The big issue in this election remains the use of card readers. What seems to be a challenge is the failure of the card reader to accredit the President and the wife. It probably would have been another issue had the card reader failed to accredit the opposition candidate. However, it was reported that the resident electoral officer, who was visibly embarrassed by the failure of the card reader to accredit the President and the wife, got clearance from the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Jega to use the incident form. President Jonathan and wife Patience were accredited and have since voted.
The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari and wife were accredited to vote in Daura, Katsina state.
The card readers in some polling units could be said to have passed the test as the percentage of card reader failure is slim. In Oworonsoki in Lagos, accreditation is yet to start as at 1.45pm because the card readers did not work and INEC officials had to take the card readers to their office for corrections. In Akesan area of Alimosho local government which is the largest local government in Lagos. Accreditation started at the Akesan primary school about 12noon with the card reader alternating in the acceptance and rejection of fingers. Voters are complaining that the incident forms are not available and there are concerns that if the voters do not fill the incident form their votes may not count. Meanwhile, as at 4.00 pm INEC officials are yet to bring the voting material.The officials say the decrepancy is due to mix up as voting material meant for the area were mistakenly taking to Ikorodu and what they had was meant for shomolu which has been returned. The waiting crowd is been entertained as the agent of one of the leading political parties brought food in packs which they served waiting voters.
Despite the frustration of the card readers, the voters are calm, organised and committed to the process. When a voter complained about the failure of the card reader to accredit him, the friend advised him to calm down as the failure may be due to anxiety. What is paramount to voters is for the process to go successfully. They asked INEC to improve the process before the April 11 election.
In other places, there are reports of violence in Rivers state as shootings were reported in the Governors polling area. The big test in this election remain the performance of the card readers. It is however , not unexpected.
In Udu local government of Delta state it is reported that elections have been postponed. In Egbogidi town in Udu local government, INEC officials were no where to be found. Voters were at their voting units but as 4.30pm there is no presence of any INEC official.
Voters have noted that the introduction of the card readers is good for our democracy but in future, INEC should introduce new technology in less complicated elections like the local government election to avoid any discrepancies.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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