Forty-three chairmanship and 532 councillorship candidates from four political parties have been cleared to contest in next Wednesday’s local government elections in Abia state.
The Secretary of the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr Tony Mgbarine, made the announcement in Umuahia on Monday.
He said the candidates would contest on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress (APC), and Labour Party (LP).
A breakdown of the number of contestants per political indicated that PDP has 17 candidates for the chairmanship posts in 17 Local Government Areas and 292 counsellorship candidates in all the 292 wards in the state.
The APGA has 13 chairmanship and 153 councillorship candidates; APC has 11 chairmanship and 71 councillorship candidates and Labour Party has two chairmanship and four councillorship candidates.
Mgbarine said the commission was ready for the polls, stressing that the commission had obtained voter register from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that the register was being “mass produced” and could not be displayed as required by law before the polls “for want of time.”
He said that the register would be made available at every polling booth for prospective voters to cross-check their names during accreditation.
According to him those who voted in the 2015 general elections would be eligible to vote because their names are still in the register.
He said voters whose names were not in the current register would not be allowed to vote.
“It is the responsibility of INEC to carry out a periodic review of the voter register.
“It is not our fault that INEC failed to discharge that function and ABSIEC cannot take the blame”, he said.
Mgbarine said the commission held a two-day training for ad hoc staff, including presiding officers, polling clerks, orderlies, supervisors and returning officers, drawn from the state’s civil service.
He said the commission was collaborating with the security agencies in the state to ensure adequate arrangement for the exercise.
He restated the position of the commission that card readers would not be used for the elections.
He said the commission could not afford the cost of hiring the machine from INEC.
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