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Explosion, voter apathy mar Abia by-election

•We’ll seek cancellation against malpractice –Mascot Uzor-Kalu

 

An explosion yesterday rocked the Umuola Hall, Ward-8, Aba North Local Government Area, one of the centres for voting in the Aba North and Aba South Federal Constituency by-election.

 

Sunday Telegraph gathered that no life was lost but electoral materials were scattered as workers, voters and party agents scampered to safety.

 

However, security agents stormed the area and restored order. As at the time of filing this report, voting and accreditation has restarted. A voter, who gave his name as Chinedu Eze, said they were on queue when a loud sound enveloped the area and everyone fled.

 

“We were on queue; some people were being accredited when we heard a loud sound. Everybody took to their heels. It was like a bomb and we didn’t know where it came from,” he said. As at press time, effort to get the reaction of the State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Janet Agbede, on the explosion was unsuccessful.

 

Besides, despite the peaceful voting environment created by security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), voters literally avoided most of the polling units. Sunday Telegraph monitored the voting proceedings in Ward-8, Aba South, Ward- 9 Aba South, Ward-4 Aba North, Umuola Ward-8 Aba North and reports that voting started by 10am, with every necessary materials in place.

 

With shops closed, markets shut down; major streets where vehicular and human traffic were restricted were converted into football pitches by young men. Sunday Telegraph reports that in most wards and  polling units, number of observes and party agents were more than the number of voters.

 

The voting process, according to few voters seen was peaceful, smooth and without stress, as materials arrived at the polling units as early as 8am. “I don’t know why people are not interested in voting in this area. The whole place is peaceful. We want changes but we don’t want to vote.

 

“Look at Okigwe Road Secondary School with too many wards and polling units, how many persons can you see here? It’s appalling; it’s painful and it can never help us here. People will sit at home complaining without any action,” Silas Obi, a voter, told Sunday Telegraph.

 

 

Meanwhile, the APC candidate in the Aba North and South by-election, Hon. Mascot Uzor-Kalu, has said he would call for cancellation of elections where skirmishes were recorded.

 

Uzor-Kalu said this on Saturday at the Eziama High School Ward while answering questions from newsmen. He said: “We have reports of malpractice at Abia Polytechnic. We have reports of vote-buying at Item Hall but here at Eziama, it has been peaceful. “On winning, we had a vigorous campaign and we are hopeful.

 

So, it is the people that will decide at the end of the day.” Meanwhile, the APC Publicity Secretary in Abia State, Comrade Benedict Godson, told Sunday Telegraph that the Director of Publicity, Mascot Uzor-Kalu Campaign, Engr. Mike Ozoemenam, was bundled away by some unknown men.

 

He said: “As I speak to you now, Engr. Mike Ozoemena, Director of Publicity, Mascot Uzor-Kalu Campaign and APC Collation Officer in Aba North has been whisked away by some men on white Hilux from his ward, Industrial Ward-2 Aba North to an unknown destination.

 

“We don’t know his whereabouts. We don’t know where they’re taking him to and we’re calling for immediate rescue.”

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