Three top contenders in the yet-to-be concluded Anambra State governorship election, which commenced on Saturday, have won their respective polling units.
This was before the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission that voting would continue on Sunday (today).
The extension was due to the malfunctioning of the newly deployed Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which disrupted accreditation and voting in some areas, the commission said.
The top contenders were the candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo; All Progressives Congress (APC), Andy Uba; and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Valentine Ozigbo.
The APC candidate, who voted at Saint Peter’s Catholic School, Uga Ward 16, Polling Unit 10 of Aguata Local Government, scored 80, followed by APGA with 10 votes, YPP scored five votes while PDP scored two votes.
The candidate of the PDP, who voted at polling unit 010 Social Center, Ward 005, of the Aguata Local Government, Area scored 75 votes, followed by APGA with eight votes while the APC scored two.
The candidate of APGA, who voted at Isuofia Ward 13, Unit 002 in the Aguata LGA, scored 126 votes while PDP scored five and both APC and YPP scored three votes each.
Meanwhile, INEC extended voting till Sunday in areas where voting could not be concluded on Saturday.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, said at a press briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Awka, the state capital, on Saturday that the poll would open at 8.30am and close at 4pm on Sunday.
He said the revised closing time would apply to areas where polling units opened after 8.30am.
He said: “In line with existing regulations and guidelines of the commission, any intending voter who is on the queue by 4pm shall be allowed to vote. All Polling Units staff must comply with this directive.
“The time extension arose out of several field reports that voters had problems with accreditation. The commission is currently investigating the reason the accreditation devices, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, worked perfectly in some polling units but not in others. In some of the cases, it would seem that this resulted from software glitches.
“Our technicians have already built an update for the device software to prevent further challenges. The update is currently being installed in the concerned BVAS and we request voters, candidates and agents to be patient and allow our technical staff to solve the problem.
“The commission wishes to reiterate that in cases of sustained malfunction of the BVAS, the Presiding Officer must inform the voters and polling agents that accreditation and voting for the affected polling unit shall continue tomorrow or at another time determined by the commission.”
The REC promised that no voter would be disenfranchised. He, however, lamented that some ad hoc staff and transporters contracted to move polling materials and personnel failed to show up.
“Our deployment has also been adversely affected by transport challenges in some locations. It must be noted that on account of security concerns, some of the transporters that were mobilised and collected 50 per cent of their sign-on fee backed out at the last moment, leaving some of our ad hoc staff stranded.
“Also, some of the trained ad hoc staff backed out at the last moment. The commission is on top of these challenges and extant regulations and guidelines will be applied on a case-by-case basis.
“Consequently, we are harvesting areas where voting will realistically no longer take place today, including places where substantial disruption has occurred to enable a possible recommencement of voting at another time, in line with extant laws and the regulations and guidelines of the commission.
“We appeal to all voters, candidates, stakeholders, communities and political parties to remain calm and law-abiding. We assure you that the commission is determined to make all votes count,” Orji added.