Voter Apathy, Delay In Arrival Of INEC Staff, Voting Materials Mar Delta Central By-Election

inec_ballot_boxVoter apathy, late arrival of Independent National, Electoral Commission, INEC, ad-hoc staff and voting materials were some of the problems that marred Saturday’s by-election into the Delta Central Senatorial seat.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that accreditation had yet to begin at noon in Ughelli North and Ughelli South Local Government Areas.

Some of the voters who turned out at Ughelli North and Ughelli South went home disappointed after waiting for the electoral officials.

The situation was the same in Agbarho and Effurun.

Voting materials were sent to Ughelli on Friday by INEC to avoid delay in the conduct of the by-election.

However, there was restriction of movement of persons in Ughelli and only a few petrol stations were open for business.

The by-election followed the death of Senator Pius Eweridoh, who died in June 2013.

Meanwhile, the voting period was extended in some of the affected areas.

Tracy Eluemunor, the Electoral Officer at Otujeremi Ward 3, Ughelli South Local Government Area, said that officials had been instructed by INEC to extend the time.

Mr. Eluemunor said she was optimistic that all the voters in the ward would cast their votes following the time extension.

However, there were no electoral officials and materials at polling units at Amakpo Ward 1, Ighrokpokpor Ward 2 and Pipeline Ward 6 in Ughelli North.

In Ogharisi Primary School Ward 7 and Otowvovo Ward 9 in Ughelli South and Agbarotor Ward 12, there were no personnel and materials as at noon.

The situation resulted in poor turnout of voters as some had to leave the voting centres disappointed, since no official was present when they called.

The security situation in the areas monitored was peaceful, except at Ewu, Ughelli South.

Some angry voters had held members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) deployed to the polling units, hostage for some minutes.

However, there was a restriction on the movement of persons in Ughelli, and only a few petrol stations were open for business.

Voting materials were reportedly sent to Ughelli on Friday by INEC to avoid any form of delay in the conduct of the by-election.