A HUGE number of eligible voters were furious on Saturday following faulty voter card readers that denied them of voting during the rescheduled presidential and national assembly election held across the country.
Their frustration was compounded by the late of arrival of election materials at polling units in many states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mix-up in polling units in Kabusa Registration area of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja affected many voters from casting their votes during the poll.
Many of the voters, who trooped out in their hundreds in Lugbe as early as 7 a.m. to exercise their voting rights could not do so because of mix-up in their polling units.
Some of the polling units affected were Lugbe New/Market Square; Lugbe Across; Aso Estate, Aco Estate and Lugbe Primary School.
In their desperation to vote, the electorate were forced to move from one polling unit to the other, when they could not find their names. Few of them returned home disappointed when they could not locate their polling units.
Another woman accosted an INEC official at the New Lugbe/Market Square polling station that she was coming from another polling unit from where she was directed to the unit, but that she could still not find her name.
As soon as the INEC officer told her to go and check in another polling unit, she was annoyed and said she was going back home.
Voters had to trek about six to 10 kilometers in desperation to vote but many couldn’t find their names.
The INEC official at the New Lugbe/Market Square polling unit said three other polling units were created from Unit 10 on Saturday morning before the voting commenced, hence the mix-up witnessed by voters.
The polling units, according to him, were 10A, 10B, and 10C, making four units in addition to Unit 10.
Apart from the mix-up, all other process went on smoothly, while the card readers worked perfectly in all the four units, though the INEC officials arrived after 9 a.m. and voting commenced around 10 a.m.
As of 2.10 p.m., the earlier time the voting was expected to end, voters were still looking for their names at Lugbe Primary School Centre, with 13 polling units. Hundreds of voters were still on the queue, waiting to cast their votes.
However, by 2 p.m., voting had been completed and stopped at New Lugbe/Market Square. Those who came after 2 p.m. to check their names were not allowed to vote.
When our correspondent told the INEC Officials of extension in time by the INEC, they said they were not aware of the information.
One of them explained that if people were already on the queues before 2 p.m., they would have attended to them and not those who were just coming.
Moghalu decries poor performance of card readers
In the meantime, the presidential candidate of the Young Peoples Party (YPP), Mr Kingsley Moghalu, has decried the poor performance of card readers in his ward at Nnewi North Ward 2 in Anambra State.
Moghalu told newsmen shortly after voting by 11.55 a.m. that faulty card readers delayed voting in the area.
“I came out by 8 a.m. to vote but the card readers were not functioning; so I went back to my house and came out by almost noon to vote.
“As you can see, some voters left out of frustration having waited for about three hours. This will affect voting pattern.
“Democracy has a lot of challenges over performance failure by INEC but when I come to power, all these will change,’’ Moghalu said.
In Ebonyi, the member representing Abakaliki/Izzi federal constituency at the National Assembly, Chief Sylvester Ogba, after casting his vote at Ndinkwegu-Amagu primary school polling unit, Abakaliki, lamented about the faulty card readers.
Ogba said the card readers did not work for over an hour before it was fixed.
Agbaje complains of failed card readers
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje said he was concerned about the malfunctioning of the card readers during voting at his polling unit in Apapa.
The PDP candidate spoke with newsmen after he and his wife, Biola, voted at polling unit 004,Ward A, Liverpool, Apapa around 11.20 a.m.
The card reader had rejected Agbaje’s fingerprints, that of his wife and those of three other voters.
They, however, eventually voted after their names and photographs were verified manually on the voter register.
The PDP candidate said cases of malfunction of card readers were not good for the credibility of elections.
He pointed out that manual verification of voters was susceptible to electoral fraud and that unscrupulous elements could capitalise on it to compromise results.
The PDP candidate said that the country should have gone beyond cases of failed card readers to achieve seamless voting.
On his assessment of the process generally in the state, he said the election had been fine, except in one or two places.
