loopholes were found on ballot papers in some areas such as Abatete and across Anambra Central Senatorial District.
Speaking to the journalists shortly after the election in Umudunagbaja Abatete, the flag bearer of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), for Anambra Central in the red chamber, Helen Ifeoma Mbakwe, decried the development and totally condemned the poor conduct of the election by INEC in her area, even as she expressed her intention to help in making a progressive Nigeria.
Princess Mbakwe explained how INEC officials disenfrachised her from voting, alongside other electorates who she had long ago educated on how to cast their votes on the ballot paper where the party logo appeared, thereby making all her efforts to be in vain.
According to her, the logo designed by INEC looked far different from what she explained to people during campaign.
“There was late arrival of the election materials in most of the wards. I didn’t know this would happen again this time. I thought we should have been able to get this right now. You can’t tell us we are going to start by 12:05pm and end by 2:30pm. I observed that many INEC staff were not properly trained. They were not even educated to know what all the party logos stand for, in order to help the voters.
“When I asked one of them to show me the NNPP Logo, he was totally confused. I expected to see a logo named NNPP with the map of Nigeria and a basket of fruits. What I saw on the ballot paper was more like a smudged building inside the logo without a basket and NNPP. I mostly emphasised on the basket of fruits during my campaign. YPP has a map of Nigeria written inside their logo and basket of leaves but NNPP has none”.
“As at 4pm, when I went to other polling units, this mistake has been going on over hours as people were deceived into voting on a wrong logo. I would say it is a deliberate act because INEC should have proofread the ballot paper or allow the stakeholders of every party to look into the ballot paper before presenting it to the public. Until I see what the national body has to say, I would know if I should present it to the court”.
Princess Mbakwe further said her reason for choosing the party was as a result of her interest to make a new Nigeria and also to begin her political career from home, bearing in mind that the owner of the party is from Anambra Central.
“I am out to help to do what is right. I came into politics because I want to help to prepare Nigeria. I do not believe in male and female in terms of doing what is right. I encourage women to come into politics. Nigerians really need help. I knew that I am coming into politics to make things new, even as I go about talking to people. I am also new. So, it is all about being new in everything. I like to be a pacesetter rather than having baggages”
“We need leaders who will include everyone. I believe that whoever wishes to join politics should have an existing job before taking a position in government. It will help the person to serve and not depend on public fund. It should be a service of four years and not a full-time job. A national appointment is not an employment where someone works and retires. It is where you find the need to serve your people in one way or the other”, she concluded.
Also speaking, the Young Progressive Party(YPP) Senatorial candidate, Chinedu Umuadi commended INEC for the peaceful election conducted across the district, even as he waits to hear the final result, adding that he was worried when a report came to him that the election would end by 2pm.
Umeadi said he felt satisfied by the turnout of the electorates and condemned the use of BVAS machine during election, thereby calling on government to consider online voting as most preferred, which will enable the citizens to vote in the comfort of their zones and also change the campaign method.
“There is nothing difficult in online voting. I think we just decided not to use it in Nigeria. It enables people to vote from home, offices and changes the campaign method. It will become a case of campaigning fairly, basically on issue based discussion rather than insulting another candidate and bragging about projects that would not be achieved even with people’s money”, he said.
In an interview during the election, the representative of Njikoka II in the State House of Assembly and flagbearer of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for House of Representatives, Pete Ibida said he had a robust expectation towards the election result due to the turnout of people who came to vote for him.
According to Ibida, “if you look at the voting arena, you will see that most of our elderly parents that are not well schooled are more in number. It generates some negative effects and people keep educating them. There is a prodigious problem in St. Vincent, Nimo. Imagine where more than 48 per cent of the eligible voters were disenfranchised. The INEC officials said that those who registered within 2011, 2010, 2008 could not vote as a result of inactivation of their card but I registered in 2011 with my family and we voted……”
“Then in Akwaeze, where I have bigger hope, because they do not have candidate for House of Representatives there, at a point, the INEC officials said that the ballot paper has finished. Could you imagine that ? And when they started questioning the lady, she ran away. I called the EO and he responded positively. We did not start voting until past 11am, which also affected other polling boots”, he said.
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