The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday struggled to keep to time for the commencement of voting in the Anambra State governorship election.
Across several polling units monitored by PREMIUM TIMES, officials of the electoral umpire failed to arrive at the polling units by 8 am, when voting was scheduled to begin.
Despite the fear of insecurity, voters in several polling units in different local government areas in the state waited for INEC officials to arrive to commence the process.
At polling unit 09, Odokwe village square II, Nteje I, Oyi LGA, accreditation started by 11 am. As of 10:28 am, polling unit 021 in Obu Agunwaja II, Ufuma II, Orumba North LGA, voters were still waiting for officials.
At polling unit 21, Odekpe Town Hall in Ogbaru LGA, the setting up of voting booths did not start until 10:45 am. A similar situation was observed at polling unit 13, Abagana town where accreditation started by 10 am.
YIAGA Africa also observed that in 87 per cent of polling units, INEC officials failed to arrive by 7:30 am.
Malfunctioning of BVAS
Aside from the late arrival of officials and materials, there have been complaints about the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voters Authentication System (BVAS) machines.
At PU 005 in Otuocha 1, Eri Primary School II, Anambra East LGA, even though voting started by 8:30 am, voting had not started as of 10.30 am because the machine was malfunctioning.
The Presiding officer at the unit, Abong Mathews, told PREMIUM TIMES that “Machine cannot authorise fingerprints and facial recognition.”
BVAS replaced the Smart Card Reader (SCR).
According to the INEC Chairman, BVAS has a dual capacity for fingerprint and facial authentication to prevent the use of stolen permanent voter cards. The malfunctioning of BVAS and the late arrival of voting materials are putting more stress on voters.
As of 11:18 am in PU006 Isingwu Primary School, Umunze, Orumba LGA, there was no BVAS machine, hence no accreditation of voters.
However, the process has been peaceful thus far despite the initial fear of violence because of the earlier sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
On the eve of the election, the group called off the sit-at-home order and backed the election.
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