Archbishop Chukwuma laments late arrival of INEC officials, materials in Enugu
In Enugu, the Archbishop of Anglican Archdiocese of Enugu, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, lamented the late arrival of INEC’s officials and voting materials at some polling centres in the state.
Chukwuma, who is also a Domestic Election Observer, made his displeasure known to newsmen at the INEC headquarters in Enugu on Saturday.
The archbishop said that he had gone to cast his vote at about 8.30 a.m. and waited there till some minutes past 9 a.m. without seeing either INEC workers or electoral materials at the polling booth.
Chukwuma, who was visibly angry, said that he drove to the INEC headquarters to meet with the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, to complain about the situation so that it could be addressed fast.
Chukwuma, however, expressed satisfaction about the security situation and the turnout of voters which he described as “massive and impressive.’’
Reacting, Ononamadu said that the issues raised were among “the initial hitches experienced by the commission in the state,’’ which could crop up in elections.
Voters protest incomplete ballot boxes
Voting was delayed on Saturday at the Plateau Hotel polling unit in Jos as the voters protested the non-availability of a third box at their polling unit.
As of 9:43 a.m., the officials were still awaiting the INEC officials to bring a third box to the polling unit.
Some voters said they were not happy about the delay and the incomplete ballot boxes.
Yahaya Kwande, an elder statesman in Plateau, described the exercise as highly impressive and hopeful.
Kwande said that Nigerians were now enlightened about the electoral process and enthusiastic about voting.
Smart Card Readers disappoint voters in Kano
Many electorates were disappointed on Saturday at numerous pulling units in Kano, as Smart Card Readers, malfunctioned, failing to read cards or fingerprints.
At Abedie in Fagge Local Government, many voters could not vote as of 11 a.m., as Smart Card Readers failed to read their fingerprints, with Sunday Tribune gathering that only two of the 12 Smart Card Readers deployed to the ward functioned effectively.
In another development, eyewitnesses account stated that there was a free for all at Bichi town between supporters of two major political parties.
The melee, which occurred around 10 a.m, it was learnt, had to be brought under control by security operatives before voting could continue.
Malfunctioning of card readers, late arrival of materials mar election in Delta
Smart Card Readers malfunction and late arrival of election arrivals, on Saturday, marred the presidential and national assembly election in Delta North Senatorial District, as voting did not start in virtually all the polling units as scheduled.
Voting in the area was, however, peaceful with huge turnout of voters.
In most of the voting centres visited in Asaba, the state capital, such as Oshimili North, Ika North East, Ika South and Aniocha North Council Areas, complaints about the card readers not working and late arrival of materials dominated the exercise.
As of 10 a.m., some of the polling centres were yet to receive election materials, with the Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, explaining to newsmen before the commencement of voting that “we started a bit late because some of the materials like result sheets came late at about 12 mid night on Friday and they were distributed this morning to the various locations.”
At ward 9, Asaba, which had 15 units (Uzoigwe Primary School, Asaba), election did not commence until 8:30 a.m. while at ward 4 (Niger Mixed Secondary School, Asaba), materials arrived at 9.05am.
A former speaker and member representing Oshimili south in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Onwusanya, who was irked by the late arrival of the materials, also frowned at soldiers allegedly turning back voters.
The situation at Agbor-nta in Ika South was not different, as police had to intervene to allow peaceful voting as there was intimidation.
APC chieftain calls for cancellation of polls
One of the spokesmen of the APC campaign organisation in the state, Dr. Cairo Ujuogboh, accused INEC personnel of compromise, calling for cancelation of results in Igbodo, Abavo and Agbor-ntar, among others.
There were also cases of insufficient materials at ward 7 unit 4 and 5 Issele-uku Aniocha North LGA, as three voting points were made to use one stamp.
The post #NigeriaDecides2019 | Anger, frustration as Nigerians elect new president appeared first on Tribune Online.