18 political parties are contesting the Anambra gubernatorial election.
With over 4 million population, the state has about 2.5 million registered voters. There are 5,720 polling units (PUs).
Some of the candidates contesting to succeed Governor Willie Obiano are Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA; Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress APC; Valentine Ozigbo of the People’s Democratic Party PDP; and Ifeanyi Uba of the Young Progressive Party YPP as well as Ben Etiaba of the Action Alliance.
Monitoring Anambra North
There was a large turnout of voters at some areas in Anambra North Senatorial District. At Polling units 004, Omata ward 1, Rock foundation 006, and 010 Niger Drive, all in Onitsha North Local Government Area.
Voters came out as early as 8.00 am until the arrival of electoral officers by 9. o’clock.
Voting, however, began at polling 0015 Fegge Ward 7, as well as Saint Jude’s Catholic Church Onitsha, Onitsha South LGA by 9.55 am.
A septuagenarian, Mr. Elias Ezeoke told Radio Nigeria that he got to the polling point as early as 9:30 a.m and he is satisfied at how everything was going.
Mrs Josephine Onyekachukwu said she was impressed with the peaceful manner everyone conducted themselves and expressed hope that it ends that way.
Mrs Bridget Nwankwo was anxious to vote because it was her civic duty. She however complained that the BVA machine was delaying, stressing that it took about 15 minutes for her to be captured.
For Mr Jude Okeke , the process was smooth and conducive.
At Umunya Oyi Local Government Area ward 1P unit 12, the process was peaceful.
Security agents were seen on ground as well as patrolling the neighborhood.
One striking thing noticed in all the places visited by Radio Nigeria in Anambra North was that Covid-19 protocols were not strictly observed.
APGA guber candidate, Charles Soludo and kinsmen trying to cast their vote as at 2pm
late arrival of election materials at polling units and voter apathy
The late arrival of election materials at polling units, voter apathy and absence of security personnel at some polling units have characterised the early commencement of the Anambra governorship election.
One of our correspondents covering the exercise reported that election materials were yet to arrive at Mgbaku in Awka North Local Government Area as at eight forty this morning.
Similarly, a report from Onitsha, GRA shows that no election official or security personnel was on the ground for the exercise.
However, it was a different story at Awka ward six where election officials and voters were on the ground as they prepared to commence the exercise as early as eight O’çlock this morning.
Some of the correspondents reported that there were cases of malfunctioning of the card reader at some of the polling units as voters were also very security conscious.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has expressed confidence that despite early challenges with logistics, the Anambra state governorship election will be a success.
Speaking on Mandate Studio, a Radio Nigeria live coverage of the election, the Deputy Director, Voter Education of the Commission, Mrs. Dorathy Inyang, explained that adequate preparations were made for the exercise.
Mrs Inyang assured the people of Anambra State that their concerns would be addressed as the poll progressed.
Another guest on the programme and security expert, Mr. David Okoror, said in view of the apprehensiveness on the election, the security should be proactive in protecting the officials, voters, and materials in a manner it would boost the confidence of voters.
Mr. Okoror urged the people of Anambra State not to relent in their effort to deepen the democratic process for fear of their safety considering the security deployment.
What is BVAS?
INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Committee, Festus Okoye, revealed during an interview with AriseTV that the body will be deploying the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the election.
The BVAS is a system that will combine fingerprint and face biometrics for the identity and verification of a voter by integrating a 3-stage voting process,
It serves as a Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) during voter registration, voter accreditation and also functions as INEC Results Viewing Device (IReV Device) to be used for results upload on election day.
Having been described as a “technological convergence”, the BVAS, which performs the functions of both the Smart Card Reader and the Z-Pad, will ensure fingerprint authentication during the accreditation of voters and eliminate any need for the filing of incident forms.
The BVAS which was deployed in the September 23 Isoko South State Assembly Constituency bye-election in Delta State, was said to have recorded a 97% progress.
Many countries are adopting biometric systems to ensure a fair and efficient election.
These systems, according to biometric updates, include identification solutions for voter registration, voting, tallying and identification. Common modalities include fingerprint recognition, palm vein recognition, iris recognition and facial recognition. Mobile voting systems are also included.
It is important to note that biometrics in election processes allow the capture and recognition of unique physical characteristics, whether fingerprints (also hand geometry or palmprints), iris, face, voice, signature, or some patterns of behaviour.
A statement by Neurotechnology, a company that specialises in high-precision biometric identification and object recognition technologies, revealed that its MegaMatcher Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS) was used for Ghana’s Biometric Voter Management System, providing voter registration, deduplication, adjudication, final voter list generation, and verification, according to Dubawa, a fact-checking website.
Meanwhile, security agents have positioned themselves at strategic places to ensure a peaceful election, as movement, except for electoral matters, has been restricted for the next 24 hours, starting Friday midnight.
Reporting by Alfred Ajayi, Oby Arinze and Uche Udeke; editing by Tina Oyinsan