Anambra Election:How Unknown Gunmen Stormed Polling Unit, Chased Policemen Away & Stole Ballot Boxes

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Photo Credit: Today

Despite the fear of insecurity which many feared could result in voter apathy, Anambra people still turned out en-mass to vote in today Governorship election. Though there were reports of some hitches, largely due to the malfunctioning of the voting machines, many analysts have scored the Independent National Electoral Commission a fair mark.

However, in some polling centres, voters were completely disenfranchised not by INEC or the security forces, but by non-state actors who made it impossible for people to vote.

Photo Credit: BBC

According to a report in The Nation, some unknown gunmen disrupted the voting process and took away ballot boxes. This report will analyse how unknown gunmen invaded a polling unit and made away with polling boxes.

How unknown gunmen stole ballot boxes

Though adequate security measures were taken, it was not enough to stop the unknown gunmen who stormed the polling unit located inside Immaculate Catholic Church and Saint Faith Catholic Church in Fegge, Onitsha Anambra State and made away with ballot boxes.

The assailant invaded the voting centres in an unmarked bus, shot sporadically into the air to scare away voters and the security operatives (who took to their heels), and snatched away two ballot boxes. 

Photo Credit: Legit

Though this is an isolated incident yet it is significant because it has disenfranchised the voters of that polling unit and denied them the opportunity to have a say in who becomes the next governor of Anambra State.

Electronic voting can stop ballot box snatching

It is a shame that in 2021 Nigeria's election is still marred by thuggery and ballot snatching. This ugly episode has been with Nigeria since independence and the only way to stop it is to embrace electronic voting 100 per cent. Under an electronic voting system, those who snatch ballot boxes on the day of the election in a bid to influence the election result will become redundant, because the process will be automated.

Why Buhari should sign the electoral act into law

Thankfully, the National Assembly members retraced their step and have made electronic voting and electronic transmission of results mandatory, but it cannot be enforced in the Anambra Election because of delay by President Buhari to sign the bill into law.

Photo Credit: Thisday

This is quite unfortunate. One expects that the President should have assented to the bill as soon as it was passed by the National Assembly so that it can be tested with the Anambra Election. This can be said to be a missed opportunity.

But for the country not to miss another opportunity to strictly apply the law, the president needs to assent to the bill immediately. The bill is Nigeria's only hope to sanitise local elections and bring transparency and accountability into the system. It will also deepen the democratic process because the results of the election will most likely reflect the will of the voters. 

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Note: All photos are for illustration purposes only. 

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