The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has submitted a worrisome report on last Saturday’s All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in Anambra State, stating that it did not witness accreditation, voting, counting of voters, collation or declaration of results.
In the report signed by the HOD, Election and Party Monitoring, INEC Anambra State, Ibe U Ibe, Assistant Director, Election and Party monitoring INEC headquarters, Nkechi Abuh and Principal Executive Officer, Election and Party Monitoring, INEC headquarters, Modibbo Bellel, the Commission insisted that no formal primary was conducted between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm its monitors lasted at the voting centres.
Although the report did not specifically indicate the cancellation of the primaries, it emphasised that the Governor Dapo Abiodun-led APC primary electoral committee was conspicuously absent at the voting centres.
According to the report: ‘The Anambra State governorship primaries of the APC was scheduled to hold on Saturday, June 26, 2022. The schedule of the primaries was conveyed in a notification received by the Commission from the National secretariat of the party.
‘In the notification, the party indicated that it adopted direct primaries as the mode of primaries. Consequently, the party provided a list of candidates and venues of the primaries.
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“Further to above, the party submitted its guidelines for the conduct of the direct primary election to the Commission on June 22, 2021. “The party in compliance with INEC guidelines for direct primaries made their membership registers for Anambra State available for inspection by officials of the Commission.
‘The Commission’s officials inspected the APC membership registers for Anambra State from Saturday, June 19 to Tuesday 22, 2021. To ensure effective monitoring of the APC primaries in Anambra State, the Commission deployed 326 officers to monitor the primaries at the designated voting centres.
‘The Commission equally deployed officials to monitor collation of results at the Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“Furthermore, the Commission deployed a combined supervisory and monitoring team made up of five officers, two from INEC headquarters and three from Anambra State office.
“The monitors were deployed by 8:00 am and recalled by 5:00 pm on the date of the primaries. Note that some monitors remained at the centres up to 5:30 pm before returning to the LGA offices of the Commission.
‘The APC governorship primary was organised by the electoral committee set up by the National Working Committee of the party led by His Excellency Dapo Abiodun, the Governor Ogun State,’ the report noted in the introductory part.
Explaining more on the delegates and contestants, the report read: “All registered members of the party in each ward dully accredited, were to be the voters in the governorship primaries while membership of the party was seen waiting at designated voting centres, party electoral officials were not available at the voting centres.
‘The monitors deployed by the Commission noted that the APC election officials did not arrive at the designated voting centre between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm, thus accreditation and voting did not take place during the period.
Resolution/Decision of the ward congress
‘No resolutions no decisions were made at voting centres monitored because of the unavailability of the election materials between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm when the Commission’s monitors were deployed,’ it read.
On its observations, the Commission noted that: ‘Electoral officials and materials were not available at the voting centres for the APC governorship primaries scheduled for June 26, 2021, in Anambra State, up to 5:30 pm when INEC monitors withdrew from the field.
‘Contrary to the provisions of Section 18 of the guidelines for the conduct of direct primaries issued by the APC, accreditation of party members did not take place in any of the voting centres in Anambra State, up to the time INEC monitors were recalled by 5:30 pm.
‘The Commission’s monitors did not witness accreditation, voting, counting of voters, collation or declaration of results at the voting and collation centres up till 5:30 pm when the monitors were recalled.
‘Across the State, there was a large turn out of party members at the voting centres for the APC governorship primaries who waited in vain for the arrival of party election officials and materials at the time the Commission’s monitors were recalled,’ it resolved.
Reacting to the report of cancellation of the APC primaries, the Commission dismissed the speculation.
Reacting to the speculation, the Commission, through National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said that there was no iota of truth in the report.
In his reaction to the inquiry from Daily Sun, Barr Okoye said: ‘By the timetable and schedule of activities for Anambra State 2021 governorship, political parties are obligated to conduct party primaries including the resolution of disputes arising from primaries between the June 10 and July 1, 2021.
‘Political parties are to submit the personal particulars and names/list of nominated candidates between July 2 to 9, 2021. The 18 registered political parties gave the Commission the requisite 21 days notice of their intention to organize and conduct primaries.
‘The Commission monitored the primaries of APC and issued a report. The APC has not submitted the name of any candidate as their duly nominated candidate and the Commission has not disqualified any candidate for the Anambra governorship election,’ he said.