Voters in Anambra State have been asked to take cognizance of the creation of extra 1,973 polling units in the state, which is an addition to the existing 4,608 thereby bringing the number of polling points to 6,581 ahead of the Saturday governorship election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) which gave the hint yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, stated in a statement signed by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that its decision to alert the people was borne by the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to educate voters on the extra polling units, even a few days to the election.
In the same vein, the National Leader of the party and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has warned that the party would react if Saturday’s election was rigged like the Delta State Central senatorial by-election on October 22.
Also, the Ogidi Community, headquarters of Idemili Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday boosted the chances of the APC candidate, Senator Chris Ngige, at a rally, when it declared support for the governorship hopeful, noting that Ngige towered above all other contestants in the race.
But Muhammed in the statement said the party noted that such development could either disenfranchise voters or be used by those already perfecting rigging strategies, stressing that the extra polling units put together account for over 800,000 votes.
“INEC, apparently in other to facilitate the accreditation and voting process on Saturday, has created these extra polling units from those that have in excess of 500 voters. This action in itself may not have diabolical undertone, especially because the extra polling units are expected to be located within the same place as the original ones and presided over by Assistant Presiding Officers.
''But in a situation where voters are not aware of this development, there is the risk that some dirty INEC officials could collude with unscrupulous and desperate politicians to move these extra units away from the location of the original ones for secret thumb-printing, thus disenfranchising over 800,000 voters and paving the way for the appropriation of such votes by vote thieves,'' APC said.
Against this background, the APC also urged INEC to, as a matter of urgency, give the creation of the extra polling units the required publicity: "Alert voters to the fact that the extra units will be at the same location as the original ones; ensure the deployment of adequate officials to man the extra units on Saturday and also make sure that enough voting materials are provided for them.
''INEC must be proactive, because lack of adequate personnel and materials for these extra polling units will create chaos on the voting day. Therefore, adequate personnel must be trained to man the extra units, while voters must be educated so that they won't be looking for where to vote on Saturday.
''They must be told that the extra voting unit created from any polling unit will not be taken outside the location of the original one. If the location is different, then something is wrong,'' it said.
The APC also implored its members and supporters in the state to spread the news of the creation of the extra polling units, as well as the fact that the extra units are located within the same premises as the original ones.
''Every vote must count on Saturday, and every voter must be allowed to exercise his or her franchise. That is why we call on INEC to do everything humanly possible to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised. We also call on all voters, especially our members and supporters, to defend their votes,'' the party said.
However, Tinubu who acknowledged that it was not easy to relinquish power, added that it should not be acquired in a dishonest manner even as he said "the only way to get power legitimately is through the ballot box".
The former governor of Lagos State, who solicited Edo people's support in the Anambra election to ensure that one-man-one-vote prevailed, criticised the federal government for churning out economic indices that portrayed the country as rosy amidst army of unemployed youths.
Tinubu, who spoke at the celebration of the five year stewardship of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and the inauguration of APC in the state, held at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin City, thanked the people of the state for voting out PDP which had brought hardship to them.
Also speaking, former Head of State and APC leader, General Muhammadu Buhari, announced that the party was formed for two fundamental reasons: security and economy of the country.
"Seeing the way the country is run today, we are determined to stop terrorism and build infrastructure," he said, adding that the APC was formed to take over in 2015 and manage the economy efficiently."
In their goodwill messages, the APC Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Tom Ikimi and former Governor John Odigie-Oyegun of Edo State, extolled the virtues of Oshiomhole and described him as a man of uncommon character.
The Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri, said the people of the state were now in the land of Canan to the extent that "those who were working against us are now coming to build mansions and enterprises," pointing out that Oshiomhole has improved the lots of Benin and Edo state.
Oshiomhole, in his speech, said the challenge in his second term is to focus on the economy and security, having created infrastructure during his first term in office. "Today, the dividends of that struggle are everywhere for all to see," he said.
Meanwhile, at two separate rallies held at Nkwelle Ogidi, Ogidi rose in total support of Ngige because, according to a summary resolution read by the President of Ogidi Union, Dr. Eric Obiako, “Ngige has an uncompleted task from his 34 golden months in office which has been designed into a 12-point agenda that will return the state to greater glory.”
In his earlier submission, Mr Stanley Ikwueme took a swipe at those who “for more than 20 years have been oppressing Ogidi with ill-gotten wealth which they are still not satisfied with and now they are colluding with the APGA government which only legacy in Ogidi is a water dump called Agulu Lake now killing our farmland and the road built by Ngige for us.”