CONCERNS over voter apathy heightened on the eve of the Anambra State governorship election as residents stayed indoors despite the cancellation of the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The IPOB had threatened to lockdown Anambra and other parts of the South-East for six days – including the day of the election – if its detained leader Nnamdi Kanu was not released by the Nigerian government.
It was widely believed that the planned six-day sit-at-home was aimed at stopping the Anambra governorship poll in line with the declaration by pro-Biafra separatists that the Nigerian government would not be allowed to conduct elections in territories of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
The sit-at-home order was eventually called off on November 4 – about 48 hours to the election.
While announcing the cancellation of the order, IPOB urged the people of Anambra to turn out enmasse and vote in the election.
But The ICIR observed in Awka, Anambra State capital, and other parts of the state that most residents stayed indoors on November 5.
Only a handful of residents came out of their homes as most of the major streets and roads were empty.
Although commercial vehicles, including buses and tricycles otherwise known as Keke, plied the roads, few passengers were available.
Traffic was light in different parts of the state but vehicles were able to move about freely without any hindrance or molestation.
The ICIR also observed that a handful of shops also opened for business.
The shops operated freely – there were no reports of any attempt by hoodlums to stop anybody from doing business.
Residents who ventured out of their houses to attend to different private or commercial engagements also moved about freely.
But some shops which opened for business closed early due to little or no patronage as most residents remained indoors.
Heavily armed soldiers and policemen continued to patrol major streets and roads in the state.
The prevailing situation heightened concerns that voter apathy would mar the governorship poll.
Further checks by The ICIR revealed that most residents were not aware that the sit-at-home order had been cancelled.