Saturday, 16 November 2013

Anambra poll: APGA billboard causes accreditation delay at polling unit

November 16, 2013 

Accreditation of voters was delayed in Aguleri on Saturday as INEC officials insited that a billboard of one of the parties in the Anambra governorship election be pulled down.
The billboard of the APGA governorship candidate, Mr Willy Obiano, and his running mate, Dr Okeke Chukwukaodinaka, was mounted metres away from the polling unit near the Aguleri roundabout, contrary to electoral laws.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC regulations do not allow for campaigns or posters of candidates near election grounds 24 hours to the election.
INEC adhoc officials who arrived at the polling unit before 8 a.m. for accreditation of voters, insisted that the billboard be dismantled before anything could be done.
Similarly, some members of the electorate at the unit protested the presence of the billboard and insisted that it must be brought down.
The presiding officer for Unit 004 told NAN that there was no way she could allow the accreditation with the billboard just a few metres from the unit.
“This billboard is so conspicous that it is against our mandate as electoral officers. I can only continue with this election when the billboard is dismantled,” she said.
She confirmed that those on ground for the accreditation had appealed to her to move the polling unit to a nearby space that would not show the billboard but she had declined.
“My reasons are simply because this polling unit is where we registered the voters and I cannot move to another point without superior directive.
“I have spoken to my supervisory presiding officer who said I should remain at my assigned unit,” she said.
The APGA agent for the unit, Mr Peter Nneli, explianed that the billboard was erected long before the election.
“This billboard is not for the purpose of campaign and cannot be easily dismantled,” Nneli said.
Accreditation eventually kicked off in the unit at 10.25 a.m, more than two hours behind shedule after the billborad was dismantled by youths from the town