There were several cases of the malfunction of the Biomodal Voters Authentication System (BVAS) in many polling units in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Anambra East is one of the 21 local governments in Anambra where a governorship election is being held today.
The local government consists of about six towns, Umuoba, Agulere, Umulere, Nnado, Ngsube, and Igbaremu.
The outgoing governor of the state, Willie Obiano, is from the local government.
Mr Obiano whose polling unit is at Eri Primary School, Unit 004, Otuocha 1, Aguleri, Anambra East LGA, exercised his franchise hitch-free.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Obiano and his wife, Ebelechukwu, cast their ballot using the BVAS machine at about 9:28 a.m. on Saturday.
However, in many polling units observed by our reporters, the machines malfunctioned and did not authenticate many voters’ fingerprints, as well as facial recognition, making the entire process slow and cumbersome.
As of 10:37 a.m., nobody at the Polling Unit 005 WARD 11, Otuocha 1, Wri Primary School 2, Anambra East LGA, had been accredited.
The Presiding Officer, Abong Mathews, who spoke to our reporter, said that voting started at 8:30 a.m. and none of the 756 total registered voters at the centre had cast a vote.
He complained about the malfunction of the BVAS machine.
“The BVAS machine has been a major issue for us here,” he said. “The machine cannot authorise fingerprints and facial recognition.”
When PREMIUM TIMES visited PU 007, WARD 12, Otuocha 2, Oche primary school II, the officials also had problems with the BVAS machine.
The Presiding Officer (PO), who refused to disclose his identity, said the BVAS had only been able to accredit one voter.
“The BVAS has delayed voting processes,” he said. “It is having an issue authenticating voters fingerprint and it is also having difficulty identifying facial recognition.
“Although I have called for a backup from my RAC officer, they said they are working on it. It’s over hours now, nothing has been done about it,” he said.
“My supervisor just said I should go and buy data and connect to the machine and it will start working.
“I have about 64 gigs loaded at the machine, I have refreshed it several times and it’s still not working,” he said.
Similarly, at Polling Unit 008, Ward 12, Otuocha Umulere Town Hall, Anambra East, voting started at about 8 a.m.
The Presiding Officer, Nnenna Vivian, told PREMIUM TIMES that they had only been able to accredit two voters, as of 9.40 a.m.
Chinedu Morah, a party agent of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), who spoke to our reporter at Ward 12, Otuocha 2 Oche Primary School, blamed INEC for the situation.
He urged the commission to allow the use of manual voting since the machine is not working.
A voter, Uwaoma Anukwu, at Ward 12, Otuocha 2, Oche Primary School, lamented the situation.
“What they are doing is not good, I don’t like it. We have been here since morning, we called on INEC, they said we should go and buy data, and we bought it. I paid for it. And it’s still not working.
“INEC should come to our help, we have not been able to vote, we have over a hundred registered voters and they cannot vote it’s not good,” she said.
What is BVAS?
The BVAS is a device that combines fingerprint and facial recognition for the verification of voters. It replaced the Smart Card Readers used in previous elections.
Efforts to reach an INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, for a reaction was unsuccessful. He did not return calls and text messages sent to his known phone number.
A total of 18 parties are taking part in the Anambra governorship election.
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